Der Pistenbully hinterlässt feinsten Feinripp | © Edith Danzer
The Glacier.

Corduroy in bright winter white

How do heavily trafficked slopes become perfectly groomed over night? It doesn't take magic to remove the signs of a perfect ski day from the wide glacier slopes and turn them into flawless corduroy, but state-of-the-art technology, great finesse and feeling for snow. The PistenBully 600 E+ guarantees clean, efficient and quiet slope preparation.

Klaus Woergoetter is deputy Head of Slopes on the Kitzsteinhorn. He and his team get the slopes into great shape night after night. The most recent addition to the company's fleet of snow groomers is the PistenBully 600 E+ made by the German company Kaessbohrer – a pioneer in the field of sustainable slope preparation. The 14-ton-heavy snow groomer is the cleanest and quietest on the market. Its diesel-electric drive makes slope preparation more sustainable.

The PistenBully 600 E+ drives out of the Alpincenter garage with blinking lights. Klaus proudly presents "The Green One", as the machine is affectionately called by the slope grooming team.

The sustainable 20

"Let me make one thing clear – the "E" in the name doesn't mean the snow groomer is an electric vehicle", clarifies the slopes expert. "Electric drive in slope preparation is not yet possible – storage batteries for grooming slopes for several hours in steep terrain would simply be too heavy. The "E" stands for world's first diesel-electric drive in a snow groomer, setting new standards for sustainability in slope preparation." Without sacrificing power, the machine saves 20% fuel and reduces noise and carbon emissions by 20%. "And as for economic sustainability, the new PistenBully has low operating costs and low-maintenance drive", Klaus Woergoetter explains enthusiastically. And the expert knows what he's talking about, having operated snow groomers for over four decades.

GPS Slopes and Fleet Management


Klaus has been part of Kitzsteinhorn's slope preparation team for 30 years and knows every square millimeter of his slopes. However, the exposed position of the glacier ski resort challenges even the most experienced grooming managers. He explains: "You get lost easily when a snowstorm brings a sudden whiteout and contours become invisible. That's where SNOWsat comes into play. The GPS-based slope management system supports the driver by showing him on the monitor, where the edges of the slope are and which areas have already been groomed." SNOWsat's snow depth measurement system also allows super-efficient grooming, for drivers see on the monitor where there is sufficient snow and where adding snow might still be necessary. Klaus knows: "That helps us save resources as far as snow making is concerned, since it allows us to specifically say where snow is needed."

Der Pistenbully 600 E+ im Einsatz | © Edith Danzer ©Edith Danzer
The low-emission PistenBully at work. © Edith Danzer

In the end, it’s all about the outcome and the pleasure skiers find on our slopes. It doesn’t matter that you have to sit in the cockpit for two more hours when weather conditions are bad.

Klaus Woergoetter, deputy Head of Slopes

Nightly mission 'corduroy'

When grooming slopes, the keyword is snow, for each type of snow has to be groomed differently, as Klaus knows: "Fresh snow has to be handled differently than artificial snow or firn snow. Before I start work, I check the detailed weather forecast. In case of heavy snowfall, we head onto the slopes after cable cars have stopped operating to clear the tracks of the day. Afterwards, we'll let it snow and restart our snow groomers in the early morning hours to groom the fresh snow in time for the first skiers."

Klaus has been on duty during approximately 2,300 nights and therefore knows exactly what it takes for a perfect slope. He laughs: "Slope preparation is highly complex. You need great finesse and time. In the end, it's all about the outcome and the pleasure skiers find on our slopes. It doesn't matter that you have to sit in the cockpit for two more hours when weather conditions are bad."

Cabins of modern snow groomers really do resemble plane cockpits. Comfy, air suspension seats, heated windows and wiper blades as well as intuitive control of the shovel and cutter via monitors, joystick and touch control. "That makes night shifts even more fun. And knowing that slope preparation with the PistenBully 600 E+ reduces our carbon footprint."


Pistenbully 600 E+

Highlight world's only snow groomer with diesel-electric drive
SNOWsat GPS-based slopes and fleet management system with satellite-guided positioning and precise snow depth measurement
Weight 9.3 tons
Drive diesel-electric
Fuel saving 20%
Noise emission reduction 20%
Carbon emission reduction 20%