The Slovenia Times

Ski lift operators want govt to help with investment funds


The Association of Ski Lift Operators held a press conference on Wednesday, as the ski season is about to open. Temperatures are expected to drop in the coming weeks, allowing ski resorts to at least fire up their snow cannons, given that very little snow has fallen so far.

Ski lift operators hope to launch the season in mid-December, with association president Manuela Božič Badalič expressing hope that the winter will be long and rich in natural snow, noting that the last winter season was short and too warm.

Because the winter seasons are becoming increasingly short in Slovenia, ski lift operators have been working hard to attract visitors during the summer, she said.

This summer, more than a million people rode the ski lifts, up 27% over the summer of 2018. She is happy that the association has managed to push this year legislative changes classifying ski lifts as public infrastructure, which would mean co-funding by the state.

"We expect the bill to be passed before the end of the year and that the state will be co-funding the sector ... already next year... The state and politicians will have to decide whether we still have a skiing industry in the future," Božič Badalič said.

Ski lift maintenance is very expensive, because on average lifts in Slovenia are 30 years old. On the other hand, investing in a new ski lift costs at least EUR 5 million.

This is too expansive for operators to manage on their own, she said, stressing however that ski lifts had a substantial multiplication effect on the rest of the tourism sector.

It has been a decade since the last new ski lifts were built in Slovenia. "If we continue putting things off, ski lifts will start losing their operating licences."

Krvavec ski lifts operator Janez Janša said that about EUR 100 million will be needed in three years, noting that much of the funds would have to be provided by the state.

Krvavec alone plans EUR 37 million worth of investments, including a new accumulation lake and a six-person chair lift. The company has already acquired all the necessary permits and is only waiting for an incentive from the state.

The government has made it clear that it will provide help if the ski lift operators find the legal grounds for co-funding, said Janša, referring to the legislative changes.


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