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10MGD Mellau ropeway



The construction of the Mellau ropeway in 1972 was the founding project of Salzmann Ingenieure. After forty years, Bergbahnen Mellau launched a modernization campaign: an 8-seater chairlift replaced the Rossstelle double-step ropeway in 2013. In 2015, as a second phase, the Mellau ropeway was completely dismantled and rebuilt. Since then, this 10-seater gondola ropeway has provided day guests with the ideal entry point to the Mellau Damüls ski area.

Bergbahnen Mellau and Damüls already anticipated an industry trend in 2009 and connected the two ski areas with the summit ropeway. Since then, "Schneereich - Damüls, Mellau, Faschina" has become the largest ski area in the Bregenzerwald (Vorarlberg) with 29 ropeways and a total of 109 kilometres of slopes. Bergbahnen Mellau then decided to gradually modernize its ropeway facilities and enlisted the services of the Bregenz-based planning office Salzmann Ingenieure for the planning and implementation. "I was delighted with this contract. The Mellaubahn is a cornerstone of our family business," reports Managing Director Stephan Salzmann. After all, when the father of the current managing director was entrusted with the Mellaubahn project in 1972, he ventured into self-employment and founded Salzmann Ingenieure. "I consider it a great honour that we were able to continue the project into the second generation."

8SB Rossstelle - Enhancing overall comfort The Rossstelle marked the beginning in 2013. On the one hand, the existing double surface ropeway served as a transfer facility from the Mellaubahn top station to the summit ropeway in the direction of Damüls. On the other hand, the T-bar ropeway provided access to the blue slopes above the Mellaubahn as a practice facility for novice skiers and ski courses. However, the ropeway system was no longer up to date for several reasons: the transport capacity was insufficient for both functions, and the location of the top and bottom stations did not offer optimal guest comfort, with the route separating the ski area. Salzmann Ingenieure devised a detachable 8-seater chairlift. The new alignment was shifted to the northeast, improving access to the ropeway and optimizing the utilization of the ski area. The ropeway was designed as a detachable chairlift with the drive, tension, and garaging located at the bottom station. Weather protection hoods, seat heating, and slip-through protection ensure the comfort of winter guests.

10 EUB Mellaubahn - Improving accessibility The Mellaubahn, constructed in 1972 and modernized in 1986, had reached its capacity limit following the merger of the ski areas. The transport capacity of the 4-seater gondola ropeway, at 1000 persons per hour, was significantly inadequate, and the comfort did not meet today's standards. The bottom station is situated close to Bregenzerwälderstrasse (L200) in the Mellau area, making it not only the first and most attractive entry point to the area in winter but also a heavily frequented repeat facility when snow conditions are favorable and the valley run is open. The ropeway is also operational during the summer season and is considered a popular destination for hikers.

Customized Planning

The project was initiated in 2012, with the client and Bregenz engineers embarking on careful planning. Stephan Salzmann firmly believes that meticulous planning pays off during implementation, both in terms of time and finances. Calculations determined a required conveying capacity of approximately 3000 people per hour. Salzmann Engineers recommended a detachable single-cable ropeway with ten-person cabins. "As an independent planner, we are not bound to any specific manufacturers. Our objective is to provide our clients with the best solution available on the market, combining quality and affordability," explains Stephan Salzmann.

Improved Connection at the Top Station

Enhancing the connection between the top and bottom stations of the Rossstelle was one of the project's goals. Previously, winter sports enthusiasts had to ascend the Rossstelle on foot. Consequently, the old top station of the Mellaubahn was completely dismantled and aligned with the bottom station of the Rossstelle. "This realignment benefits not only the visitors but also the restaurants and stores in the stations," states the managing director.

The ropeway adheres to the latest safety and comfort standards. The drive system is situated in the top station, while the hydraulic tensioning system is conveniently located in the bottom station. In addition to office spaces, meeting rooms, and sanitary facilities for staff, both stations house storage and technical rooms. The 76 cabins are stored in the bottom and top stations, allowing for their deployment to be adjusted according to the current transportation needs. The bottom station features a spacious ticket hall, WC facilities, a ski rental store with a storage area, a sports store, and a café, providing guests with an appealing infrastructure.

Pioneering Timber Construction Project

During the construction of the mountain and valley stations, the architectural firm Frick from Reuthe was committed to utilizing wood as the primary building material, in line with the time-honoured craftsmanship traditions of the Bregenzerwald region. "Following the accident in Kaprun, fire safety regulations requiring the use of non-combustible materials made it more challenging to incorporate wood in ropeway construction. However, through comprehensive safety analyses conducted for the projects in Mellau, we were able to use wood to a significantly higher extent. Apart from its fire-resistant properties, wood allows for versatile design options. Given the prominent use of wood, this project stands out as a rarity in the Alpine region," explains Salzmann. The structural elements in contact with the ground and the basement floors are constructed with solid materials, while the platform floor is made of timber. The well-defined wooden exterior of the bottom station blends harmoniously with the local surroundings, while the wooden lamella cladding of the top station establishes a visual connection with the bottom station and the nearby shingled Rossstelle station.

Efficient Implementation

Demolition of buildings and supports commenced in March 2015, followed by groundbreaking in April. The project was completed in time for the commencement of the 2015/16 winter season. "Considering the scale of the project, the timeframe was relatively tight. However, thanks to thorough planning, the implementation process was seamless," concludes Salzmann.


Antriebsleistung Anfahren
761 kW
Single-cable ropeway
Fahrstrecke gesamt
2.090 m
3.146 P/h
680 m

In addition to the size of the project, a major challenge was the short construction time. Work on the top station, bottom station, and parking was done at the same time. We would like to thank everyone who was involved for the great work and the excellent outstanding cooperation. Everyone has done a great job!

Herbert Frick, Managing Director Bergbahnen Mellau