Replacement of Wixi chairlift by 6-seater facility in 2012
The Wixi chairlift was built in 1965 as a 2-seater fixed-grip chairlift with a carrying capacity of 700 persons/hour. In 1992, it was updated to a 2-seater coupling chairlift with a carrying capacity of 1,400 persons/hour. The chairlift provides access to the sunny and attractive pistes around the Lauberhorn and transports around 450,000 snow-sport fans per season. Capacity utilization is around 40%, which in the region is only exceeded by the Männlichen and Oberjoch chairlifts. The concession and operating licence for the system is valid until 31 March 2012 and it is intended to apply for an an extension until the end of the 2011/2012 season.
Today's chairlift consists mainly of construction elements dating from 1965: station buildings, mast foundations, masts (without yokes and roller batteries). The aerial cableway technology also no longer fulfils the specifications for roll geometry (lack of overhanging guide discs). As a result of the accident on the Fallboden chairlift, the FOT informed us that an extension of the concession and operating licence in 2012 was unlikely. A replacement of this important facility is therefore essential for technical reasons.
The Wixi chairlift has gained in importance through the snow-making facilities. Today, the sunny, south-facing pistes are snow-sure and have become considerably more attractive thanks to better preparation. In contrast, the Lauberhorn chairlift, which accesses the same pistes, has lost its attraction because of the lack of guaranteed snow (reduction of 13% in the top winter 08/09).
The new Eigernordwand chairlift has also changed guest flow in the Kleine Scheidegg area: thanks to the new chairlift, the bottleneck at Arvengarten has largely disappeared and been transferred to Wixi. The new chairlift with hood provides the option of easily avoiding the Lauberhorn chairlift via the snow-sure pistes at Eigergletscher. Another shift of guests away from the Lauberhorn chairlift to the new Eigernordwand and Wixi chairlifts is evident. During the 2009/2010 season, the Wixi chairlift was the only lift in the entire Jungfrau Region to report increased frequencies (+22% above previous season), while other facilities had average reductions of 2 – 20%. The Wixi and Fallboden chairlifts will be unable to cope with the additional pressure, especially during February and March. Waiting times must be expected. A replacement of the system also makes sense for economic reasons.