Little snow in the Sattel-Hochstuckli SZ area. Managing director Simon Bissig (34, left) and board member Pirmin Moser (66) still believe in a good future. “We now need an effort like 30 years ago when we boosted summer business,” says Moser.
The lifts in the Sattel-Hochstuckli ski area are closed. The region on the border between the cantons of Zug and Schwyz is the area most affected by the lack of snow that Blick visits. Only the revolving gondola lift from the valley to 1600 meters above sea level is in full swing. On the children’s slope, a white band of snow indicates that it’s actually winter. Otherwise the area is green. Three snow groomers are somewhat lost in the area.
In the medium-sized ski resort with a view of Lake Aegeri and the Grosse Mythen, there is still a surprising amount going on. The restaurants are full and many people are strolling along the hiking trails. How did the destination around the small mountain manage to do that? Don’t we need snow here anymore?
More sales in the summer for ten years
“We have a lot to offer, but we can’t quite do without the snow yet,” says tourism veteran Pirmin Moser (66), who has been with the company Sattel-Hochstuckli AG for a long time. Today, the retiree is still an important voice as a member of the board of directors. He says about the current situation: “30 years ago, after the years with little snow at the end of the 80s, we decided to change course to year-round operation with a focus on summer. For ten years we have been making more sales in the time without snow. But a good day’s skiing still brings in the most paying guests.»
Far too little snow: The Sattel-Hochstuckli ski area was only open for two days(01:55)
Rained too long
The current situation on the mountain without snow hurts. Simon Bissig (34), Managing Director of Sattel-Hochstuckli AG: “In December we managed to get good slopes in the Engelstock area and in our Rondos learning and fun land, which is important for ski beginners. This allowed us to open the ski season with restrictions. It has rained too long now. Our investment has literally flowed down the mountain.”
Even if there is a modern snow-making system in the area – if it is too warm and too humid, you cannot produce snow with machines. Instead of looking after beautiful slopes, the employees now work on the summer toboggan run. They dry the stainless steel channel with brushes and cloths so that the brakes work reliably. In addition, it has a suspension bridge and winter hiking trails as attractions.
Like 30 years ago
“We employ 80 people and are the largest employer here,” says Pirmin Moser. “We’re back in the same situation as we were 30 years ago, it takes effort. We have to find out how we can secure our existence as a tourist resort for another 30 years.”
The winter sports resort of Flumserberg SG was hit less hard. 22 of a total of 65 kilometers of pistes are open. The difference to Sattel-Hochstuckli: Instead of 1600 meters, the St. Gallen competition is 2222 meters above sea level. “The conditions are very good,” says Katja Wildhaber (41) from the management of the mountain railways. Even if she adds in the interview: “Let’s see how it develops.”
Alternatives to kilometers of pistes have also been provided high above Lake Walen. “There is a climbing farm, a bouncy castle, a fairy tale corner, Pilates and yoga at 2,000 meters. And everything is included in the day pass,” says Wildhaber. If the artificial snow slopes are too bumpy for you, you can benefit from the additional offer: “We are offering our alpaca and goat trekking until January 1st,” says farmer and snowmaking specialist Sepp Beeler (27).
«We have many specials»: This is how Flumserberg reacts to the lack of snow(01:52)
Restaurants well attended
Maik Kunz (48), responsible for catering on the Flumsis, still has hope despite the lack of snow: “All 134 employees from 14 countries have come. The restaurants are busy. If the weather is good now, business is good.” He can also take positives from the mild weather: “If people ski less, they might spend more money in restaurants.”
The ski areas at high altitudes are almost carefree. You can almost benefit from the lack of snow in the lower-lying ski regions. In Arosa GR the fun starts at 1800 meters. “We are still a winter paradise. Everything is white,” says tourism director Roland Schuler (43). We already feel the lack of snow, but it’s not a problem yet. The booking numbers are very good.”
100 kilometers of pistes at 1800m: There’s enough snow in Arosa-Lenzerheide(02:34)
Stefan Reichmuth (48) from Bergbahnen Arosa-Lenzerheide also emphasizes the great importance of technical snowmaking. He says: «It can no longer be done without. This is the only way we can plan with certainty and be able to open the area on time and continue through the season until mid-April.
A small cloud hovers over Reichmuth’s mind when he talks about sledging: “Unfortunately, the track is still closed, there isn’t enough snow.” As an Aroser, he even wishes that Mother Hulda finally shakes out the pillows.