In 1937 in San Martino di Castrozza a hotelier, mister Herman Panzer, built a slittovia located about 200 meters north to the actual Tognola Gondola lift station while the mountain station was located about 150 meters below the actual station, just a few steps away from Alpe Tognola. The sledge-lift consisted of two logs, and at the arrival point of the lift it was situated the historic Tognola Hut, of which we can see its ruins still today, in summer. In the following years, the outbreak of the world forced Panzer to suspend the transport service, which was then reactivated after September 8. 1943 by the german officials with the mere intent to offer entertainment to their troops. The initiative, however was a failure: the german soldiers took advantage of the situation to hurt themselves in order to leave the frontline. After the War, the lift was then managed for 2 years by Mr. Bovio, but the service was later abandoned.
In 1957 a milanese mountain and ski enthusiasts with a talent for business, Mr. Walter Ghezzi, gets to San Martino after the purchase of the historic Hotel Dolomiti with the aim of bring the hotel back to its former glory and relaunch the Ski resort. Therefore, trying to combine business with pleasure, he points to Passo Rolle: Funivie Seggiovie San Martino S.p.A. is founded to buy and restore the Seggiovia del Sole, the chairlift which connected San Martino to the top of Passo Rolle, a connection that we have been trying to create with great difficulty for years now …
The year later Ghezzi points to Tognola, thus in 1959 the first Tognola Automatic Coupling cablecar is inaugurated, a two-seat cabin system with 25 masts, built by C.I.T.A. company. The payload of 360 people per hour, for the time, is sensational: a little gem of technology. At the arrival station, the new Tognola Hut is built, together with a panoramic and sun terrace over the Pale di San Martino.
The success collected during those years induced Mr. Ghezzi to make further investments. In the following years, forced to dismantle also the Del sole chairlift, Ghezzi used their different parts to begin to build the first ski lifts on Alpe Tognola, while at the end of the Sixties the first snowmachine arrived. In order to prevent the formation of queues, at the end of the Seventies, Piemonte Funivie built the second automatic coupling Tognola telecabin system, with 22 masts and 4-seat cabin, with a payload of 900 people per hour.
Hard years for the company, even from an economic point of view, but Mr. Ghezzi and his son did not give up: in 1983 and 1984 they began to work on the Tognola Uno and Tognola Tre ski slopes first, and then replaced the skilifts with modern two and three-seat chairlifts. In 1986 the so called Malghe Carousel, which connects the Tognola ski area to the Malga Ces ski area, was inaugurated. In the meantime, programmed snowmaking started become a necessity also in Tognola, in the beginning only at lower altitudes, then also at higher ones to finally cover the entire Ski Area.
Meanwhile, in 1992 Ghezzi starts to meditate on the construction of the new Telecabin system and the rebuilding of the Tognola Hut, which is demolished in 1993 and then reconstructed according to modern, rational and panoramic criteria.
In 1998 the Tognola Gondola lift system of the third generation is inaugurated: built by the Leitner company, the system consists of 15-seat Gondolas and a payload of 2500 people per hour. The esthetic profile is the same as the 1959 model and it is still today one of the most important lift-systems of Trentino for its length, height and power. Our company is still satisfied and proud of this investment, an important point of arrival I dedicate to my father, who saw the birth of the first Telecabin system, realized the second one and followed the investments during the ’80s and who strongly wanted to build this new lift-system.
In 1999 a Reservoir with a volume of 10.000 m3 of water is built in order to support the snowmaking system and the increasing requirements for water and to guarantee good ski runs. In 2005 the Baby skilift and the Rododendro chairlift are replaced with new and modern lift systems. Moreover, in 2007 a new underground tank with a capacity of 7000 m3 on the top area of the Baby skilift is built to make the snowmaking system even more efficient.
In the last years, also summer season begun to be enhanced, bringing to the development of thematic paths to walk and ride on a Mountain Bike, giving more value to natural environment and territory. In summer 2013 the first Downhill track dedicated to Mountain Bike riders is inagurated, a trail which from Alpe Tognola descends to San Martino in front of the Pale di San Martino scenery, while two other tracks which will be opened in the following years.
In 2015 a new Reservoir with a volume of 50.000 m3 of water is built in order to support the snowmaking system and the increasing requirements for water and to guarantee good ski runs, while during summer 2016 and 2017 the Tognola Uno and Rododenro ski slopes’ artificial snowmaking system is renovated, with the purchase of 50 new snow cannons.
In december 2016, a new adventure begins: from the ashes of the guesthouse of the Majestic Hotel Dolomiti, the new Residence Hotel Langes rises in San Martino di Castrozza, a modern and elegant four-star residential hotel managed by Funivie Seggiovie San Martino Spa, which offers 10 beautiful appartaments to enjoy exclusive services and comforts, which are named after the men who made the name of San Martino and the Dolomites great in the world.
As part of the wider project to renovate the San Martino di Castrozza Ski Resot, Alpe Tognola is also doing its important part, renovating the ski resort with a brand new six-seater automatic chairlift, made in a larger view to improve the Ces-Tognola link, a crucial junction of the Ski Resort. With this new realization we bring once again at the center of our attention the comfort of travelers and the speed of ascending, essential characteristics of any self-respecting ski resort.
I would say that if our company is sixty, it doesn’t look its age… in fifty years the enthusiasm, the desire to move forward, to grow and to best satisfy the needs and meet the requests of our guests are still intense. Tognola has not changed, with its beautiful ski runs, the panorama and the hospitality we offer to our guests.
Over the years, technology has evolved and modernized, but I wish I can continue on the path marked by my father and my gandfather, during the years to come.
Chief Executive Officer of Funivie Seggiovie San Martino S.p.a.
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