Pizol lifts end winter season.
Easter Monday also marked the end of the 2020/21 winter season on the Pizol. The review is mixed. We look back on a rollercoaster of emotions.
Easter Monday was also the last day of operation of the 2020/21 winter season at Pizolbahnen AG. The Easter days attracted numerous guests once again thanks to the beautiful weather and good piste conditions. "We can therefore report a conciliatory end to the season," says Klaus Nussbaumer, CEO, on request.
Guest admissions similar to last winter
To start with: guest admissions are comparable to the previous winter 2019/2020, which is very pleasing according to those responsible. And this despite the restrictions due to the current Corona situation. On a five-year average, however, the 2020/21 winter season is down twelve per cent, according to Nussbaumer. This inevitably leads to a loss in a fixed-cost business, as mountain railways are. "Compared to other areas or nearby countries, however, we are getting off lightly," says Nussbaumer.
Closed Christmas Days Hurt
Of course, one thing in particular hurt: that operations were shut down between 22 and 30 December 2020 due to the official order. "These nine high-turnover Christmas days are very important," adds Nussbaumer. In addition, the gastronomy was closed afterwards and only a take-away offer could be offered. Especially in cold January, this circumstance deterred many guests from making a ski day. As a result, the Pizol lifts' catering businesses had to record a decline of about 50 per cent. "The take-away offer was very well received by the guests, but it is no substitute for a fully functioning restaurant," says Klaus Nussbaumer.
Higher costs due to protective measures
The protective measures prescribed by the federal and cantonal authorities resulted in additional costs: additional staff, signage, control measures, disinfectants and much more. This led to an additional financial burden.
Pizolbahnen expect loss
Nussbaumer is not yet able to draw up a precise balance sheet for the 2020/21 business year, as several accounts are still open. "It is pleasing that we have already received hardship payments from the canton for the gastro area," he says. According to Nussbaumer, a hardship application has also been submitted for the Pizolbahnen. "The application has been submitted. Whether we will receive money and how much is still open," he says. However, he is confident that those who ordered the closure of the Pizolbahnen will also provide appropriate compensation. According to Nussbaumer, how well the mountain railway company ultimately does depends heavily on the hardship funds. "With or without these funds, however, we must expect a loss in the annual result."
Pre-sale with a plus of around 15%
Despite all the difficulties, the entire Pizol team has mastered the 2020/21 season well. "Advance ticket sales for the coming season show that we are on the right track. Especially the annual pass (summer 2021 and winter 2021/22) was sold very well again," Nussbaumer reports. "We see this as confirmation of a convincing offer on the Pizol and would like to thank our guests for their trust now."
Now, however, a well-deserved short break awaits the employees of the Pizol lifts. Before the summer season starts again on 8 May 2021 with the operation of the Bad Ragaz gondola lift. From 3 July 2021, all summer facilities will be in operation again.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your numerous visits and your loyalty. But there is one thing we are particularly grateful for: That we have been able to maintain our operations for the most part despite some challenges. Not only our protection concept, but also each and every one of you has contributed to this. Many thanks for your understanding and compliance with the protection measures! Only with the support of everyone involved were we able to give you a break and experience a bit of normality together.