Goodbye ski lift

Goodbye ski lift

Ski lifts at lower altitudes are increasingly struggling with winters with little snow - and some are facing closure. The former Barga - Parsenn ski lift shares a similar fate; a story of bad speculation and the question of whether ski lifts make sense everywhere.

In 1964, Parsenn-Fondei AG and lift builder Skima launched the ambitious project to build a ski lift to replace the long ascent from Parsenn via Barga/Fondei to Fideris. However, the first winter of operation in 1964/65 was already poor in snow and skiers were rarely able to ski down to Fideris after a few repeat runs, as originally planned. This kept guests away, as they either had to walk to Fideris or up through the snow towards Parsenn. The solution to the problem: another lift is to be built to take guests back to Parsenn. However, the lift builder Skima refuses to build it, as Parsenn-Fondei AG still owes it money.

Without hesitation, Skilift Barga-Parsenn AG is founded. It commissions Skima employee Theodor Brunner - a well-known ski lift pioneer - to build the lift. Skima sees this as a breach of contract and sues. Nevertheless, Theodor Brunner (Tebru), who was then self-employed, built the second lift after several challenges.

But the skiing luck did not last long: due to a lack of tariff cooperation with the Parsennbahn, difficulties soon arose as guests were dependent on transportation to and from the lift. Bankruptcy is declared in 1967. A rescue company also fails. The operating license expired in 1981 and the ski lift ruins were only dismantled in the 1990s - since 2001, the Fondei has been a moorland conservation area - completely free of sports facilities. In the meantime, the path of gentle tourism has been chosen.

The Fondeier lift seen here in the foreground descends towards Fideris, while the Barga Parsenn lift over rough terrain can be seen in the background.

(Image: Intermezzo)

A rare photo of the Barga-Parsenn ski lift in operation. In the background is the first lift, towards Fondeien with the futuristic concrete valley station. Due to the isolated location, both run on diesel.

(Image: Intermezzo)

On the piste map from the 1960s, the two lifts are marked with the starting point Barga. The Barga Parsenn lift runs from Barga to Kreuzweg, the other in the direction of F├╝rggli. If you compare this with today's piste maps, you will see that they no longer exist.

(Image: Intermezzo)

The Fondei in winter 2023 / 2024 Source: Images provided by - Ski Forum

Operating costs of a ski resort

Part of the "Sports & Money" exhibition from 2020 to 2022 was also the question of how expensive climate change is for ski resorts - here using the example of a large ski resort (cable car company with more than CHF 25 million in total revenue). Seilbahnen Schweiz has calculated that such a resort faces daily operating costs of CHF 250,000, of which around 20 percent, i.e. CHF 43,000, is spent on providing artificial snow.

Excerpt from the special exhibition 2020-2022 "Sports & Money"

Source hader image: Intermezzo