Things are in motion at Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad (BDG). A fresh breeze is blowing through the venerable ski resort in the Bernese Oberland with an extensive modernisation and restructuring project. Alongside two new ropeways, they're also investing in optimum slope quality: with SNOWsat across the whole fleet. A conversation with Matthias In-Albon, the new CEO.
"Without SNOWsat we would never have managed to open the slopes on time last season and then keep them open either", says Matthias In-Albon, who became CEO of BDG in autumn last year. "And that's despite the poor weather conditions in December with only very little available snow. The temperatures wouldn't allow anything else!" The SNOWsat snow and fleet management system was installed on 6 PistenBully last winter. "I had already known about SNOWsat for a while. The system has really been upgraded over the last few years. And I was and am convinced that it is bringing us massive savings."
Savings and easier work
That was wholly confirmed by the intensive test phase: "I'm assuming that we will save diesel in the realms of at least 10 % in future. And the investment in the total of 16 SNOWsat systems will have paid for itself within just a few years." In addition to the economic aspect, the new man in Gstaad was also convinced by other arguments: "The drivers are really impressed by the touchscreen controls. The whole system is now web-based, which makes the work enormously easier for all of us. From the start though, what has really impressed me has been the extremely reliable and prompt customer service. We got stuck into the project in mid-October 2015, and implementation was already complete by November, and that's with a full 3D ski resort survey. The service people from Kässbohrer were always on site quickly and were very committed to solving all the unknowns that cropped up. Significantly: without special rates or unforeseen extra costs. Because really what's the use of a cheaper product if the secondary costs mount up afterwards?"
One goal: perfect snow quality
In terms of the ski resort's new outlook, Matthias In-Albon is focussing on two things initially: customer-friendly service and slope quality. The employees are crucial to both points. "Friendliness is a big issue for me. It costs nothing and does a lot. My people have now assimilated that. Optimising snow quality is also heavily dependant on the staff. "That's why were started with coaching to familiarise our people to the idea of the new Gstaad winter sports experience." Technical training on snow and fleet management is also planned, because you cannot get the best out of the system unless you're well trained. "Some drivers already know what they're in for with SNOWsat: "Some of them were sceptical at the start. I think some of them may also have been worried about too much monitoring. But that passed very quickly. They soon realised that they no longer have to drive just based on feel, but can deliver optimum grooming even in poor weather conditions thanks to the hard facts on the screen."
Something's happening in Gstaad - first the decks were cleared and now everything is being polished to a shine. With PistenBully and SNOWsat we are equipped to deliver brilliant slopes. The best of luck with the mammoth task - and many thanks for the insights, Mr In-Albon!