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Andermatt Swiss Alps

“Ace performance by the helicopter pilot”

It’s seldom that a twin-engine heavy-duty Kamov helicopter is seen circling overhead at Andermatt. But the construction of a six-seat chairlift on the Gemsstock doesn’t leave many alternatives. The terrain is steep, and there are no access roads. So we invited a few media professionals to witness this spectacle – and they were not disappointed. Cameraman Brian Gottschalk is there on behalf of Swiss Radio and Television. “Today you really can’t do much wrong. The red helicopter against the blue sky, the chosen location, the lofty workplaces of the cableway builders – it all makes for great pictures”, he says as he returns to the viewfinder of his camera.

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The parts being installed weigh tonnes, and the Kamov tirelessly brings one after the other, while the cableway builders of the Garaventa company do their work, used to operating at dizzying heights with calm assurance. Using lateral guide cables, they pull the members into position for fastening. While they do this, the helicopter hovers overhead virtually motionless. Urs Roos, Technical Director of the SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun explains: “These are delicate manoeuvres, challenges for the pilot as well as the installation crew. Good teamwork is a must.” Masts, elements of the base station, roller assemblies – the big helicopter appears again and again above the ridge, which blocks the view to Hospental. It flies back to the material staging site behind Hospental about 70 times to bring more elements of the cableway system. In all, some 210 tonnes are transported.

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After two hours the time for our visit is up, and our “taxi” comes flying down. The journalists are satisfied with the many pictures they were able to capture. And the flight back to Andermatt was then – at least for most of them – another highlight. The pilot was in good spirits and made the three-minute flight to the valley into a wild roller coaster ride. “I would have liked to fly like that a bit longer”, “It was a great flight down” or “Too bad it was over so quickly”, were the comments of the media pros.

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