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The Säntis is back

A year and a half ago, an avalanche damaged part of the Schwägalp restaurant and a pillar supporting the cable car station run by Säntis Schwebebahn AG. The restaurant and cable car suffered another interruption of business this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Marketing and Sales Manager Andreas Marty explains the impact that these incidents have had on Säntis Schwebebahn AG.

5 June 2020, text: Natascha Fabian and Olena Faes, photo: Helvetia

Mr Marty, what happened exactly when the avalanche struck?

There were actually two avalanches, one right after the other. The first one struck part of the Schwägalp building – including a meeting room and two sections of the restaurant. A second avalanche damaged one of the pillars supporting the Schwebebahn cable car station.

What do you recall about the incident?

I had just finished work and was on my way home when the avalanche occurred. A staff member contacted me shortly afterwards. I turned around and went straight back, of course. The rescue teams were already on-site. I was happy to learn that no one had been injured.

What was the plan after the avalanche struck?

We and our partners – our suppliers and Helvetia, as our insurance company – all had the same goal: to get the business up and running again as quickly as possible. Fortunately, we were able to resume operations in the restaurant just a few days later. Delivery of the special windows and the repair work took the greatest amount of time. But the process was clear: we wanted to restore everything – with the exception of a few improvements – to the way it was before the accident.

The work to repair the pillar took a bit longer, of course. The company that built it arrived quickly and immediately arranged the necessary repair work. As our professionals worked non-stop right from the start, we were able to resume operations just in time for the peak summer season. Temporary repairs were made to the pillar, which is now just as secure as it was before.

How did you use the time while business was interrupted?

We continued to carry out renovation work at the summit. A number of visitors told us that they missed the Säntis. So we were all the more pleased to be able to present our guests with a new restaurant and the first stage of the «Säntis – the Weather Mountain» themed experience at the summit just in time for the peak season and resumption of operations.

After suffering an avalanche last year, this year you have had to deal with the coronavirus. What’s changed for you over the last several months?

It’s been an extraordinary time, an absolutely exceptional situation. The atmosphere has been unreal, both at the Schwägalp and on the Säntis. We resumed operations at the Schwägalp on 11 May, with some restrictions, and we’re looking forward to restarting things at the summit of the Säntis as well.

The cable car will begin transporting guests to the Säntis again from 6 June. How have you prepared?

The most important thing, of course, continues to be the safety and health of our guests and employees. To this end, we have developed a safety plan. And thanks to the cable car’s flexible travel times, transporting a reduced number of guests is no problem.
We are particularly pleased to be able to present a new highlight to our guests as we reopen the Säntis cable car. We have used the time to build the second stage of the «Säntis – the Weather Mountain» themed experience. During their next visit, guests will be able to enjoy a new feature, «Säntis – a world of ice».