Bruno Landolt has been in charge of the Elm mountain lift company for 16 years. Elm, in canton Glarus, is a small ski resort: it has 40 kilometres of pistes, 4km of sledging tracks and a children’s area.
swissinfo.ch: There’s a lot of tough competition out there. How does Elm find its place?
Bruno Landolt: We are a family ski area. We are good for children, with manageable pistes and options for walkers and sledgers. It’s very important to have good food on offer, friendly service and fair prices. And it’s easy to get to us. Our revenue has not gone down in the last few years.
swissinfo.ch: It costs CHF40,000 ($40,450) to keep you up and running each day. How can you generate this kind of money?
B.L.: The catering belongs to the mountain lift company. We can’t live from ski passes alone. We put all our efforts into the winter business. In summer visitors bring their own sandwiches, but that doesn’t work in the cold season. Voters in Glarus agreed to a credit of more than CHF12.5 million during the people’s open air assembly in spring for cable-car installations in the region. We will invest it in snow machines.
swissinfo.ch: Do you feel the effects of climate change or are snow conditions simply different than before?
B.L: If I speak to the farmers they’ll say that there have always been winters without much snow. Last winter we had too much snow. The year before that the slopes were still green at Christmas. Most of the time we are lucky; Elm has lots of snow. And because Elm is a small ski region, we could cover the whole area in man-made snow.
swissinfo.ch: Do winter sports have a future?
B.L.: I wouldn’t like to give a long-term forecast, but I don’t think too much will change in the next 20 years.
Translated from German by Isobel Leybold-Johnson