In heavy snowfall and under the eyes of many interested people, the new 10-person panoramic gondola lift was opened on Saturday. The ride up Gstaad's local mountain takes just under five minutes. The cost of the lift, including the administration building, is around CHF 15m.
With a few yodelling songs, the yodel club “Bärgfriede” opened the festivities for the opening of the new cable car up Gstaad’s local mountain. “The realisation of the Eggli cable car is a further milestone in BDG’s forward strategy,” said chairman of the board Heinz Brand, welcoming the illustrious crowd of guests.
According to Brand, the fact that the cable car could be realised is primarily due to the great financial commitment of the two Gstaad regular guest associations, Société pour la Préservation de l’Eggli and Club de Luge. Only ten years ago the railway was on the brink of collapse, as Brand explained. “From a business management point of view, a renewal made no sense. But in terms of economic impact on the whole region, it was and is of great importance.
When it became clear that the BDG could not afford a new construction, the Eggli fans around Michael de Picciotto became active. “It was a wonderful adventure, in which the people involved have invested a lot of energy and financial resources over the past five years,” says Picciotto. “It was a long way, but a dream came true.”
BDG is investing around CHF 18m in the facilities. The cable car costs CHF 12m, the annex building with offices and studios for employees costs CHF 3m, and BDG is investing CHF 3m in the new Berghaus. “The two regular guest associations are contributing CHF 8m à fonds perdu and CHF 2m in the form of shares to the costs of the cable car and are supporting us with additional millions in the construction of the new Berghaus,” Brand informed. The federal government has also recognised the importance of the project. It granted an interest-free loan of CHF 8m for the two new cable cars Saanersloch and Eggli and obliged the BDG to use CHF 3.2m thereof for the new Eggli lift.
A beacon project
“Good things come to those who wait,” emphasised Matthias In-Albon, managing director of the BDG. Although the new lift was built in a record time of 280 days, the process from initial idea to realisation took a total of five years. He thanked the Club de Luges for their enormous support.
“We are talking about a beacon project with an impact. With this project, we are taking an important step towards repositioning the Eggli,” said In-Albon. “The investments that have been and will be made in the cable cars and in the Berghaus will bring an enormous revaluation for the whole region”.
A joyful day
The cable car was officially opened by Benedikt Weibel, the former CEO of the Swiss railways SBB. Weibel had only been on the Eggli once in his life – more than twenty years ago – he confessed, but it left a lasting impression. “It’s an absolute day of joy today,” rejoiced Weibel: “Firstly, we are allowed to cut the ribbon, and secondly, starting tomorrow, the days will be longer again ...”, he said with laughter.
Following the official opening, everyone was able to enjoy a free ride in the new, comfortable gondolas up Gstaad’s local mountain, where appetizers were served in the open air.
Based on AvS/Anita Moser
Translated by Justien Hewson