Swiss Expertise solicited in Czech winter-sports resorts

Article, 25.03.2013

Within the scope of a small project that unfolded in the frame of the Czech-Swiss Partnership Fund, the national branch-association Swiss Cableways (SBS) and the Czech Association for Transportation by Rope Asociace Ianové dopravy (ALDR), exchanged their know-how in the domains of training and marketing. The project, endowed with a budget of CHF 40,000, took place from January to December 2012.

cable car
With a relatively minor financial contribution, the partnership project enabled a significant exchange of experience to take place between the two branch associations their mutual benefit. © DEZA

Every day in Switzerland, thousands of passengers are transported by a total of some 1,750 cableways covering a distance of nearly 2000 kilometres and representing good 500 km difference in altitude. Beyond any doubt, Switzerland is a pioneer in the domain of cableways, whether they be used in the context of winter or summer sport activities, or constructed to reach remote or difficultly accessible places. And so, there is hardly any cause to wonder that the first solar ski-lift in the world, is located for instance in Graubünden. Swiss Cableways brings together 376 Swiss domestic cableway companies, while the Czech Association ADLR numbers 146 members, a figure corresponding to about two-thirds of all cableway companies in the Czech Republic.

The ALDR seeks to optimize its customer services both in its cooperation with other local companies and organizations, and with hotel businesses and winter-sports schools. Furthermore, the Czech partner was interested in the outstanding training possibilities offered by the SBS at its training centre in Meiringen to employees of the cableway companies in Switzerland in terms of basic, vocational, and branch-specific instruction. In return, the ALDR was able to demonstrate to the Swiss partner its experiences in the domain of artificial snow-making systems. In fact, Czech winter-sports resorts are frequently located at an altitude of only about 1000 metres, meaning that snow canons are often called upon to ensure the conditions necessary for the practice of winter supports.

Over the course of a five-day trip, representatives of the ALDR were, for instance, able to visit the headquarters of Swiss Cableways, the training centre in Meiringen, as well as some chosen winter-sports resorts and their respective cableways. The specialized knowledge thus obtained has now been compiled in a brochure that will be sent to the members of the Czech Association for Transportation by Rope, providing them with new, useful information and incentives on how to enhance customer service and the training of their cableway personnel.

The partners found this exchange to be highly satisfying. According to Fulvio Sartori, Vice-Director of the SBS, Swiss Cableways is also set to reap the benefits of the improvement in the quality of cableways abroad. As he put it: “We do not view our Czech partner as being a competitor, and are pleased to be able to transmit our experience. In this way, Czech sportspeople will learn how to ski and, sooner or later, will be coming to visit us in the Alps. Even today, they already represent a sizeable portion of our winter tourists.”