Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad AG (BDG) will start the summer season tomorrow, 6 June with the Wispile. Safety measures and distance rules will change cable car operations to some point.
Matthias In-Albon, managing director of the BDG, and Heinz Brand, chairman of the board of directors, explain the protection concept, their expectations for the summer season and why not everything is completely different.
Did the opening date of the summer operation of the cable cars have to be postponed or was it planned that way?
Without the corona pandemic we would have planned the opening of summer operations for the weekends in May. The Whitsun weekend would of course have been a fantastic start to the summer season, for which we would have been ready. As the decisions of the Federal Council are binding for us, we can open from 6 June.
In addition to distance markings and disinfection, mouth-nose masks are among the recommended protective measures. Is it compulsory to wear masks in the gondolas? Are masks available in the valley stations?
When dealing with masks, we follow the concept currently used in public transport. We recommend the wearing of masks, but it is not compulsory. We do not provide masks but rely on the visitors’ personal responsibility.
How does the BDG implement the distance rules in the gondolas?
We usually don’t use all gondolas in summer. Hence we have spare capacity and can adapt operations according to the amount of visitors. Furthermore, the maximum number of people per gondola in our destination is eight guests in summer (Rougemont-La Videmanette). The Wispile gondolas have only got four seats. This allows us to avoid the mingling of people from different groups by allocating guests to the chairs and gondolas individually and according to their needs. This means that if a person comes alone, he or she is transported up the mountain in the gondola without any other people.
Will the mountain lodges start operations at the same time?
Yes, the mountain lodges are ready to open with all the protective measures of Gastrosuisse in place. In compliance with all applicable safety regulations, visitors to the mountains will also be able to enjoy a culinary offering. We are keen to ensure that the entire infrastructure on the mountain is safe for customers and employees.
What do you expect for the destination this summer?
Even when the cable cars were closed, there was a high volume of guests on the mountains of the destination, in particular over the past weekends. This suggests that people want to get outdoors and moving. This need to get out will probably continue – and hopefully be accompanied by good weather. We have therefore decided to extend the operation dates of the Wispile gondola lift and will begin continuous operation from 11 June instead of 20 June.
Based on AvS/Jenny Sterchi