No, this isn't a scifi flick. One of Europe's largest resorts, Davos-Klosters, is to launch a lift which measures passenger height by means of... a laser!
Since 2014, when the Klosters-Madrisa Bergbahnen company was taken over by a swiss investors' group, the Madrisa resort has been due for expansion. The plan has since been implemented and new investments include a new lift, a self-service restaurant, expansion of snowmaking infrastructure, ski stands and many others. Dubbed "Enjoy the moment", this plan comprises projects worth 25 mln CHF (11,5 mln USD). Works are planned up to 2015, but administrative matters and permits have taken a whole year themselves already.
The centerpiece of this new modernization is the new "Schaffürggli" lift from Doppelmayr-Garaventa. It is 1816 metres long, and skiers clear its 510m height difference in just 5 minutes. It is the first swiss lift to feature type CS 10B cabins with snazzy anthracite-orange seats suited to transport disabled people. The entry/exit system automatically detects skier height and/or disability and can raise the entrance platform by 10cm to aid mobility. In addition, the new cabins offer increased safety by automatically closing them and monitoring their incorrect use. Thanks to the new system the cabin can carry up to 5 children over 90cm tall - which previously required an adult's company.
Since the seats are detachable, the lift can be adjusted based on use, addressing environmental concerns. In winter the new lift will carry 2600 persons per hour by means of 98 cabins moving at 5 m/s. Come summer, the lift slows down to 3 m/s, using 49 cabins offering a 800 persons/hour throughput. The lift itself cost 11 mln CHF.
The "Madrisa Alp" restaurant will open in the 2016/2017 season, next to the lift's upper platform. Inside, up to 600 people can rest without having to worry about their children, which have a special indoor area prepared to be able to play in safety even in bad weather. The restaurant also boasts a conference room and ski shop and rental facilities.
In winter, the "Madrisa Land" adventure park, opened in 2009, offers conveyors for learning how to ski. In summer, however, it becomes a real treat. A space by the "Öpfelsee" lake has been set aside for various occasions - concerts, parties and even weddings - holding 1500 seats. Thanks to this, Madrisa manages to remain an attractive leisure destination all year round.
Our warmest thanks to Angela Capeder of Klosters-Madrisa Bergbahnen AG for her help in the making of this article.