Zermatt Bergbahnen AG. The way to success

Escrito el 19 abril 2008 por Raúl Revuelta Carbajo en Ski Tourism


Zermatt (Valais, Switzerland) is a car-free resort and mountain village at the foot of the Matterhorn surrounded by an incredible landscape of mountains and glaciers. Zermatt can be included in the selected group of the international destination resorts with the capacity to attract skiers from all over the world.

On February 15th, 2002 the shareholders of the three mountain railway companies operating in Zermatt (the Matterhornbahnen AG, the Zermatter Rothornbahn AG and the funicular Zermatt-Sunnegga AG, with the sports area of the Gornergrat-Monte Rosa-Bahnen) approved a merger agreement to create one of the largest aerial cableway companies in Switzerland: Zermatt Bergbahnen AG.


Since the creation, the Company understands nowadays the challenges for the ski resorts are gaining competitive advantage by being environmentally friendly and offering a quality service. The effort to introduce the Quality culture in the Company was recognized with the level III of the Quality Label for Swiss Tourism (Q3). Then, on completion of a multistage auditing process carried out over a period of around one and a half years, the staff of Zermatt Bergbahnen have been granted on September 25, 2005, ISO-9001 Quality management certification and ISO-14001 Environment management certification for all enterprise areas of activity. Also the Company was awarded with the Valais Excellence Label in December 2004, a brand created to promote the development of Integrated Management Systems (environment, quality, safety, finances and human resources).

Also the Company understands the necessity to invest and innovate to remain competitive. Since 2002, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG has invested CHF 105 million in transport equipment, CHF 39 million in pistes and artificial snow equipment, and CHF 34 million in property and vehicles.

The financial viability of the ski resorts depends to a great extent on favourable snow conditions and the snow-reliability of its ski areas. Nowadays ski operators adopt technological measures to reduce the risks from a snow deficient winter and snowmaking is the most widespread strategy to extend the operating season and to secure and guarantee the revenues of the ski resorts. During the warm 2006/07 winter, with poor natural snowfall, Zermatt thanks to a modern web of snow cannons can open over 100 km of slopes in early December.

Zermatt Bergbahnen is also the first ski resort to order a new kind of artificial snow system: the IDE’s All Weather Snowmaker. IDE Technologies is a world leader and pioneer in water desalination, wastewater concentrators and purifiers. The snowmaking technology comes from the mining industry where it is used to cool the goldmines. The new snow machine, which is produced in Israel, has a delivery period of one year and costs around CHF 2 million (EUR 1.19 million). It will be put into operation at the end of September 2008 to offset the bad snow conditions of the late autumn in the glacier piste.

On September 2007 Zermatt Bergbahnen AG reported figures substantially ahead of those reported five years ago at the time of the merger. The Matterhorn ski paradise posted record attendance for the period between Christmas and New Year’s, with an additional 2,000 to 5,000 guests per day and 15,045 daily passes sold on the peak day of New Year’s Eve 2006. Matterhorn ski paradise daily pass sales for the last winter were up by 42,940 year-on-year (3.2%) to 1,368,920. For the full-year, sales totalled 1.8 million daily passes. With those figures, the Matterhorn ski paradise is one of the largest contiguous ski areas in the world.


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