After a stressful two weeks at the Glacier 3000 ski resort near Les Diablerets, Switzerland, not only is the Glacier 3000 cable car back in operation, but the resort also was blessed with fresh snowfalls. In late July this year the Glacier 3000 cable car came to an unexpected halt, forcing all 270 tourists onboard to be evacuated by helicopter.
Specialists from ABB Group and the company Frey AG determined that the breakdown had been caused by the cable car’s inverter, which was installed in the electrical cabinet, and which links the transformer to the cable car engine. The part was replaced during the night of July 20, 2023, and the cable car was ready to open to the public the next morning, however the same fault occurred again in the early morning during a trial run and the cable car was closed for an extensive investigation.
After 15 days of repairs and close consultation with specialists from the manufacturing company, service company and lift operator, the trial runs on August 3 and 4, 2023, were successful and the resort announced that the cable car would resume operations from Saturday, August 5, 2023. The specialists ran more than 50 test runs and all were uneventful and the problem was finally deemed as resolved.
This week Monday, August 7, 2023, the ski resort saw 30cm (12 inches) of snowfall, which turned the all-year attraction into a stunning sight in time for the re-opening.
The resort Glacier 3000 is 20 minutes from the famous ski resort Gstaad, and 40 minutes from Monetreux. The resort is owned by Gstaad local Marcel Bach and the billionaires Bernie Ecclestone and Jean-Claude Mimran. The billionaire trio bought Glacier 3000 in 2005 and successfully turned a bankrupt ski area into a year-round mountain playground. The group invested heavily into the infrastructure, adding many attractions, like a peak-to-peak suspension bridge, an ice cave, tobogganing, and dog sledding. Through these measures, they managed to give the resort a much-needed boost and extended the resort’s season to year-round operations.
Most recently, the Glacier 3000 resort opened a new double black diamond run in the 22/23 season, which features one of the steepest runs in the Alps with a 46° gradient. The run is accessed via a 870ft (265m) tunnel and is 1.875 miles (3km) long.
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The resort has been having a tough year after below-average snowfall during the 22/23 season and a fire at the top station of the Glacier 3000 cable car last September, which saw the burning of the Botta restaurant to the ground. The restaurant was situated at 9,747ft (2,971m) on the top two floors of the cable car station. It is now being rebuilt with the help of the original architect, Mario Botta, who also designed the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, NC.
The Glacier 3000 cable car operations had resumed in November 2022. It is currently unclear if the September 2022 fire caused the failure of the inverter.
The resort’s CEO Bernhard Tschannen estimates that the two weeks of repair cost them more than CHF 500,000 in revenues but thankfully the resort is sufficiently insured for these kinds of incidents.