Saalbach at 9am
The first ascent of the day is accompanied by glorious sunshine. This what morning exercise is all about!
I let the right ski drop to the ground, then the left one. The snow swirls a little and the slopes are still completely deserted. I carve my first tracks into the snow. These are the very first tracks in this glittering piste. There's only one word to describe this:
The virgin slope gently winds its way downhill following its natural course and the sun makes the snowy carpet radiate. But who has transformed the slightly strained descent from yesterday into the piste of dreams this morning?
It would require too many helpful elves with pointy hats, gloves, and snow shovels to groom the 270km of pistes perfectly every night overnight. This is why approx. 90 people - with high-powered mechanical support - are responsible for the "nocturnal transformation" of the Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn ski arena.
When skiers embark on their last descents into the valley and are looking forward to relaxing hours in a warm spa, a chosen few slip into their warm boots and grab the keys for "their machine".
The red snow groomers soon crawl out of their respective garages throughout the ski resort. They are majestic, loud, and unstoppable. It looks particularly amazing from afar when their bright headlines head towards the summit in line. Once they have reached the top, the parade of lights turns around and slowly descends back into the valley. Naturally, the slopes are closed for the general public during this time. After all, both the machines and their drivers have some very demanding hours ahead of them.
No matter whether it snows and storms, or whether it is rainy and foggy - the slopes are groomed, regardless. The remaining snow mounds are pushed forward. The even distribution of snow requires sound judgement and bags of experience.
Long before the first ski lift lurch into action and long before one can hear the clicking of ski boots in the village streets, the snow groomers return to their garages. After a last look at their nocturnal efforts, the drivers put their winter boots into a corner. They are tired, but satisfied - and always ready for the next challenge.
A few facts:
Snow groomers: 60
Investment since 2000: approx. 390 million Euros
Current number of slope grooming employees: 86
Current number of employees (total): 618
Customer frequency in winter 2014/15: approx. 25 million passengers
Slopes in kilometres: 270
Lift systems: 70
Perhaps this story has shed some light on the myths surrounding "slope preparation". With relentless dedication to and passion for their job, the "groomer drivers" team up with Mother Holle night after night to conjure up
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone straight from the heart!
© saalbach.com, Bergbahnen Saalbach Hinterglemm
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