The history of the Silvrettaseilbahn AG
When on 18 April 1961, 73 partners formed the Silvrettaseilbahn AG, it gave birth to a rapid success story. Only seven days after the founding meeting in Hotel Post in Ischgl , the first contracts for the construction of the cable cars were placed. With a share capital of what was then 6,671,000 Austrian schilling (484,400 Euro) a project was initiated that would change the region forever.
The first lift ride up the Idalp
The cable car is erected as fast as possible on what was agricultural production land at the time. And this on the Idalp, where tourism only knew ski touring to Alpine lodges until then. On 15 December 1963, the Silvrettabahn was put in operation and on 21 December the Idjochlift. The very first paying passenger, Ulm native Hans Simmer, had an "unforgettable day" in fantastic weather and on deserted slopes.
More than a million passengers in the first ten years.
The million mark for passengers transported was reached already in 1970. With the Höllbodenbahn (1983), Bodenalpbahn (1987) and the Idjochbahn lifts (1988), capacity was increased in the 80s once more – and in1989 the ten million mark was broken as well. Only the sever winter of 1999 with its many avalanches brought by a slump in numbers. But the Silvrettabahn has long recovered from this, with currently around 17 million passengers a year.
Extension of the ski area all the way to Switzerland
While in the valley the lift at Hotel Edelweiß was demolished and replaced with the practice lift in Mathon, the Idjoch, which until 1963 had been accessible only to ski tourers, was increasingly better developed. In the region of Höllkar and Palinkopf, expansion took place westwards in the 1070s. Lower Fimbatal valley was also opened up with a lift in 1975. And with the investment in Swiss Samnaun AG, expansion even took place towards the neighbours in the south in 1977 – the beginning of a very successful cooperation to this day.
The Pardatschgratbahn Cable Car – a class to its own
The feeder lifts have also proved very popular since the first Pardatschgratbahn cable car began operating in 1974. Since 2014, the new 3-S Pardatschgratbahn cable car leads up to the Pardatschgrat ridge without an intermediate terminus. The 3-cable gondola lift covers some 1,251 metres difference in altitude, the highest altitude difference of any 3-cable gondola lift in the world.
The Silvrettaseilbahn AG as an employer
Since the very first lift operation, the 16 employees from the first business year have now multiplied several times to over 500. The accommodation provided to them has also continuously risen to now 271 beds. This makes the Silvrettaseilbahn AG one of the largest and most important employers in the region.
A major development on all levels: ticket clippers became "free motion readers", a small kiosk an entire chain of panorama restaurants. In the course of all this, the balance sheet always remained positive. Major investments in the lift and infrastructure could be made at regular intervals.