• In close collaboration with these renowned experts on the natural environment, we developed a high-elevation re-cultivation and re-vegetation project | © Kitzsteinhorn ©Kitzsteinhorn
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Sustainability

Quality-, eco- and energy management have played an important role at the Kitzsteinhorn for many years. Through exemplary environmental and energy-management strategies, Kapruner Gletscherbahnen AG has pursued its course towards sustainable business and commercial practices. The company is three-time ISO-certified and was rewarded with an outstanding distinction for sustainable management: At the XIth Alpine Conference, the Kitzsteinhorn received the “pro natura – pro ski AWARD”. Kitzsteinhorn is a close partner of Hohe Tauern National Park as well as several scientific projects. For over 10 years, changes in the climate have been monitored intensively on the Kitzsteinhorn. Open-Air Lab Kitzsteinhorn supplies scientific data that influence future-thinking and decision-making. 

Since 2003, Kitzsteinhorn has been committed to the implementation and ongoing monitoring of quality and safety standards consistent with ISO 9001. Active environmental measures as well as the clear commitment to sustainability led, in 2007, to certification being extended to environmental management (ISO 14001) and, in 2015, to energy management (ISO 50001) practices. ISO certifications held by Kapruner Gletscherbahnen apply to all corporate divisions, including lifts, pistes and hospitality.

The overriding goal is to reconcile environmental issues and avoidance of adverse environmental impact with the sustainable commercial development of the company itself. “Precise analysis of environmental consequences and sustainable practices plays an important role in our decision-making. Parallel ecological planning and ecological construction oversight for all projects, together with extensive recultivation measures at our higher elevations, have already become our standard corporate practice. The renowned Salzburg Institute for Ecology has monitored our company since 2006 and has declared the implementation efforts of our experienced team “exemplary”. Through our approaches to energy management, we continuously optimize our utilization of energy and resources. A process which not only helps us commercially, but also guarantees responsible use of valuable resources”, states executive director Norbert Karlsböck.

Pump- & Hydropower Station: snow in winter, power in summer

Even in Salzburg’s highest ski area, because of glacial retreat and climate changes, efficient snowmaking is essential. To that end, Gletscherbahnen Kaprun makes use of water from the reservoirs operated by the major Kaprun hydropower stations. In 2011, the first expansion stage of the Grubbach combined pump- & hydropower station was completed. In winter, it becomes an integral part of the snowmaking infrastructure, whilst in summer, the water from the snowmelt is used to generate energy. In summer 2022, Gletscherbahnen Kaprun will further enhance power production by installing an additional pump turbine.

Photovoltaics and Energy Recovery

The small Grubbach hydropower station, multiple photovoltaic systems on operations buildings as well as energy recovery provided by drive engines makes it possible for the company to produce as much as 1.5 million kWh of renewable power annually. The amount of energy we generate equates to the energy consumption of approximately 500 households. The Kitzsteinhorn obtains 100 % CO2-neutral power supplied by Salzburg AG and generated from renewable energy sources.

Reduction of private transportation in Kaprun

One important goal of the Kaprun–Maiskogel–Kitzsteinhorn “3K K-onnection” was to reduce the use of private vehicles in Kaprun Valley. The new lift link, from the town center of Kaprun all the way up to the ski areas, makes it possible for locals as well as guests to dispense with the use of private cars since they only need to walk a short distance or can take advantage of the optimized free ski-bus system instead. Calculations suggest this will reduce car travel in Kaprun by 1.5 million kilometers annually. 

First E-ski bus and eco-friendly vehicle fleet

This winter, for the very first time, Postbus AG will be operating an electrically powered ski bus on the village bus line in Kaprun. “This bus is ideal for the circumstances in Kaprun. The ride is much quieter and the Co2 emission is reduced significantly. Experiences gained this winter season will help drive further expansion of the E-bus network in Kaprun and the surrounding region”, points out executive director Norbert Karlsböck. The vehicle fleet operated by Gletscherbahnen Kaprun itself will likewise be converted step-by-step to E-mobility. This winter, the newly developed Pistenbully 600E+ will be used on the Kitzsteinhorn. The result: 20% lower CO2 emissions, 20% less fuel consumption and a 20% reduction in noise.

Partner of Hohe Tauern National Park

June 2011 saw the completion and opening of “Gipfelwelt 3000 - TOP OF SALZBURG 3029 m”, a collaborative project between Kapruner Gletscherbahnen and Hohe Tauern National Park. In 2012, both partners signed a cooperation agreement. It comprises various points including the popular National Park Ranger Tours, the “National Park Gallery Tour” and the “Kitzsteinhorn Explorer Tour” as well as mutual knowledge transfer. “The National Park Gallery” at 3000 meters above sea level is the highest generally accessible point in the outer zone of Hohe Tauern National Park and affords unforgettable insights into the high-mountain landscape”, points out Norbert Karlsböck.

Open-Air Lab Kitzsteinhorn

Since 2010, the effects of climate change on high-alpine surface and subsurface processes have been monitored in collaboration with research partners such as Georesearch and various universities. “Our over 70 years of experience on the Kitzsteinhorn are supplemented by scientific data collected about the climate, the glacier, permafrost and rock stability. Our decisions about future activities are based on research findings”, Norbert Karlsböck emphasizes.

pro natura – pro ski AWARD

At the XIth Alpine Conference in 2011, the Kitzsteinhorn was honored with the “pro natura – pro ski AWARD”, which is given out by the Liechtenstein-based foundation “pro natura – pro ski” every two years. This award recognizes alpine ski areas for their ecologically oriented management, innovative power and sustainable business practices. With respect to the Kitzsteinhorn, the ISO certificates were viewed positively, as was the development of innovative and sustainable tourism offers such as Gipfelwelt 3000, completed in June 2011 in close cooperation with Hohe Tauern National Park and Haus der Natur Salzburg. These concepts with a long-term focus, the implemented measures, clearly defined responsibilities for the improvement of environmental sustainability and a high degree of public transparency managed to convince the “pro natura – pro ski” jury.

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