Mobility in the resort and climate-friendly travel
We attempt to draw our guests' attention to the fact that travelling to Saalbach Hinterglemm by public transport is stress-free, inexpensive and, above all, climate-friendly.
Our guests are able to use public transport during the summer months, including the hiking bus in the entire Pinzgau region, free of charge with the JOKER CARD, which they receive at check-in at partner accommodation. This includes all connections (bus and train) of the SVV regional bus lines, the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn and the ÖBB trains on the route Taxenbach - Zell am See - Saalfelden - Leogang. An environmentally friendly and cost-free option to get to excursion destinations in and around Saalbach Hinterglemm.
During the winter season, guests with a valid lift pass can use the ski bus free of charge every day from 08:30 to 17:00. The bus operates between Lengau - Hinterglemm - Saalbach - Jausern - Viehhofen every 20 to 30 minutes. Those who would like to go to a restaurant or bar in the evening or ski on the floodlit piste can use the Nightliner bus for a fee.
At any time of the year, there is a hiking and biking trail that runs throughout the entire Glemmtal valley - from Lengau to Maishofen - that is free of road traffic.
Charging stations for E-cars will be extended on a continuous basis in the future. There are currently charging stations at the Saalbach Hinterglemm Tourist Board, at the Kohlmaisbahn in Saalbach and at some accommodation establishments.
Sustainable energy and infrastructure on the mountain
Lifts and piste construction
Photovoltaic systems on lift buildings: The photovoltaic systems currently installed on lift buildings in Saalbach Hinterglemm can generate 100,000 kWh per year. Although this currently only covers a small part of the annual consumption, we are constantly working on further expansion.
Geothermal and air heat pumps
Where technically possible, air and ground source heat pumps are used for heating lift stations and piste equipment garages, e.g., at the Westgipfel mid-station, the Hasenauer 8er valley station and the piste equipment garages at the Reiterkogel, Kohlmais and Zwölferkogel. The waste heat from the low-voltage room in the new Kohlmaisbahn mid-station is used as heating for an additional piste equipment garage in the basement. Heat recovery at the Asitz and Steinberg lifts generates 595,000 kWh per year. Both stations (mountain and valley) of the Muldenbahn 8er are heated by the pumps for the snowmaking water. In the process, the pumps heat the water, which can be used to heat the stations.
Piste grooming equipment
Valuable resources can be conserved thanks to the piste equipment throughout the Skicircus that is equipped with a snow depth measurement system. The state-of-the- art GNSS devices measure the snow depth on the pistes during grooming. This allows the snow to be distributed evenly and efficiently. GNSS technology can save both vehicle hours and the technical snow produced.
In order to proceed with the minimum possible impact on nature when moving earth on the mountains, the so-called turf is lifted from the ground with an excavator, adjustments are made to the subsoil and the turf is then carefully put back in place. This process is called "Pistenwaseln".
Wasserkreislauf und Speicherteiche
Water cycle and reservoirs: The term "artificial snow" mistakenly triggers an association with chemicals. In fact, the entire technical snowmaking system in the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn is fed from spring, rain, and meltwater and without the use of chemicals.
During snowmaking, water is not used, but only utilised!
With the melting of the snow and evaporation, 100 % of the water is returned to nature. To not burden the natural water bodies through the high extraction, especially in the winter months when the flow is low, reservoirs are created. Highly engineered reservoirs compensate for the energy consumption peaks by pumping pressure. For all constructed reservoirs, comprehensive restoration measures are implemented, such as the promotion of wildlife projects, re-forestation, conversion of forest areas in need of protection, preservation of areas in need of protection such as ponds, bog areas and biotopes, habitat improvement measures for breeding areas of protected bird species, etc. In addition, amphibians are partly protected from the effects of the water.
The reservoirs also play an essential role in flood protection. On the one hand, drainage along the piste areas specifically diverts water from the slopes into the reservoirs, which prevents the soils from softening and thus reduces the risk of landslides.
On the other hand, the reservoirs act as buffer zones. If heavy rainfall falls in a short period of time - for example, during so-called "high weather" in summer - all the water that collects on a mountain would flow downhill very quickly. This can very quickly bring water sources such as the Saalach to their limits of absorption and, in the worst case, result in flooding. Reservoirs counteract this by absorbing part of the water, keeping it on the mountain and then allowing it to flow off in a controlled manner via weirs.
There is no question about it: constructed reservoirs and the entire infrastructure, such as pumping stations, pipelines, and snowmakers, represent an encroachment on nature. Everyone who works in this field and plans and implements projects is aware of this. It is in our best interest to keep nature intact and to minimise the impact of tourism infrastructure. After all, we live in, from and with our environment, and it is a matter of our quality of life.
Before the groundbreaking ceremony can even take place, a multi-layered procedure must be completed. In addition to the complex planning with geological and water law aspects, environmental compatibility plays a major role. Independent bodies such as the Salzburg Environmental Advocate's Office play a key role and assess any effects on the local flora and fauna. If the habitat of plants or animals worthy of protection is restricted or even threatened by the planned project, the matter is shelved.
100 per cent of the total energy used for technical snowmaking is provided by regenerative energy sources, such as hydropower, wind energy, photovoltaics, or biomass. Thanks to modern snowmaking technology, energy consumption has been reduced to 1-3 kWh per m³ of snow. This is equivalent to the energy consumption of 15,000 kWh per hectare and year on an area of around 1,000 hectares in the entire Skicircus.
By comparison, only 4.2 kWh are required per skier and day. An electric car can only travel 6 km on that. A Caribbean flight (there and back) with 200 people on board requires around 1,500,000 kWh. This corresponds to 100 ha of a runway or 7,500 kWh per person.
The soil is protected by a sufficiently high snow cover. Plants are protected from being mechanically damaged by ski edges and piste equipment. The snow cover insulates and prevents ground frost and guarantees sufficient moisture penetration of the soil even in periods of low precipitation. In addition, snowmaking facilities are only permitted to be built under very strict approval procedures that strongly prioritise environmental aspects.
Awareness & internal processes
Sustainable employee clothing and merchandise products
The commitment to a more sustainable future is also reflected in the appearance of the employees of the Saalbach Hinterglemm Tourism Board. The Maloja employee collection has been designed with high standards of quality and sustainability in mind. Maloja attaches great importance to resource-saving management, water protection, emission control and fair working conditions. 75% of the functional materials used are bluedesign certified. Bluedesign is the world's most stringent textile standard for protecting the environment, labour, and consumers.
The merchandise products of the Tourist Board are not low-priced mass-produced goods. Here, too, attention is paid to trustworthy partners. A large part of the collection comes from Maloja. In addition to clothing, items such as fabric bags, lunch boxes and drinking bottles were deliberately included in the range to make a small contribution to raising awareness on the subject of waste avoidance.
For years, Saalbach has been striving for sustainable events in the event sector and has been particularly focusing on regional products, waste separation, regional suppliers, venues within walking distance, etc., all year round, which has been proven with awards. The biggest challenge for Saalbach is winter events such as World Cup ski races and the Alpine Ski World Championships 2025. First and foremost, the provision of energy with peaks in electricity during the competitions and the handling of the crowds of people arriving, which according to forecasts will mainly travel by car in 2025 as well, since Saalbach's transport connections to the national transport network are poor, is probably the biggest challenge. To be able to realise a sustainable World Cup in the best possible way, international certification and guidelines will be used. For example, it is planned to organise the World Ski Championships under the ISO 20121 standard (sustainable events). In addition, the "Guidelines for Green Events" of the FIS umbrella organisation will be used as well as the Green Event Guidelines and guidelines of the provincial and federal governments, which are directly linked to subsidies.
Respect your boundaries
As sportspeople, we have rights and duties in nature - only we are often not aware of them. Let us see the forest more for what it is: A habitat for animals and plants and a recreational area for people. Once startled, many animals are disrupted. Such disturbances lead to a high loss of energy in wild animals and sometimes to death. We ask all guests to merely respect their boundaries. However, this does not mean the limits of exertion or performance in winter sports, but rather the limits where winter sports activities impact the habitats of other inhabitants of nature. These quiet zones are marked in the piste plan as closed areas or terrain by appropriate signposts!
Ecological cleaning in the Tourist Board
The cleaning products used in the Tourist Board are based on biodegradable formulas and sustainable use of packaging. The detergents (active washing substances) are based on vegetable raw materials predominantly cultivated in Europe. The bottles are made from 100% recycled waste plastic and are 100% recyclable. In addition, the products used are free of microplastics and animal ingredients.
Reduced and certified printing
To preserve resources, the printed materials in the Tourist Board and at the lift companies have been reduced to the bare minimum. Interactive piste maps, hiking and biking maps and an accommodation directory on the website and in the Saalbach app offer a sustainable alternative to printed maps and guides in the digital age. But to be honest: We cannot do without printed maps and brochures (yet). Therefore, attention is paid to eco-certified paper and sustainable methods of printing.
Did you know that ....
... the greenhouse gas balance* of a skiing holiday is 20 kg CO2-eq when travelling by train and 33 kg CO2-eq emissions per person and day when travelling by car? In comparison: a flight to Spain emits 159 kg CO2-eq, a long-distance flight (e.g. to the Maldives) even 454 CO2-eq. The biggest influence on the greenhouse gas balance is the choice of means of transport.
*Activities (incl. energy expenditure for ski lifts, piste preparation and snowmaking), accommodation and mode of travel were taken into account. Source: Federal Environment Agency
... only 4.03 % of the total area in Saalbach Hinterglemm, Leogang, Fieberbrunn and Viehhofen is used for ski runs?