The Colbricon Express – New Gondola Lift at San Martino di Castrozza- Introduction
During our winter holiday in San Martino, we had loads of fun skiing and snowboarding. One of the girls favourite piste was Ces, which has a new cable car. Named the Colbricon Express, it was built and commissioned in summer 2018. We enjoyed learning about the engineering and logistics that go into a project like this, what it replaced and the change it makes to the area.
What The Colbricon Express Means for Visitors to San Martino
The local authorities have been investing significantly in San Martino. For the season 2016/17, they installed 60 new snowmakers on three slopes with a total capacity of 60,000m3. These ensure the best skiing for visitors despite seasonal variations. They restyled and enlarged four blue runs. This year (2018-19) they outdid themselves with a whole new cool ski lift.
Very simply, The Colbricon Express cuts a previous 20-minute journey by two chairlifts, down to six minutes in a gondola. With a capacity of 2,400 pers/hr, it also cuts out queueing in high season.
We found a couple of old pictures on the internet. As we had seen only the new gondola station ourselves, it was surprising to see what was there just a year ago. The lower station replaces a three-person chairlift constructed in 1987.
The top of this run was by the Malga Ces restaurant. From there a 4 person chairlift went up to the top of the Valbonetta “blue” piste.
The Colbricon Express Cable Car
Technically, this is a detachable-gondola monocable aerial lift. Gondola means that you travel in a car suspended from the cable. The “detachable” is the clever bit. While the endless cable continues to circulate at 5m/s, the gondolas detach from it on entry to the stations. They slow down to make the u-turn and allow people to get on and off. Then they accelerate and reattach to the cable for the trip up (or down).
If you like figures here they are:
The Colbricon Express in numbers
- Car capacity 10 person
- Elevation of valley station 1,475m
- Elevation of mountain station 1,820m
- Vertical lift: 345m
- Route distance: 1,890m
Construction and Sustainability
Here is a movie on Youtube showing the construction
When we were riding in those gondolas, it was fun to think of the enormous helicopters delivering and erecting the stanchions. It must have been a fantastic effort to excavate rock half way up mountainsides. Even delivering and placing concrete and steel must have been a challenge. We always marvel at ancient construction, but the work in modern engineering is just as impressive in its way.
The new lift – like all the ski-lifts in the resort – is powered sustainably with hydroelectric energy. The dams and power plants are in the Primiero and Vanoi Valleys.
The Colbricon Express Access and Entry
The new base station is about 1km west of the town centre. It is accessible by car (there is a carpark) and by the Skibus.
The Colbricon Express – Conclusion
We are “blue” level skiers, and this facility was just perfect for us. Six minutes up, nearly 2km of blue piste down. Round and round. The Colbricon Express certainly improved the quality of our winter holiday in San Martino, by giving us more time skiing.
And of course, while skiing on these slopes, pop into Malga Ces for a great meal.
We were hosted in San Martino by Trentino Marketing for the purpose of an unbiased review — our policy is only to review things we genuinely like and find useful. We have rejected review offers from companies who do not meet these criteria. We had no problem loving this experience.
We have researched facts stated here as far as practicable, but please check anything critical before committing your time and money. We do not claim any special knowledge or expertise, and we are not consultants for our readers.