Skiing on the Schmiedingerkees | © Kitzsteinhorn ©Kitzsteinhorn

Kitzsteinhorn – Gletscherbahnen Kaprun AG


Power of Change

50 years Kitzsteinhorn


The Kitzsteinhorn in Kaprun: pioneering spirit, courageous decisions and constant transition – hardly any other skiing area in the Alps has this claim to fame. The visonary idea of Ing. Wilhelm Fazokas in the1960s was to plan a Summer skiing area. However, the Kitzsteinhorn, due to its expansive direction and infrastructural adaption, developed steadily step by step to an all year round tourism motor for the whole region.The Kitzsteinhorn, today, has wide glacial slopes and a great variety of pistes with a snow guarantee from October until June - 50 years after the first guests were transported by cable car to the glacier on 12th December 1965. There is also an unique all-year round panoramic experience offered in the high alpine adventure world of the „Gipfelwelt 3000“, right on the border to the Nationalpark Hohe Tauern. Snowparks, freeriding terrain and ski touring routes are provided today in Winter – just as mountainbike trails, guided tours by National Park rangers, popular events and discerning culinary attractions are provided in Summer.

Superlative and technically revolutionary developments, such as on of the highest cable car towers in the world (113,6 meters) and the first drag lift construction on a flowing glacier in 1968, reinforce the continuous innovational strength of the Gletscherbahnen Kaprun. The company was also an international pioneer in installing the first panorama camera to relay live TV images from the skiing area in 1982.

Inextricably bound to the story of the Kitzsteinhorn is the tragic fire disaster of the tunnel train on the 11th November 2000, whereby 155 people lost their lives. The accident marked a painful turning point for the Gletscherbahnen. The following years were shaped by new orientation, change of direction, and enshrined in a new corporate mission: „to build upon existing natural and unique strengths, to be creative and in balance with high alpine nature and reach higher quality and service standards“. The Gletscherbahnen entered a partnership agreement with the Nationalpark Hohe Tauern and also began cooperating with the Salzburg Institute for Ecology, who have accompanied all building projects since then. Since 2003, the Gletscherbahnen Kaprun is the only Austrian cable car company to be ISO-certified for all quality and safety standards and also, since 2007, for the domain of environmental management. The company created a second leg to stand on, apart from winter sport, when it opened the „Gipfelwelt 3000“ in 2011.

The Gletscherbahnen Kaprun has its 50 year jubilee in December 2015. The title „Kitzsteinhorn: The Power of Change“ represents an impressive history, as well as the future of Austria´s first glacial skiing area. The start-up to the 2015/2016 jubilee season is the implementation of the new lift axis, Gletscherjet 3 and 4, which makes the glacier faster and more comfortably accessible. The central skiing area of the Kitzsteinhorn is being completely restructured and with this project, the Gletscherbahnen Kaprun AG sets its adaption strategy to changes in the glacier, the climate and in tourism further and welcomes another new era on the Kitzsteinhorn, „The Power of Change“.

From 2017 until 2019, Kaprun’s generational project – the creation of a link from the glacier ski area to Maiskogel Family Mountain and Kaprun – will be brought to fruition. Subsequent to the fusion with Maiskogelbetriebs AG in December 2017, in two stages scheduled for completion by December 2019 both of Kaprun’s local mountains, the Kitzsteinhorn and the Maiskogel, will be connected by lift. In this way, Gletscherbahnen Kaprun continues to vigorously pursue a strategy of adapting to changes in the glacier, climate and tourism, once again harnessing the “power of change” in order to ring in a new era for Kaprun and the Kitzsteinhorn.

Magazin "Power of Change"