THE FIRST SKI LIFT IN ITALY
Skicarosello in Corvara began in 1946 with the first tested chairlift in Italy, which went from the village of Corvara up to Col Alto.
Earlier, in 1938, a sledge-lift was already working, which was dragged across the snow like a sledge up to the summit of the great Col overlooking Corvara. Unfortunately, however, the war put it out of action at the time and interrupted the flow of tourists to Val Badia.
The fist chairlift of Italy
With a great deal of courage and a pinch of recklessness, the pioneer of ski lifts, Erich Kostner, signed a contract to supply the project and the mechanical material to construct a new chairlift. Thus, in 1946, the sledge-lift was replaced by a single seater chairlift with wooden supports, anchored to iron plates from old tanks left over from the war, which had just ended. The job was not a simple one. Nevertheless, on 24th December 1947, the Italian Ministry of Transport tested the chairlift to carry skiers from Corvara to Col Alto and it began operations.
The winter tourism increases in Alta Badia
The new lift was enormously successful, so that in the years to come the ski area expanded with other ski lifts. New ski lifts were built towards Crëp de Munt and Pralongià and, at a later stage, the villages of La Villa and San Cassiano were also connected to Corvara with new chairlifts and ski lifts across the plateau between Piz La Ila and Piz Sorega. Lastly, access to the Sella Group and the Campolongo Pass was also opened. Thus, the now famous "Skicarosello Alta Badia"was created.
The next step was to introduce the first ski pass and a points' card. It was a primitive system, but enabled sales to be handled.
The influx of skiers was constantly growing and this was clearly of major importance for the development of winter tourism. The local people changed from farming to investing in tourism, which clearly held a future for them. The numbers of beds, restaurants and shops increased.
Gradually, as the seasons passed and ski tourism increased, proper systems were built to link the villages and to facilitate movement around the plateau.
Nowadays, what was a primitive single seater chairlift has become a modern, 8-seater cable car. All the Skicarosello ski lifts, together with those in Alta Badia in general, have all been modernised and restored.
(taken partly from "A brief history of the Alta Badia Skicarosello", published for the 50th anniversary of the Skicarosello Consortium)