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Christian J. Nothiger, Michael Bründl and Walter J. Ammann
During the analysis of the 1999 avalanche winter and of the winter storm Lothar on 26 December 1999, the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos…
During the analysis of the 1999 avalanche winter and of the winter storm Lothar on 26 December 1999, the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos conducted an inquiry of the cable car‐ and ski lift‐companies in German‐ and French speaking part of Switzerland. This arti‐cle presents the results in detail. In the whole of Switzerland there were 1'821 cable cars and ski lifts in 1999 (not counting 550 small ski lifts). The SLF sent its questionnaire to 117 companies. A considerable proportion of them (79%) have been returned. In February 1999 avalanches and snow pressure induced damages on 44 cable cars and ski lifts; repairs cost more than 17 Mio. SFr. Due to high avalanche danger, 37% of all lift facilities had to be closed for an average of seven days. The loss of earnings for Switzerland (without Ticino) is estimated at 78 Mio. SFr. compared to February 1998. The winter storm Lothar caused damage to 127 cable cars and ski lifts. The cost of damage repairs is estimated at 7.6 Mio. SFr. The storm interrupted power supply for 14% of the lift facilities; 58% had to be closed down due to high wind speeds. The loss of earnings caused by winter storm Lothar amounts to approx. 39 Mio. SFr. for the Swiss cable car and ski lift companies (without Ticino). Immediately after the events of 1999, 32% of the companies interviewed took measures to reduce the negative consequences (e.g. price reductions, press releases or publicity campaigns). To improve public relations is considered to be an important measure to cope with consequences of natural hazards in the future by 39% of the companies.