Austria's highest ski lift is redeveloped

The highest lift in Austria - the iconic Wildspitzbahn is undergoing a lengthy redevelopment with the completion set for the winter 2012/13 season.

The highest ski lift in Austria and one of the highest in the entire Alps, the 3440m top station of the Wildspitzbahn has long been an iconic location due to its celebrated height and its staggering views over to the Wildspitz peak, the highest in Tirol. The view from the Wildspitzbahn to the Wildspitz overlooks massive galcial ice sheets and pristine mountain terrain and whilst a viewing platform just above the Wildspitzbahn served as the lookout for many years, under development there is a new restaurant complex from which to gorp at the stunning panorama on offer. As well as offering absolutely guaranteed snow and a mighty long season of glacier skiing, the new development at the top station of the Pitztal Glacier should be a stunning venue for corporate events in the Alps. And gone will be the multi-podded gondola which had a couple of stops on the way up to the peak and instead will be an 8-seater gondola with heated seats. Hopefully we can get some of the first shots of the new complex when it opens in the autumn.

The best time to book a corporate ski trip?

It is never too early, but sometimes too late to book a corporate ski trip and early summer is one of the best times in the season to begin the planning a group ski holiday. Accommodation will have opened for the summer season and prices will be out for the coming winter. There can sometimes be issues with accommodation not wanting to offer short stays so far out from peak season given their hope that they can fill week-long stays in the run-up to the season but for accommodation offering short stays at this time of the year then the choice can be some of the best of the year. As winter approaches then more and more accommodation will be willing to offer short stays, but the fact is that they are likely to be able to offer fewer beds, even if they offer more flexible on arrival dates and length of stay. And for those groups that are concerned about green (grass) slopes upon arrival then with some planning this can be pretty much eliminated. Winter 2011/12 started reasonably mild and incredibly dry and yet the leading resorts in Austria and Switzerland opened on time thanks to the massive snow making capabilities that many resorts now possess. What followed was a winter to break many records - illustrating very well what a lottery the weather can be, partly due to climate change and very much due to the fickle nature of the weather in the mountains. Ski holiday resorts these days are micro economies with a huge number of suppliers reliant on the ski lifts rolling and the slopes being snow covered - in many respects the changing climate has brought stability to the season dates of many resorts - as soon as a cold snap arrives then the slopes are blitzed with artificial snow. Whatever peoples' preferences for snow type or objections to the power and water implications of snow making, it is here to stay. And for those looking for an absolute guarantee of snow then there are ski holiday resorts that are linked to glacier skiing areas - Val d'Isere in France, Zermatt in Switzerland or Solden in Austria all have good to great glacier skiing as an absolute fall-back option. So as a rule of thumb - the only time it may be too early to book a corporate ski trip is possibly during the previous season - many hotels have yet to formulate prices for the following winter and are often too busy to contemplate the complexities of squeezing in large ski groups into tight dates. And for those fearing that they have missed out on an exclusive window for booking a corporate ski trip, whilst bed space will inevitably get tighter closer to the season, bookings well into the season are still very realistic if the groups are flexible. Along with the wide selection on offer, one of the best things about planning a corporate ski trip early in the summer is that there are many months to look forward in anticipation of dropping bags off in a stunning mountain resort and making a beeline for the slopes or an apres ski bar with friends and colleagues in tow.

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