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A three generations story

Let us relive the history of one of the most beautiful places in the Dolomites, scarred by wars, rebuilding and historical changes through the eyes of Valeria Ghezzi.


In 1937 in San Martino di Castrozza, hotelier Herman Panzer builds a sledge lift that starts 200 meters north from the actual valley station of the cable car and arrives 150 meters below the current arrival, a few steps away from the Alpe Tognola. The sledge lift consisted of two trunks where, upon arrival, was located the historic Rifugio Tognola, the ruins of which can still be seen today during summer time. To relive this historical time, a video of Panzer sledge by Istituto Luce is available.

In the following years, the outbreak of the War forced Panzer to halt service, after which on September 8th of 1943 it gets resumed by the Germans to offer leisure to their troops. The initiative, however, is unsuccessful: the soldiers take advantage of the sledge to get hurt … little as needed not to return to the battlefront. After the War, Eng. Bovio manages the sledge for 2 years, after which the service is completely abandoned.



In 1957, Walter Ghezzi, a “Milanese” enthusiast of the mountains, skiing, and mad for investments, arrives in San Martino after having bought the “Hotel Dolomiti” with the intention of restoring the hotel to its original splendour and relaunching the ski resort. Trying to combine business with pleasure, he first turns towards Passo Rolle: founding the Funivie Seggiovie San Martino S.p.A. to buy and restore efficiency to “Seggiovia del Sole”. This chairlift connected in 2 different section, the centre of San Martino to Punta Rolle; that same road connection that we have been trying to recreate with so many difficulties for 40 years…


The following years grandfather looks over at Tognola and in 1959 launch the first Tognola cable car with automatic coupling built by C.I.T.A through 25 and with two-seater cabins. The capacity of the engineering work for that time is magnificent, 360 people/hour: a small jewel of technology. At the arrival point it is built the new Rifugio Tognola equipped with a solarium and a panoramic terrace on Pale di San Martino.


The seventies

The successes collected in those years induced grandfather to continue investing. In the following years, forced to dismantle “Seggiovia del Sole”, grandfather used the various parts to begin building the ski lifts on Alpe Tognola, and towards the end of the 1960s also arrives the first snow groomer. In Tognola the famous queues begin to form and by the end of the 1970s Piemonte Funivie builds the second Tognola cable car with automatic coupling, with 22 supports and four-seater cabins with a capacity of 900 people/ hour.


These are tough years for the company, also economically but dad and grandfather do not give up an in 1983 and 1984 they start working on the ski slopes, Tognola Uno and Tognola Tre, substituting then, ski lifts with more modern two and three-seater chairlifts. In 1986 “Carosello delle Malghe” gets launched, link with Malga Ces ski area. Meanwhile artificial snow becomes a necessity also for Tognola, first for low altitudes then also for high altitudes covering the entire Ski Area.


Meanwhile in 1992 the redo of the cable car and of Rifugio Tognola it is starting to take form. Rifugio Tognola faces renovations in 1993 following more modern, rational and panoramic principles.


In 1998 the third generation Cable Car Tognola gets launched, built by Leitner with 15 seats cabins and 2500 people/hour capacity. The design line of 1959 is maintained and today it is one of the most important ski facilities of Trentino, both for length, elevation gain e strength. We are still satisfied and proud of it today: as it has been an important completed goal… I dedicate it to my father who has seen the birth of the first Tognola cable car, who has built the second one following all the investments of the eighties and who deeply wanted this new plant.



To support the snowmaking system and guarantee skiing and the connected growing demand for water on the Sky Area, in 1999 a 1000 m3 water basin is created.  In 2005, “Sciovia Baby” (sky lift) and Rodendro chair lift are substituted with newer and more modern facilities. To improve the efficiency of the snowmaking system, in 2007, a new 7000 m3 underground tank is added before “Sciovia Baby”.


In the last few years the Summer Season has seen a bigger valorisation, bringing forward new themed trails and itineraries to complete on foot and with a Mountain Bike, adding value to the environment and local territory. During summer 2013 the first Downhill trail dedicated to Mountain Bikes opens up, going down from Alpe Tognola to San Martino in front of Pale di San Martino; in the following years two new trails are added.



A new 50.000 m3 storage water basin is created in 2015 to help support the snowmaking system and growing demand for water to allow skiing in the Sky Area. During 2016 e 2017 the snowmaking system of “Tognola Uno” and “Rododendro” gets modernized through the purchase of more than 50 new snow cannons.


A new adventure starts on December 2016: the ashes of the stake of the Majestic Hotel Dolomiti give birth to Residence Hotel Langes in San Martino di Castrozza, a modern and elegant four-star hotel managed directly by Funivie Seggiovie San Martino SpA, which offers 10 apartments named after the characters who positively changed San Martino and the Dolomites. They are equipped with every comfort with exclusive services for their guests.



As part of the larger evolution of “San Martino di Castrozza – Passo Rolle Ski Area project”, Alpe Tognola plays its part by renovating the lifts park with a new six-seater automatic chairlift named “Seggiovia Cigolera” enhancing Ces – Tognola connection.

…what about today?

Well, we can say that we are carrying our sixty years well … in fifty years, the enthusiasm, the desire to move forward, to grow, to better meet the needs and requests of our customers has not faded. La Tognola is always itself, from the beauty of the slopes to the scenery and the warm welcome we reserve our customers.
Over the years technology has evolved and modernized, I hope to be able to keep following at best the road started by my grandfather and my father.

Valeria Ghezzi
Chief Executive Officer Funivie Seggiovie San Martino S.r.l.


Alpe Tognola Infopoint and booking office is at your disposal to help you plan your holiday in San Martino di Castrozza.
The service is available everyday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Tel: +39 0439 68026  -  Cell: +39 349 0038400  -  Email: infopoint@tognola.it


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