The organization known in the four languages of Switzerland as Seilbahnen Schweiz, Remontées Mécaniques Suisses, Funivie Svizzere and Funiculars Svizras has declared the winter season 2012/13 open for business. After the bumper fall of snow over the last few days, hopefully a few more resorts will be opening their runs early. It was sad to see on a winter walk this weekend the lifts closed next door to what looked like eminently skiable slopes.
Anyway, the Cableways Association, has published some interesting facts. They report that on average lift passes in Switzerland will only be going up by about 1.27% for the coming season. They also make some interesting average costings: An average over recent years of more than CHF 400m per year of investment in lifts, 13,600 people employed to operate the lifts and 39% of pistes now with snow cannons. Additional, the cost of preparation of the winter sports terrain is typically 50,000 to 70,000 francs per km of piste,
10,000 to 20,000 francs per km of hiking trail, and 100,000 to 400,000 francs for a half pipe.
Anyway, despite the strength of the Swiss Franc the Cableways Association seems bullish about the prospects for the new season and have announced a number of new initiatives to encourage the uptake of snow sports with young people (see here for details, in French).