History Bergbahnen Wagrain

„…and lots of snow...

“... during the long winter. That’s the time when the young lads go through an amazing transformation. They become artistic demi-gods, showing foreign guests how to do what they already could do as small children, namely ski.” (Karl Heinrich Waggerl, from „Wagrain Picture Book“)

How it all began...

Wagrain’s pioneer time with tourists began with the disastrous market square fire in 1927. The whole village very nearly became a victim of the huge fire – and poverty spread. But the Wagrainers played their most important trump card during this time : the typical Waggerl mentality : “Something will turn up.”  

In 1928 the Winter Sports Association of Wagrain was set up along with the tourist office in Wagrain.
Karl Heinrich Waggerl was responsible for marketing and with his skilful descriptions he succeeded in attracting some guests. 

In the 30s, ski races were held from Wagrainerhaus right down into the market square in Wagrain. The winner was quite simply the quickest person who made it, down whatever route he chose, into the village. The first mountain accommodation for skiers was the Kogelalm. The Wagrainerhaus opened in 1931, and this was, for those times, a very modern building – it even had central heating! Along with the ever-rising number of winter tourists, it was also used by the Austrian national ski team with  Bubi Bradl for their training for the 1936 Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

The 1000 Mark barrier limited the development of tourism in Wagrain considerably, but attempts were made to overcome this dilemma with international marketing. Despite everything there were good potential earnings for locals in the tourist branch. Carrying luggage up to the Wagrainerhaus was lucrative work for strong young men for example!

Tourism took second place during the Second World War, of course, but then slowly picked up again.  
After the war a general spirit of optimism broke out all around. The birth of the ski lift company was in 1947 with the setting up of the Berglift Wagrain Ges.m.b.H (Wagrain Mountain Lift Ltd.). The first lift, the „Berglift“ from Kirchboden to Nazbauer, had wooden pylons and a capacity of 180 people per hour. It was opened on 20 February 1949.

And up it goes…

Further investments followed and in the late 50s the Höllenstein Lift Association was founded and the Höllenstein lift on the Grafenberg was built.

In 1963, after Rupert Baumann took over the management of the Berglifte GmbH, a real development boom began. With the construction of the single chairlift to Hahnbalzköpfels and the Mulde lift, the lift revolution had begun!

The seal for the future was set with the fusion of Berglift GmbH and Grießkarecklift AG, and then when Grießkarecklift AG and Höllensteinlift merged to become Bergbahnen AG. For Christmas 1971 the double chairlift and the drag lift on the Grafenberg were opened. The first interconnected ski area in Salzburg province – together with Flachau – came into being in 1973. This concept was made even more attractive with the construction of the Grießkareck double chairlift.

The Sonntagskogel and Hachau lifts led to the expansion of the Grafenberg ski area which, combined with new lifts in St. Johann, also enabled these two ski areas to be connected. Thus the three areas -   Flachau, Wagrain and St. Johann – became Austria’s first 3-valley interconnected ski area in 1978.

The Tauern Motorway, the guaranteed snow, and the long downhill runs all resulted in more guests and in 1979 the Wagrainer-Höhe lifts were built. A double chairlift went up from the valley floor, and from Daarmoos guests could get on the then longest 3-person chairlift in Austria. 
 

The following year, Bergbahn AG Wagrain began its Grafenberg Cable Car Project, which was finally realised 5 yearslater. A further milestone was set in 1988 with the establishment of the joint price and marketing grouping „Salzburger Sportwelt Amadé”. The Sportwelt Amadé consists of the ski resorts Altenmarkt/Zauchensee, Eben, Filzmoos, Flachau, Kleinarl, Radstadt, St. Johann and Wagrain. In the same year the second gondola was built in Wagrain, the Grießkareck II gondola, and the technical reformation of the ski area could begin.

The era of artificial snow is unstoppable.

Since 1990 Bergbahnen AG Wagrain have continually invested in modern snow making facilities in order to ensure unlimited skiing.   

1990/91

6.5 km snow hoses with top and middle pump stations, plus 12 snow cannons were installed. 

1992

The office building at the bottom station of the Grafenberg was built.

1993

The first part of the Grießkareck lift was built – the cabins were rebuilt and it was renamed the „Flying Mozart“.

1996

The Wagrainer Mulde ski area was updated and the connecting lift „Kogelalm“ and the  4-person chairlift „Top Liner“ up to the highest point of the ski area at 2000m were rebuilt. 

1996

The „Ruperti Lake“ was built, a pleasant excursion in summer and a water reservoir for snow making in winter.

1999

The Wagrainer Höhe lifts were technically renovated and the chairlift became an 8-person gondola.   

Mergers and modernisation

2001

The Grafenberg drag lifts were replaced by the Grafenberg Express, a 6-person chairlift.  

2001/02

Firstseason in the Amadé linked ski system.

2002

The Sonntagskogel drag lifts I und II were replaced by a 6-person and a 4-person chairlift.  

2002

Expansion of snow making equipment and construction of Daarmoos Lake, a reservoir by the middle station of the Rote 8er gondola. 

2003/04

 1st season of Kids‘ Ski World Wagrain.  

2004

Construction of a reservoir on the Grafenberg, and extension of snow hoses for lines of snow making equipment along the piste.  

2005

Construction of avalanche barriers in Sonntagskogel area, improvement of the steep downhill run by Kogelalm.

2006

 

2007

In 2007 Bergbahnen AG Wagrain set new standards of comfort : heated seating was installed on all 6-person chairlifts and the Hachau drag lifts were replaced with an automatic 6-person chairlift.   
WAGRAINi's Grafenberg and the Bike Park Wagrain opened.

2008

A second pump station was installed at Daarmoos Lake – the Grafenberg lift gondolas were completely renovated. 

2009

The Grafenberg Express I gondola was built as a support system for the existing Grafenberg lift. The Grafenberg buildings were rebuilt, including a new service centre.
The Kid’s Ski World became WAGRAINi's Winterworld. The Kids' Beginners Park was set up for the first time.
 

2010

 

 

2012/13

New piste guide system set up and Grafenberg car park renovated. Safety measures installed on the new "Giftabfahrt" (“Poison Run”) on Grießenkareck.

G-LINK Wagrain was built. Connecting cable car between the two mountains Grießenkareck and Grafenberg. www.g-link.at

2016 Completion pont reservoir & extending snow hoses at Topliner Mulde

 

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