Our projects for environmentally friendly snow sports on Corviglia.
Sustainable mountain experience
We always strive to become even better in the areas 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, the implementation of Switzerland's first natural reservoir in 2015. Another important milestone is already in the pipeline for 2025, when the next natural reservoir, Lej Nair Pitschen, will be built.
New Fuel for our Vehicles, Buildings and Restaurants - a further Contribution to Reducing CO2 Emissions while Skiing
Since the winter season 2022/23, all diesel vehicles in the ski resorts, such as construction, snow grooming and service vehicles run on the new GTL (Gas-to-Liquids) Alpine Fuel. Additionally all buildings and restaurants are 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 improve in the areas of sustainability. To really make a difference, it is important to take into account environmental, economic and social manifestations. 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 resort.
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 recognised by the federal government, the cantons and partners in the economy.
The most Sustainable World Championship in St. Moritz
The slope management concept ensured improved resource utilisation 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 slope 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 a commitment 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 optimisation. 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 optimisation of energy efficiency. The target agreement has been recognised by the federal government, the cantons and partners in the economy.
Respect in Dealing with the Environment
Nature is the employer of every mountain railway. It is therefore important to use and protect the environment as carefully as possible. Mountain railway companies of Grisons operate on less than 0.7 percent of the region's landmass, of which 50% is protected (source: ARE GR, 2009), generating a turnover of around 370 million Swiss francs per year. Because only an intact landscape is a secure foundation for a provider of snow sports and mountain experiences. Engadin St. Moritz Mountains is therefore responsible for both the respectful use of available resources and the use of greener working methods. Engadin St. Moritz Mountains continuously invests in new technologies, whereby the measures often go far beyond the legal requirements.
With the aim of reducing energy consumption required for snowmaking, a reservoir was realised in the Corviglia region at around 2500 metres above sea level. Compared to today, the Lej Alv with 450'000 m3 water reservoir, can save 2500 MWh per lake filling.
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 time high season arrives. 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 comparable to that 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 crystallisation. No water is consumed. The water is merely transformed into a different aggregate state. During spring, the snow turns back into water as a result of snowmelt.
Already early on, it was understood how important it is to treat nature with respect in a way that is acceptable for all species. Engadin St. Moritz Mountains has been using ecological construction monitoring since 1999. Great importance was attached to this even though, at that time, construction monitoring was not yet mandatory. Today, this is considered standard.
The 2003 Alpine World Ski Championships serves as a good example of this. The interventions of the 2003 World Championships are less common than of those of the 1974 World Championships. Following construction work, the focus shifts on recultivation where the lands' regreening has been monitored and ensured for years. Interventions in nature are compensated for by removing faulty constructions of the past, demolishing old facilities or buildings, or renaturalising built-up landscapes and watercourses.
Public Transport Included in Multi-Day Season Tickets
Engadin St. Moritz Mountains recognised the importance of optimal transport management at an early stage and was one of the main initiators of the sports bus in the valley over 20 years ago. From a current perspective, the innovative choice made back then to transfer guests from private to public transport has made a significant contribution to minimising 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, accessibility by public transport, the mobility offered on site and the quality of information for car-free tourists were examined. For this Engadin St. Moritz received 3rd place in the ranking.
Even today, public transport is included in the multi-day mountain railway pass. Engadin St. Moritz Mountains thus creates an incentive for guests to make greater use of public transport.
As early as 1996, Engadin St. Moritz Mountains ordered all its snow groomers exclusively with biodegradable hydraulic oil. It was one of the first mountain railways 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-sulphur winter diesel. Despite the fact that it resulted in an additional price of 6 cents per litre for a consumption of approx. 200'000 litres/year (+ CHF 12'000 pa).
In 2006, Engadin St. Moritz Mountains became the first mountain railway company in the world to use diesel particle filters on large snow groomers (over 4 m wide). At the beginning, it was a new vehicle which was originally equipped with a particle filter and an existing vehicle in which the particle filter was retrofitted. Today, practically the entire fleet of 24 vehicles is equipped with a particle filter.
On the 6th of December 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. Engadin St. Moritz Mountains plans on purchasing only diesel-electric snow groomers in the future and therefore gradually converting the fleet. The drive technology not only makes it possible to reduce NOx and CO2 emissions, but also to lower fuel consumption and thus operating costs by 20% - all while 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 railways are primarily the combustion of heating oil and diesel (study by grischconsulta dated August 22, 2011), Engadin St. Moritz Mountains is precisely addressing this issue:
In 2012, the first diesel-electric snow groomer, 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 by 100% 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 1'080'000 km, 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 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).