[Translate to EN:] Pistenraupen in action

10.01.2020 | Living in Kitzbühel

Ride with the snowcat

Schneebedeckter Gipfel

The measurement of snow accumulation

For several years, a snow depth measurement has been in use in all snow groomers. This ensures an accurate measurable snow accumulation, so that one can start the earliest possible skiing operation with less snow. Only as much snow is produced by the snow cannons as is really needed.


A childhood dream come true

It took me a long time to fulfill this wish. Full of awe, I got on. And already it goes downhill in the direction of Ehrenbachgraben. The first thing Gerhard does is switch on the warning lights. Very IMPORTANT! A note for all, here is just prepared the slope, it is absolutely forbidden to drive!!!! 

The winch pulls up to 4.5 tons, this serves as a climbing aid. Wouw, quite steep downhill, but this was only the beginning, as Gerhard told me smiling. A few ski slopes further, it was clear to me why, it goes even steeper! 

Pistenraupe beim Präparieren

Freshly prepared slope

After the forest slope is now also prepared Gerhard kindly brings me back to the mountain station Hahnenkamm. Many thanks for the great experience. I will in the future with more reverence wedeln over the freshly prepared slopes, after I now know how lovingly these are maintained. Thanks to Gerhard and his colleagues for the great effort!

Heroes of the night on the mountain

Riding on a snow cat for once in your life - that's an experience that won't be forgotten in a hurry. Find out here what a day on the snow cat can look like.


The path to becoming a snow groomer driver

Gerhard applied for a job at Bergbahn Kitzbühel many years ago and after a few rides in pairs and intensive training, he took over "his" snow groomer. Since then, he always substitutes for the driver who is free at the moment.

Skifahrer im Sessellift

Rest during the day

During the day, the ski operation is no snow groomer on the road, this would be too dangerous with the many winter sports enthusiasts on the ski slopes. I now saw for myself how elaborately and sensitively the slopes are prepared here at night.

Pistenraupe von Innen

Snow groomer drivers know their way around

Gerhard is already in his 15th winter season as a snow groomer driver at Bergbahn Kitzbühel on the Hahnenkamm. He maintains the ski slopes for the winter sports enthusiasts. The drivers are on the road for 4 days at a time and then have 2 days off. This goes on from the beginning of the winter season until the end of the season. I'm sure Gerhard knows every hill and slope in the ski area like the back of his hand. Certainly an advantage in the dark.

It was very exciting to be allowed to ski here. The slopes seem steeper in the snowcat than when you ski down the slope yourself.

The light for the now closed slope can be seen from far away and is a sign that driving is absolutely prohibited here! Via radio all drivers are connected with each other, everyone knows where the other drivers are at the moment.


Mann fährt Pistenraupe

The snow groomer

  • The cost and purchase is between 350 and 450 thousand euros per snow groomer.
  • With a weight of 12.5 tons, a snow groomer has 430 to 520 horsepower.
  • The snow groomer is fueled with diesel. Around 300 liters fit into the tank, of which 35 liters are used in one hour.
  • The mountain railroad has 30 snowcats that are in operation every day.
  • When fresh snow falls, the service starts around 04:30 in the morning. Normally, a shift goes from 15:00 to 01:00 at night.
  • For a perfect preperation the caterpillar needs a 30cm snow cover.
  • The speed of the snow groomer depends on the slope and ground conditions, but is usually between 10 and 20 km/h.
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