A look behind the scenes - discover our ski area from a new perspective.
Find out interesting background information about our mountain railway company. Our employees will give you an insight into their varied activities and tasks.
- Slopes & rescue service
- Hannigalp cable car
- Snowmaking system
- Snow groomers
- Mountain gastronomy
- HR & Strategy
How much water is needed for snowmaking in the ski area? What does the daily routine of our piste rescue team look like? How does technical snowmaking work? How many lifts does Bergbahnen Grächen operate? What criteria are used to categorise the pistes?
We will answer these questions and many more at the open door day.
Slopes - For your perfect ski adventure up & down
How do you orientate yourself in our ski area? Find out how the different slopes are classified and categorised.
44 kilometres of piste adventure - that's what awaits you in the Grächen ski area. The coloured markings on both sides of the pistes indicate the level of difficulty and are based on the average steepness of the entire piste. The Swiss Cableways Association provides clear instructions on the marking of the pistes. BLUE = easy: up to 15° gradient. RED = medium: up to 25° gradient. BLACK = difficult: all slopes with a gradient of more than 25°. YELLOW = variant: not groomed and not controlled. BLACK-YELLOW = danger or obstacle. Our pistes are marked with 30 cm high luminous colours on the left-hand side of the piste and 80 cm high on the right-hand side. Additional dangers are signposted, e.g. "crossing". Compliance with the laws and regulations is strictly monitored and certified accordingly.
Rescue service - rapid assistance in the ski area
Five professional rescue teams do their best every day and are out on the slopes in all weathers. The rescue team checks the slopes early in the morning to ensure daily safety. They are quickly on the scene in the event of an accident and provide first aid.
To be part of our rescue team, you need to be a very good skier and have completed various courses. In addition to learning and consolidating first aid skills, the training also includes crevasse rescue, avalanche awareness and avalanche blasting. Sound training can save lives. The rescuers secure the accident site, provide first aid and transport the casualties by rescue sled or, in serious cases, call the helicopter.
Hannigalp cable car - The gondola that takes you to the ski area.
Five ski lifts, three chairlifts and one gondola lift operate in our ski area. The Hannigalp cable car is in operation in winter and summer.
Our oldest lift was built in 1966. The newest lift (Furggen I) went into operation in 2020. The Seetalhorn chairlift covers the longest distance at 2347 metres. Of all the lifts, the Hannigalpbahn is in operation the longest, with around 2550 operating hours per year. The energy requirement is 550,000 kWh. For this you could toast 73,150,000 slices of bread or iron 8,250,000 shirts. At full capacity utilisation, 1800 people/h can be transported to Hannigalp. At night, the gondolas are parked in the mountain station on four tracks. Any maintenance work is carried out in our small workshop.
Hannigalp cable car - past and present
Did you know that the first cable car went up to Hannigalp in 1958? The chairlift was built by Giavonola from Monthey and was replaced over the years by two-seater gondolas. This marked the beginning of Grächen's development as a winter holiday destination.
Shortly before Christmas, scheduled operation began with a capacity of 115 passengers per hour. After initial scepticism, the gondola operation became established. By 1965, capacity had increased to 220 people and by 1975, 380 people could be transported to Hannigalp every hour. The first day ticket was offered in the 1965/66 winter season and cost CHF 20. Adjusted for inflation, the current value is CHF 79.
Hannigalp cable car
• Valley station: 1621 metres above sea level
• Mountain station: 2120 metres above sea level.
• Year of construction: 2011
• Brand: Garaventa
• Capacity: 1800 persons/h
• Number of gondolas: 55, including 10 fairytale gondolas
• max. 8 persons per gondola
• max. speed: 6 m/s
Snowmaking system - the indispensable snow supplier
In addition to the most important component "water", a snowmaking system also needs pumps, compressors, air and power supply lines.
In the 1987/88 season, the pistes were covered with snow for the first time. When there is not enough precipitation, propeller guns and snow lances help us to produce snow. The angled aluminium pipe, which is characteristic of snow lances, is equipped with water and air nozzles at the tip. The water sprayed out is under very high pressure, the air expands and cools down. The resulting snow crystals sink slowly onto the piste. Snow lances have low energy consumption, are low-maintenance, low-wear and low-noise, but are more susceptible to wind. The efficiency of a snowmaking system decreases as the temperature rises.
27 snow cannons and 100 snow lances
The properties of the snow produced depend largely on the shape of the snow crystals, the temperature and the liquid water content.
If the humidity is low, snowmaking only works through evaporative cooling, even at temperatures just above 0 °C. The drier the ambient air, the better the cooling process. If snowmaking is considered from an economic point of view, a relative wet bulb temperature of -4.5 to -10 °C is best. The technically produced snow is more heat-resistant, has a higher density and melts more slowly than natural snow. Depending on the temperature, around 6 kWh of energy and 1 m3 of water are required to produce 2.5 m3 of snow. The construction of a new technical snowmaking system costs around CHF 1.2 million per kilometre.
• 390'000 L/h for 100 % of the area
• 1'000'000 Bathtubs
• 330'000 - 350'000 m3 snow
• 750'000 kWh
• Cannon: 40 amps/lance 5 amps
Snow groomer - For the best skiing experience on the slopes
Did you know that the first snow groomer was purchased back in 1967? There are currently eight vehicles in use.
Our fleet comprises three winch vehicles, four solo snow groomers and one small snow groomer. At the end of the piste, the powerful snow groomers use their blade to push the snow that skiers have transported downhill during the day back up the slope evenly and prepare the white carpet for the next day. The caterpillar itself has a certain compacting effect. However, the tiller is particularly important. It reaches up to 10 cm deep into the snow, transforming lumps of ice and even icy surfaces back into fine powder. At the end, plates press everything down again to create a nice, grippy, resistant slope. Speed, tilling depth and contact pressure must be perfectly harmonised. The team is on duty for you for around nine hours/night.
Powerful motors on tour
The professional skills of our employees combined with efficiency and modern technology enable us to prepare the best possible slopes.
The ideal time for grooming is just before the snow freezes. If the snow is groomed too early, the water reaches the surface and the slope becomes icy. If the snow is groomed when it is already frozen through, the grains are too coarse. The snow cannot sinter easily. We start preparing the slope as soon as it gets dark, so that the slope can rest for around eight hours to ensure excellent quality. Our 55-hectare ski area is the equivalent of around 77 football pitches. Once the winter season is over, the caterpillars are dismantled and all snow groomers undergo an intensive service.
One snow groomer
• CHF 200'000 per season
• CHF 500'000 acquisition costs
• 1000 working hours/season
• Weight: between 5 - 12 tonnes
• Major overhauls are due after 3000, 6000 and 9000 hours
Mountain gastronomy - Restaurants and bars on the Hannigalp
The challenges of a diverse mountain gastronomy are high: arduous delivery routes, small kitchens, seasonal workers who have to get to know the business anew.
All gastronomic goods are transported to the mountain station by the Hannigalp cable car. From there, they are distributed to the various establishments by snow groomer or ski lift. The range of dishes on offer will be tailored to the various needs of the customers. In addition to tried and tested classics such as fondue, cheese slices and Valais platters, our gastronomy team tries to implement new culinary trends on the mountain. Is spaghetti actually ready earlier on the mountain? No. While the boiling temperature of water at sea level is 100 °C, it boils at around 93 °C on the Hannigalp. However, the water doesn't get any hotter, it just evaporates. This means the spaghetti takes longer to cook. "Rule of thumb": The boiling point drops by 1 °C for every 300 metres of altitude.
Party and chill out, eat and enjoy, celebrate and meet
Our mountain gastronomy offers a functional variety. In addition to seasonal stops for food, drink and enjoyment, we also host meetings and family celebrations.
If you are planning a conference, company celebration, a free wedding ceremony with festivities or a birthday, then take a look at our Matterhornsaal. Depending on the seating arrangement, we can cater for around 150 guests. For an aperitif, you can gather on the sun terrace with its breathtaking views and get your time together off to the best possible start. Exclusive hire of the Hannighüsli or the Stafelbar is also possible, excellent service included.
• Beer bottles: 11'766
• Raclette cheese: 360 kg
• Fondue cheese: 435 kg
• French fries: 12'000 kg
Human Resources - Service and support
TUG is the largest employer in Grächen. During the winter season, around 140 employees give their best in Grächen and ensure "Better Holidays".
We employ 44 annual employees and around 100 seasonal workers in winter. Together, they work around 104,832 hours during the winter season and 168'896 hours over the year as a whole to ensure operations run smoothly. TUG offers a wide range of interesting and varied jobs. We consistently demand and promote the personal responsibility of our employees. Would you like to become part of our dynamic team? We are always on the lookout for motivated employees. Get in touch with us.
Strategy, planning and implementation
Time" is a valuable commodity in our lives. Grächen is the perfect destination - compact and comfortable, warm and versatile.
We want to offer our guests the best holiday experience and help them return to their everyday lives feeling relaxed. With well and professionally designed, high-quality products and events, attention to detail, warmth and friendliness, we lay the foundations for relaxation and therefore better holidays. The focus is on maximising the comfort factor: all processes, products and events, staging and activities are designed to make the holiday experience as smooth and pleasant as possible.
Make the most of your time with us.
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