The History of Bergbahnen Sölden

Milestones
Development

Milestones of a success story

Sölden has changed a lot between the first one-person chairlift in 1948 and the ultramodern James Bond Adventure World in 2018. With an unbroken spirit of innovation and the courage to put their visions into practice, Bergbahnen Sölden have developed into one of Europe's leading mountain lift companies. Numerous records and superlatives pave the way from the beginnings to the present. An overview of the most important events and developments in the company's history can be found here.

1948

1st Lift: Hochsölden Single Chairlift

Skiing and winter sports started in the period between the World Wars, the time of the first ski school and the foundation of the Hochsölden as a high Alpine hotel village.
The huge success as a tourism center started after World War II when the very first lift was built - the single chairlift to Hochsölden. Not all parts of the lift were brand-new, many of the elements (for example, wheels or engine) came from former military equipment. The 42 lift towers were made of wood. The first lift reached a total hourly capacity of 120 persons.

UNTIL 1962

Gradual Development of Innerwald and Hochsölden Ski Areas

In 1952, the Rotkogl single chairlift was the second lift that reached the area above Hochsölden, offering new ski slopes to skiers in winter and lift-assisted hiking for walkers in summer. One year later, the slopeside terrace of Innerwald (hamlet of Sölden) was connected to the valley floor by a chairlift.
Between 1959 and 1962 nine further T-bar lifts were opened - 6 in the hamlet of Innerwald, 2 in Hochsölden and one in the hamlet of Rechenau to the right. 12 mountain lifts in total, one skipass for all lifts was available already from 1960.

1966

Gaislachkogl Development & Opening

The construction of this unrivaled "Ötztaler Gletscherbahn" beyond 3000 meters above sea level, the highest cable car in all Austria at that time, was meant as an alternative to the already crowded mountain lifts and ski slopes of Hochsölden. In March 1966 the first section went into operation, leading up to 2070 m above sea level. Later in May, also the section up to incredible 3040 m altitude was inaugurated. Together with the new cable car, 3 T-bar lifts were built in the Gaislachkogl ski area, plus restaurants at the middle station and the top station.

1971

Interconnected Ski Mountains

Sölden had two neighboring ski mountains - Gaislachkogl and Hochsölden - which were not linked to each other. As the surrounding terrain seemed perfect, the next step was clearly defined: The two chairlifts Langegg 1 and Langegge 2 were built in 1971, and Hochsölden could be reached easily from Gaislachkogl. In 1975 the Stabele double chairlift completed the interconnected ski mountain project, and skiing from one mountain to the next was possible in both directions.

1975

Glacier Road & Development and Opening of Glacier Ski Areas

Construction works for the 13 km long Glacier Road towards Rettenbach Glacier started already in 1971. It was officially opened in July 1975 together with the very first T-bar glacier lift, followed by the double chairlift leading up to Rettenbachjoch. Until 1978, six ski lifts were opened on Rettenbach Glacier. The skiing season was kicked-off in early autumn, much earlier than in other winter sport regions. The area of Rettenbach Glacier was accessible only via the Glacier Road, therefore the glacier ski lifts were closed in winter.

1977

Giggijoch Mono-Rope Mountain Gondola with 4-person cabins

For a quite long time the Hochsölden single chairlift was the only feeder lift for Hochsölden's ski area (capacity: 440 persons/hour). Of course, lift lines were just normal during peak times. Therefore a new mono-rope mountain gondola was opened in 1977 (1070 persons/hour), to take skiers quickly and effortlessly to the Hochsölden ski slopes. The 2.7 km long gondola, leading from Sölden directly to Giggijoch at about 200 meters above Hochsölden, was the first mountain lift with a fully automated terminal.

1981

Development & Opening of Tiefenbach Glacier – Road Tunnel

As the glacier ski lifts have been attracting more and more snow sport fans, the glacier slopes were extended by opening up also Tiefenbach Glacier thanks to a 1.7 km long road tunnel. Therefore the second glacier ski area on Tiefenbach was easily accessible either by car or by mountain lifts / ski slopes on skis. 4 new ski lifts were built on Tiefenbach Glacier until 1982. At that time it was the one and only linked glacier ski area, a one-of-a-kind attraction.

1988

Gaislachkogl Double-Rope Mountain Gondola

The historical cable car dating back to 1966 had an hourly capacity of only 450 persons and did not meet the requirements anymore. Therefore a new feeder mountain lift was an absolute must: the new double-rope mountain gondola with 38 cabins featured a total hourly capacity of 2600 persons on section I (1000 persons/hour on section II leading up to the peak). Gaislachkogl Mountain Gondola was the world's biggest and most modern of its kind at that time.

1993

1st World Cup Race in Sölden

A new era started thanks to the very first Alpine Ski World Cup Race held in Sölden in October 1993. Initially, the race took place every three years (second competition in 1996). Soon the World Cup returned to Sölden every two years, and from 2000 onwards, the Women's and Men's Giant Slalom Races were held every year on occasion of the FIS ALPINE SKI WORLD CUP OPENING in late October – it has become a true highlight in the yearly race calendar. Sölden ranks among the most popular venues of the World Cup Circus.

1998

Connecting Ski Lifts: Golden Gate to the Glacier - 8EUB Giggijoch

In 1998 the connecting ski lifts towards the glacier ski mountains were opened – called "Golden Gate to the Glacier". From that moment onwards, Rettenbach Glacier was easily accessible on skis via the winter ski area. Therefore the glacier slopes were open also in the winter, bringing great economic success to Bergbahnen Sölden. In addition to the three new connecting ski lifts, the former 4EUB Giggijoch gondola was replaced by a state-of-the-art Mountain Gondola with 8-person cabins and a much higher capacity.

2000

8EUB Tiefenbach + 6SK Langegg

In 2000, the very first mono-rope mountain gondola with 8-person cabins was inaugurated in the glacier ski area at Tiefenbach. Also summer guests, pedestrians and hikers appreciated the new attraction.
In the Sölden ski area the two chairlifts Langegg 1 + 2 were replaced by a detachable 6-seater chairlift in the same year. For skiers and winter sport fans it was the easiest link between the ski mountains of Gaislachkogl and Giggijoch.

2003

8EUB Schwarze Schneide

Schwarze Schneide I + II Mountain Gondolas with 8-person cabins were opened on Rettenbach Glacier, signing another attraction also for summer guests and mountain hikers as the gondola is in operation also during the warm season.

2003

BIG 3

Sölden is Austria's one and only ski resort that boasts three peaks higher than 3000 meters – called the BIG 3 – accessible with top modern mountain gondolas:

- Gaislachkogl (3058 m)
- Tiefenbachkogl (3250 m)
- Schwarze Schneid (3340 m)

3 Ski mountains which feature 3 breathtaking viewing platforms and 3 unique Alpine panoramas in XXL format.

2007

Rotkogl Water Reservoir

In the course of major extension works, the Rotkogl snow-making system was improved by adding a new water reservoir at 2600 m above sea level. The 155,000 m³ reservoir supplies the whole new Giggijoch snow-making network, and is fed either by water piped down from Rettenbach Glacier or water coming from the valley bottom.

2008

8SK Giggijoch - Giggijoch Restaurants

In 2008 the whole Giggijoch area was "relaunched". Both free-flow restaurants were modernized and the "Wirtshaus" table-service restaurant was extended. Additionally, the former triple chairlift was replaced by a top modern 8-seater chairlift with a total hourly capacity of 3700 persons. Restaurant Giggijoch ranks among Austria's most frequented mountain restaurants.

2009

Restaurant Tiefenbach

The already existing restaurant on Tiefenbach Glacier was completely renovated and refurbished in top modern style. A new ski bridge was added, connecting the ski slope directly with the restaurant.

2010

8EUB Gaislachkogl I + 3S Gaislachkogl II + Zentrum Shuttle

In 2010, Bergbahnen Sölden achieved another milestone by building the new Gaislachkogl Mountain Gondolas I + II. Section I features 8-person cabins and an hourly capacity of 3600 persons – the world's most powerful feeder mountain gondola.
Section II features a triple-rope gondola, the world's highest of its kind at that time.
In the same year, the new Zentrum Shuttle was opened taking guests effortlessly up to the Innerwald beginners' ski area and back to the village center.

2011

Panorama Water Reservoir

The new panorama water reservoir with a total capacity of 412,000 m³ was filled for the first time in the 2011 summer, after only 2 years of construction.
A whole network of snow-making pipes installed at the new water reservoir, provides almost the entire ski area with enough water.

2013

Ice Q Restaurant

Another architectural highlight right on the peak of Gaislachkogl at 3048 m altitude: the ice Q design restaurant, the highest of its kind in the Sölden ski area, offers culinary treats at their best. On two floors with 130 seats inside and another 80 seats on the terrace, you can indulge in tasty "Alpine Cuisine" accompanied by fine wines at the highest level.
The ice Q gourmet restaurant also was the main reason why the production team has chosen Sölden as a shooting location of the James Bond movie "Spectre".

2015

James Bond "Spectre"

Film director and Oscar winner Sam Mendes has found some of the Alp's most fascination shooting locations for his latest production, "Spectre". Right from start he fell in love with Ötztal's winter sport hot spot. Sölden is the shooting location of one of the movie's centerpieces, comprising the ice Q restaurant, the Glacier Road and section II of the Gaislachkogl mountain gondola which played an important role in the latest blockbuster.

2016

10EUB Giggijochbahn

The new, top modern feeder mountain gondola to Giggijoch was opened just in time for the 2016/2017 winter season start. This mono-rope gondola with detachable 10-person cabins has a record capacity of 4500 person/hour, opening up new dimensions when it comes to design and modern comfort.
Therefore the Sölden ski area features the two strongest feeder gondolas world-wide: 10EUB Giggijoch (4500 persons/hour) and 8EUB Gaislachkogl (3600 persons/hour).

2017

Rettenbach Glacier Restaurant

Bergbahnen Sölden inaugurated a new gastronomical highlight in the foothills of Rettenbach Glacier (2675 m) just in time for the 2017/18 winter sport season.
In addition to a top modern self-service restaurant, guests can enjoy a superb new restaurant with table service either indoors or on the terrace, plus a Day Bar with Lounge and an Ice Bar with movable roof. Also the Europa Test Center that comprises all leading winter sport brands was completely refurbished.

2018

James Bond 007 Elements

In 2018 a new Cinematic Installation, build inside Gaislachkogl peak at 3040 meters above sea level, opens its doors. The exhibition on 1300 m² covering two floors gives visitors a deep insight into the shooting of an Agent 007 movie.
007 ELEMENTS promises a truly awe-inspiring James Bond adventure amid the high Alpine landscape. The cinematic installation right at the heart of nature, coupled with dramatic sound elements, adds to a very special experience.

Chronology of the development

Year Name Type Development Status ∆ Cap. Pers./Hr
1948 ESL Hochsölden   Construction disused 2012 +398 398
1952 ESL Rotkogl  

Construction

disused 1986 +630 1028
1953 ESL Innerwald  

Construction

disused 2009 +600 1628
1959 SL Giggijoch  

Construction

disused 1982 +1000 2628
1959 SL Rechenaulift  

Construction

disused 1989 +600 3228
1960 SL Innerwald I, II  

Construction

in operation +2000 5228
1960 SL Rauthlift  

Construction

disused 1995 +600 5828
1961 SL Hanglift  

Construction

disused 1986 +600 6428
1962 SL Wiesenlift  

Construction

disused 1991 +600 7028
1966 SL Gaislachalm  

Construction

in operation +1010 8038
1966 SL Gratl  

Construction

disused 1985 +1100 9138
1966 SL Wasserkar  

Construction

disused 1986 +1000 10138
1966 Gaislachkoglbahn I  

Construction

disused 1988 +450 10588
1966 Gaislachkoglbahn II  

Construction

disused 1988 +450 11038
1966 SL Hainbachkar  

Construction

disused 1993 +1100 12138
1971 ESL Langegg II  

Construction

disused 1975 +700 12838
1971 ESL Langegg I  

Construction

disused 1985 +700 13538
1974 2SB Mittelstation  

Construction

in operation +920 14458
1975 ESL Langegg II   Shutdown   -700 13758
1975 2SB Langegg II  

Construction

disused 2000 +1108 14866
1975 2SB Stabele  

Construction

disused 2005 +1042 15908
1975 2SB Rettenbachjoch  

Construction

disused 1989 +1100 17008
1975 SL Roßkirpl  

Construction

disused 1991 +1400 18408
1975 SL Pitztaler Jöchl  

Construction

disused 1990 +1200 19608
1976 SL Schwarze Schneid  

Construction

disused 2003 +1339 20947
1977 4EUB Giggijoch  

Construction

disused 1998 +1070 22017
1978 SL Seiterjöchl  

Construction

in operation +1331 23348
1979 2SB Silberbrünnl  

Construction

disused 1993 +1440 24788
1980 2SB Heidebahn  

Construction

disused 2001 +1445 26233
1981 3SB Seiterkar  

Construction

disused 2004 +1960 28193
1981 SL Mutkogl  

Construction

in operation +1435 29628
1982 SL Giggijoch  

Shutdown

  -1000 28628
1982 3SB Giggijoch  

Construction

disused 2008 +1970 30598
1982 3SB Tiefenbachferner  

Construction

disused 2000 +1800 32398
1982 SL Tiefenbachkogl  

Construction

disused 2000 +1441 33839
1985 ESL Langegg I  

Shutdown

  -700 33139
1985 3SB Langegg I  

Construction

disused 2000 +2011 35150
1985 SL Gratl  

Shutdown

  -1100 34050
1985 2SB Gratl  

Construction

in operation +1440 35490
1986 SL Hanglift  

Shutdown

  -600 34890
1986 ESL Rotkogl  

Shutdown

  -630 34260
1986 2SB Rotkogl  

Construction

in operation +1440 35700
1986 SL Wasserkar  

Shutdown

  -1000 34700
1986 3SB Wasserkar  

Construction

disused 2014 +1970 36670
1988 Gaislachkoglbahn I  

Shutdown

  -450 36220
1988 Gaislachkoglbahn II  

Shutdown

  -450 35770
1988 DUB Gaislachkoglbahn I  

Construction

in operation +2600 38370
1988 DUB Gaislachkoglbahn II  

Construction

in operation +1250 39620
1989 SL Rechenaulift  

Shutdown

  -600 39020
1989 2SB Rettenbachjoch  

Shutdown

  -1100 37920
1989 4SK Rettenbachjoch  

Construction

disused 2017 +2800 40720
1990 SL Pitztaler Jöchl  

Shutdown

  -1200 39520
1990 SL Karleskogl  

Construction

in operation +1440 40960
1990 SL Panorama  

Construction

disused 2017 +1435 42395
1991 SL Wiesenlift  

Shutdown

  -600 41795
1991 SL Roßkirpl  

Shutdown

  -1400 40395
1991 4SK Roßkirpl  

Construction

in operation +2650 43045
1991 4SK Gampe  

Construction

disused 2012 +2880 45925
1992 SL Mini Tiefenbach  

Construction

in operation +750 46675
1993 SL Hainbachkar  

Shutdown

  -1100 45575
1993 2SB Silberbrünnl  

Shutdown

  -1440 44135
1993 4SK Silberbrünnl  

Construction

in operation +2650 46785
1993 SL Mini Giggijoch  

Construction

in operation +733 47518
1993 2SB Hainbachkar  

Construction

disused 1999 +1442 48960
1995 SL Rauthlift  

Shutdown

  -600 48360
1998 4EUB BGiggijoch  

Shutdown

  -1070 47290
1998 8EUB Giggijoch  

Construction

disused 2016 +2800 50090
1998 8EUB Gletscherexpress  

Construction

in operation +2400 52490
1998 4SK Einzeiger  

Construction

in operation +2400 54890
1998 SL Seekogl  

Construction

in operation +2400 57290
1999 2SB Hainbachkar  

Shutdown

  -1442 55848
1999 4SK Hainbachkar  

Construction

in operation +2650 58498
1999 4SK Schwarzkogl  

Construction

in operation +2400 60898
2000 3SB Tiefenbachferner  

Shutdown

  -1800 59098
2000 SL Tiefenbachkogl  

Shutdown

  -1441 57657
2000 8EUB Tiefenbachferner  

Construction

in operation +2800 60457
2000 3SB Langegg I  

Shutdown

  -2011 58446
2000 2SB Langegg II  

Shutdown

  -1108 57338
2000 6SK Langegg  

Construction

in operation +2400 59738
2001 2SB Heidebahn  

Shutdown

  -1445 58293
2001 4SK Heidebahn  

Construction

in operation +2400 60693
2003 SL Schwarze Schneid  

Shutdown

  -1339 59354
2003 8EUB Schwarze Schneide I  

Construction

in operation +2800 62154
2003 8EUB Schwarze Schneide II  

Construction

in operation +2800 64954
2004 3SB Seiterkar  

Shutdown

  -1960 62994
2004 6SK Seiterkar  

Construction

in operation +3000 65994
2005 2SB Stabele  

Shutdown

  -1042 64952
2005 6SK Stabele  

Construction

in operation +2600 67552
2008 3SB Giggijoch  

Shutdown

  -1970 65582
2008 8SK Giggijoch  

Construction

in operation +3700 69282
2009 ESL Innerwald  

Shutdown

  - 600 68682
2010 DUB Gaislachkogl I  

Shutdown

  -2600 66082
2010 8EUB Gaislachkogl I  

Construction

in operation +3600 69862
2010 DUB Gaislachkogl II  

Shutdown

  -1250 68432
2010 3S Gaislachkogl II  

Construction

in operation +1400 70082
2010 SA Zentrum Shuttle  

Construction

in operation +800 70882
2012 ESL Hochsölden  

Shutdown

  -398 70484
2012 4SK Gampe  

Shutdown

  -2880 67604
2014 2SB Wasserkar  

Shutdown

  -1970 65634
2014 6SK Wasserkar  

Construction

in operation +2400 68034
2016 8EUB Giggijoch  

Shutdown

  -2800 65234
2016 10EUB Giggijoch  

Construction

in operation +4500 69734
2017 4SK Rettenbchjoch  

Shutdown

  -2800 66934
2017 SL Panorama  

Shutdown

  -1435 65499
  Total capacity         65.499

 

Legend

SL T-bar

ESL

Single Chairlift

2SB

Double Chairlift

4SK

Quadruple Chairlift

6SK

Chairlift6 Persons

8SK

Chairlift 8 Persons

8EUB / 10EUB

Gondola (8/10 Pers.)

3S

Gondola (28 Pers.)

SA

Funicular

 

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  • 0–187 cm

  • 14/31

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