ChIef Operating officer & Deputy chief executive officer, Saastal Bergbahnen AG, Saas-Fee
Session: Innovative Ski Pass Programs
Urs Zurbriggen is the Chief Operating Officer & Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Saastal Bergbahnen AG in Saas-Fee. The company offers 115 km of ski slopes in two resorts and operates 29 lifts, a summer-ski area, various leisure activities and 3 restaurants. Saas-Fee has a rich history as an innovative destination. In the mid-1980s, Saas-Fee built the highest underground cable-car as well as the highest revolving restaurant at 3500 meters above sea level, both are still world records today.
A few years later, the world’s first 3-cable mountain railway, the world’s first summer halfpipe and the world’s largest glacier pavilion were opened in Saas-Fee. For the last 6 years, Saas-Fee has constantly been ranked in the Top 10 Ski Resorts of the Alps – based on the most important ski customer feedback survey in Europa (Best Ski Resort), particularly outperforming its peers in terms of safe slopes, snow guarantee and slope quality. In 2016 Saas-Fee has once again caught the industry’s attention by launching a new season pass model. Within 5 weeks, Saas-Fee sold more than 75,000 highly discounted season passes through a crowdfunding approach.
Urs returned after more than 10 years in various senior management positions for a multinational construction company in Switzerland and Canada, to his roots in October 2015. He took over the role as COO/Deputy CEO of the company where he once had his first student jobs as ski instructor, lift and snowcat operator. Next to his operational responsibilities of managing and renewing the company’s assets, Urs has been part of the small core team developing the new season pass model and is responsible for the product development, bringing an unprecedented 50% increase in skier days compared to previous winter.
Urs has a Master of Arts in International Relations and lives with his wife and two children in Saas-Grund in the heart of the Swiss Alpes. As a professional ski instructor, he loves skiing and other sports such as tennis, jogging and soccer.