Our projects for environmentally friendly snow sports on Corviglia.
Sustainable mountain experience
We always want to become even better in the area of sustainability. This improvement is an ongoing process that began back in 1981 with the commissioning of the solar thermal plant on Marguns. Since then, Engadin St. Moritz Mountains has implemented various measures. The biggest milestones in the area of snow sports and mountain experience include, for example, the implementation of Switzerland's first natural storage lake in 2015 - and another important milestone is already being planned: in 2025, we want to build the second natural storage lake, the Lej Nair Pitschen.
New fuel for our service vehicles, service buildings and restaurants
Since the 2022/23 winter season, all diesel vehicles in the ski areas, i.e. all construction, snow grooming and service vehicles run on a new fuel, the GTL (Gas-to-Liquids) Fuel Alpine. All service buildings and restaurants are also heated with the new heating oil, GTL Fuel Heating. The diesel and heating oil substitute is a synthetic fuel and is based on natural gas. The clear liquid is biodegradable and burns cleaner than diesel. This reduces soot, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, resulting in cleaner air and fewer emissions. GTL Fuel Alpine is specifically designed for cold temperatures, has a consistent flow rate year-round and does not need to be replaced with a winter fuel when temperatures drop.
Water recycling for snowmaking
The vision is above the project
The topic of the hour is to become even better in the area of sustainability. In order to really make a difference, it is important to take into account environmental, economic, and social considerations. The largest project currently underway is a second natural reservoir - this should bring about immense savings in snowmaking. However, it is also just one piece of the mosaic in the overall vision of the sustainable development of the ski area.
Voluntary climate protection and energy efficiency
The company Engadin St. Moritz Mountains AG is committed to sustainable climate protection out of conviction. With the voluntary participation in the program of the Energy Agency of the Economy, the company Engadin St. Moritz Mountains AG commits itself to the active reduction of CO2 emissions and the optimization of energy efficiency. The target agreement is recognized by the federal government, the cantons and partners in the economy.
The most sustainable world championship in St. Moritz
The piste management concept ensured improved resource utilization and conservation at all levels. The 2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Moritz went down in the history books as the "most sustainable world championship in piste management". Kässbohrer made a major contribution to this with its products and a great deal of know-how.
For Engadin St. Moritz Mountains AG, ecological responsibility is not just an obligation but an active part of the corporate strategy. This is ensured by an extensive series of projects, some of which are pioneering in nature, and by permanent further development and optimization. With the voluntary participation in the program of the Energy Agency of the Economy, the company Engadin St. Moritz Mountains AG commits itself to the active reduction of CO2 emissions and the optimization of energy efficiency. The target agreement has been recognized by the federal government, the cantons and partners in the economy.
Respect in dealing with the environment
Nature is the employer of every mountain railroad and therefore, for our part, everything is done to use it as sparingly as possible and to protect it at the same time. On just under 0.7 percent of the surface area of the Grisons, 50 percent of which is protected (source ARE GR, 2009), the mountain railway companies of the Grisons generate a turnover of around 370 million Swiss francs per year. Only an intact landscape is a secure foundation for a provider of snow sports and mountain experiences. Consequently, it is part of our central responsibility to treat the available resources respectfully and to apply careful working methods. Our measures often go far beyond the regulations of the legislator.
With the aim of reducing energy consumption for snowmaking, a storage lake was realized in the Corviglia region at around 2500 meters above sea level. With the snowmaking water reservoir in the size of 400,000 m3 in the Lej Alv area, 2'500'000 kWh can be saved per lake filling compared to today.
Snowmaking, energy and water consumption
Thanks to today's snowmaking facilities, it is possible to have a large part of the slopes in operation by the start of the high season. This allows the underlying flora and fauna to be protected.
Energy consumption considered in the overall context: Snowing a large ski area with about 550,000 kWh of electricity is in the order of magnitude of an open artificial ice rink in Zurich (about 800,000 kWh/a) or an indoor swimming pool in the mountains (820,000 kWh/a). (Source: DETEC, Energetic significance of technical snowmaking on ski slopes and potentials for energy optimization)
Engadin St. Moritz Mountains is the first company in the world to use biocompressor oil for its snowmaking systems.
The mechanically produced snow consists only of water and air. Engadin St. Moritz Mountains does not use any additives to promote crystallization. No water is consumed. The water is merely transformed into a different aggregate state. In spring, the snow turns back into water as a result of snowmelt.
The importance of treating nature with care and in a manner appropriate to the species was recognized at an early stage. Engadin St. Moritz Mountains has been using ecological construction monitoring since 1999. At that time, this was not yet mandatory, but nevertheless, great importance was attached to it. In the meantime, such construction monitoring has become standard.
A very good example of this is the 2003 Alpine Ski World Championships. Today, one sees less of the interventions of the 2003 World Championships than of those of the 1974 World Championships. After construction work, the focus is on recultivation. The greening of the areas is accompanied and ensured for years. Interventions in nature are compensated for by removing construction sins of the past, demolishing old facilities or buildings, or renaturalizing built-up landscapes and watercourses.
Public transport included in multi-day season tickets
Engadin St. Moritz Mountains recognized the importance of optimal transport management at an early stage and was one of the main initiators of the then sports bus in the valley over 20 years ago. From today's point of view, the then pioneering decision to transfer guests from private to public transport has made a not insignificant contribution to minimizing CO2 emissions in the Engadin. An evaluation by the VCS underpins the pioneering role of Engadin St. Moritz Mountains in promoting the use of public transport. In the evaluation, Engadin St. Moritz is in 3rd place. The study examined accessibility by public transport, the mobility offer on site and the quality of information for car-free tourists.
Even today, public transport is included in the multi-day mountain rail pass. In this way, Engadin St. Moritz Mountains creates an incentive for guests to make greater use of public transport.
As early as 1996, Engadin St. Moritz Mountains ordered all its piste machines only with biodegradable hydraulic oil. It was one of the first mountain railroads to lobby the manufacturer intensively for the use of biodegradable hydraulic oil.
In 1997, Engadin St. Moritz Mountains was the first ski resort in the Alps to use low-sulfur winter diesel. This was despite the fact that this resulted in an additional price of 6 centimes per liter with a consumption of approx. 200,000 liters/year (+ CHF 12,000 pa).
In 2006, Engadin St. Moritz Mountains was the first mountain railway operation in the world ever to use diesel particulate filters on large slope machines (over 4 m wide). At the beginning, one new vehicle was equipped with a particulate filter right from the start, and one existing vehicle was retrofitted with a particulate filter. Today, practically the entire fleet of 24 machines is equipped with a particulate filter.
On December 6, 2012, Engadin St. Moritz Mountains became the first company in the world to commission a diesel-electric snow groomer, the "PistenBully 600 E+" from Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG. The plan is to purchase only diesel-electric snow groomers and thus gradually convert the fleet. The technology of the drive makes it possible not only to reduce emissions of NOx and CO2, but also to cut fuel consumption and thus operating costs by 20%. A highly gratifying side effect is that 99% fewer soot particles are emitted into the air.
Keeping CO2 emissions as low as possible is a major concern of Engadin St. Moritz Mountains. Since the most important drivers of CO2 emissions in mountain railroads are primarily the combustion of heating oil and diesel (study by grischconsulta dated August 22, 2011), Engadin St. Moritz Mountains is starting precisely there:
In 2012, the first diesel-electric piste machine, the PistenBully 600 E+, was put into operation.
With the conversion at Muottas Muragl, the previous annual requirement of approximately 40,000 liters of heating oil and the household and operating electricity of 36,600 kWh/a could be replaced 100% by solar energy. Thus the CO2 emission could be reduced by 144 tons per year. This corresponds to an average passenger car (diesel/gasoline mix, 8.8L/100km, passenger occupancy 1.6) traveling 1,080,000km, i.e. circling the earth 27 times.
The first solar thermal system was put into operation on Marguns as early as 1981. In 1995, this had to make way for the construction of the new Marguns-Trais Fluors chairlift - the first 6-seater chairlift in Switzerland.
A solar thermal system was already installed in 1991 during the construction of the Glünetta restaurant.
In 2005, the restaurant building on Marguns was thermally renovated in order to reduce heating oil consumption.
The measures described above show that Engadin St. Moritz Mountains prefers to actually prevent emissions in its own company instead of merely "compensating" with payments.
A ski day in the Engadin corresponds to an average CO2 emission of around 7.5 kg CO2 per guest. The emission corresponds to an average passenger car traveling 56km (diesel/gasoline mix, 8.8L/100km, passenger occupancy 1.6).