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What is behind a perfect ski slope

In order to offer both guests and locals a high-quality ski slope, it doesn't just need enough snow. Excellent slope preparation work is the basis of a perfect slope.

Pistenbully Check

4:00 pm - Start of work for the snow-grooming machine drivers

The snow grooming machine drivers of Obergurgl start work at 4:00 pm every day. First of all, a safety check is carried out on every snow groomer. Coolant, tank level, engine oil, hydraulic oil and much more must be constantly checked to ensure trouble-free work.


4:30 pm Let’s go!

At 4:30 pm we finally get going! Every snow grooming machine driver has been assigned a certain slope area for which he is responsible. The entire preparation effort and work always depend on the prevailing snow conditions.

7 hours of work on the slopes

In case of high precipitation or soft slopes, it takes much longer to prepare the ski runs. On average, however, our snow groomers are on the slopes for 7 hours a day.

To ensure that the slope is also prepared for the entire next day, it needs at least 8 hours to harden.

The shorter the hardening time, the softer the slopes will be the next day and the faster hills will form.

Groomed slope

“Thanks to the passion for this profession, we can always guarantee high-quality slopes and we are fully committed to our work.”

Georg Fiegl, snow grooming machine driver in Obergurgl

Morning mood at the slope, sunrise

4:00 am - Early shift in case of snowfall

When there is heavy snowfall, the snow groomers stay in the garage because the work here would be in vain.

In this case, the snow grooming machine drivers have to work an early shift and the slopes are prepared at 4:00 am in the morning.


Safety First!

When working as a snow grooming machine driver, you must always pay attention to your own safety. Therefore, when preparing steep slopes, the machines are attached to a winch to prevent them from slipping.

In order to guarantee the safety of our guests, the slope preparation is always carried out outside the operating hours of the ski area.

Morning mood at the slope, sunrise

Facts about snow grooming machines

✓ The snow groomers have between 430 and 530 hp under their hoods and weigh around 12.5 tons.

✓ The snow groomer is refueled with diesel, between 30 and 40 liters of diesel are needed per snow groomer in one hour.

Every day, 7 snow groomers are in operation in the Obergurgl ski area to prepare the slopes for the next day.

✓ The cable winch of the snow groomer pulls up to 4.5 tons, it contains 1000-1500 m of cable that serve as a climbing aid and prevent slipping.

✓ The speed of slope preparation machines is around 10-15 km/h depending on the steepness of the terrain.

Feeling for the machine and the slope

For the work as a snow grooming machine driver, you need an enormous feeling for the machine as well as for the piste conditions. Even with very poor visibility, fog and heavy snowfall, you must not lose your bearings.

In summary, all of the factors mentioned above must work together to create a perfect ski slope at the Diamond of the Alps.


Guest author Georg Fiegl

Georg Fiegl is a snow grooming machine driver in Obergurgl and he is truly passionate about his work.

View from the top, Pistenbully, above the clouds
Vanessa Gstrein

Author: Vanessa Gstrein

… lives in the Ötztal Valley and knows a lot of insider tips. Whether on a hiking trip or ski day – the camera is always with her to capture the beautiful moments and share it with the community.