Early risers due to Andermatt’s snow
In spite of spring temperatures in Switzerland, the snowploughs in Andermatt will not be put away for some time. Past experience shows that snowfall must be expected in the Uri resort even in March.
The Andermatt families Danioth and Poletti pay very close attention to the winter weather reports. And with good reason: These two households are in charge of snow clearing in Andermatt. Sandro Danioth is responsible for the Andermatt Swiss Alps resort and Karl Poletti for the rest of the village.
During the long winter season from December to March, the two native residents discuss each evening if and when their clearing crews must be deployed the next day. Often, they don’t even have to consult the official weather report, but rather simply open the window and look at the sky, reading the clouds, the wind and the visibility. Sometimes they will have to rise very early the next day: “As soon as 8 centimetres of fresh snow accumulates, I’ll be sitting in my snowplough at 4:00 a.m. the next morning. For maximum safety, we clear the snow first in front of the fire station and the doctor’s office”, explains Karl Poletti. Sandro Danioth and his team get to sleep in a bit longer – one hour, to be precise. At the top of their priority list are the entrances to the construction sites of the resort and the entrance to The Chedi Andermatt hotel.
Special requirements for the winter sport destination
But all the snow mustn’t always be cleared away: “As a winter sport destination, we are required to leave certain streets covered in snow”, explains former village mayor Karl Poletti. There is a snow-covered road through the village that requires maintenance several times a week. The snowplough spreads and compacts the snow over the asphalt, producing a uniform surface – much like a snowcat does on the ski slopes. “With this method we can save a lot of salt. We used to use 12 to 14 tonnes of salt per winter – today we use one-and-a-half tonnes.”
The snow lands in the Schöllenen
Snow volumes too are oftentimes large. Whereas for children, there can never be enough snow to play in, there is a maximum limit for the snow-clearing teams. As soon as mountains of cleared snow accumulate along the edge of parking lots and streets, local trucking companies are hired to haul off the snow to the Schöllenen Gorge. “In 1999 we dumped so much snow into the Schöllenen that we could have driven a truck across the gorge”, recalls Karl Poletti. But the excessive snow is not always dumped into the Schöllenen. Andermatt snow is also needed in the valley below: For instance, right now many tonnes of snow are being transported to Buochs for the HillJam Freestyle Contest this Saturday.
|Snow-clearing crews: Facts and figures|
|Andermatt Swiss Alps AG
|– 5 people
||– 3 people|
|– 1 Fendt tractor with plough
|– 1 vehicle with plough
and salt loader
|– 1 snow blower
||– 1 snow blower|
|– Assorted small equipment
||– Various vehicles of
local transport companies
|-1,000 man-hours per season||– Man-hours not recorded|
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