This winter, the resort of Laax in Switzerland is introducing the world’s first ski lift that can be summoned ‘on demand’.
The new CHF80 million lift addresses the inherent inefficiency of traditional gondola that sees cabins continually rotate regardless of whether they have any occupants. The ‘FlemXpress’ will send cabins only on request.
Energy use will be reduced by 50%
The route of the gondola is T-shaped, starting in Flims at 1095m and ascending to Segnes at 2100m. At this point, the lift will branch to the left to Nagens Sura, and to the right to the Cassons freeride zone. Passengers will select their destination by pressing a button.
“With a conventional gondola lift, around 90% of cabins travel empty. With the FlemXpress, at least one person will be in the cabin, and the gondola goes wherever you want it to.” Roland Bartholet, CEO, Bartholet Maschinenbau
The first two stages from Flims will open this winter, followed by the full route next year. The company claims the system will reduce energy use by 50% in comparison with the previous chairlifts.