“It was mainly the experience of the past ten years that has made us change this project considerably so that it affects the environment and the life of inhabitants in the area less. Various turnout statistics prove that the resort of Tatranská Lomnica needs to be developed further and another entrance point has to be added, including a new ski piste and the Grand – Štart chairlift. The number of skiers has multiplied when compared to 2008 and people prefer mainly easier pistes which are suitable for all family members. If we build them, skiers will spread out over the resort more, which will improve the safety on the slopes in general,” explains Dušan Slavkovský, the general manager of the resort of Vysoké Tatry TMR regarding the reasons of the project change.
The already mentioned argument is supported also by the opinion of Peter Chudý, an expert in the field of tourism and the former general manager of the Tourism Association Vysoké Tatry: “After the investments that were made in the skiing infrastructure in previous years, Tatranská Lomnica has become the most significant ski resort in the High Tatras. The number of clients in winter is growing, mainly in the busiest periods of bank and school holidays. This reduces the comfort of skiers who have to queue at cableways and face various traffic problems. If most objections to the original project purpose were taken into consideration, creating another entrance point to the resort with a new chairlift seems to be an appropriate solution of the situation.”
The requested changes include mainly the cableway technology as such, the width of the ski piste and the size of built-up areas at the lower and upper chairlift station. The built-up areas have been minimised considerably when compared to the original project and the new ones have been created mainly by changing the ski piste corridor. This means it is not a radical territory change. The substantial reduction of the built-up area at the lower chairlift station will reduce the impact on the living environment and comfort of the nearby residential zone when compared to the original project.
The new ski piste should be connected to the piste of Buková hora, the existing snowmaking system as well as the snowmaking reservoir which was originally designed to supply enough water for more ski pistes in future. The project change does not increase the demand for stored water. Following the requirements of local inhabitants in Tatranská Lomnica, the construction of new car parks and roads has been cancelled in the changed project.
“Tourism and skiing have played an important role in the life of Tatranská Lomnica for long and being the resort operator, we need to look for possibilities how to support the development reasonably and optimise it so that it can be adapted to the increasing turnout numbers by keeping its high standard at the same time. When planning our projects, we always keep in mind that their benefits as for tourism and environment must prevail over the related negative environmental impact, which is the case of this project change as well,” added Mr. Slavkovský.
Near the planned ski piste, there is the historical building of a former cable car station that was designed by Dušan Jurkovič and operating in 1936-1941. So far, nobody has come up with a solution how to renew the building and use it in a meaningful way.
“For many years, we have been seriously speculating about how to use the historical building of the former cable car. Its renovation and inclusion in the infrastructure are closely connected to the development of this resort section,” said Mr. Slavkovský. As the building is part of the historic heritage, the TMR company had the required heritage preservation research as for its potential use made and is regularly taking measures in order to avoid depreciation caused by weather. The interior is being cleaned and the former station is protected against vandalism. “Unfortunately, there are so many restrictions related to the heritage conservation that it is very difficult for our company to keep the building in a good condition. We have been discussing the development of this resort section intensively since 2015 but still do not have any guarantee how the whole project should look like in the end,” concluded Dušan Slavkovský.
Projects of 2008 and 2018 – comparison
The original project was included in the Evaluation report “Ski resort TLD – Tatranská Lomnica” in December 2008. The built-up area of the planned upper cable car station was 635 m2 and the cable car was meant to be connected from the left side. The cableway technology has been changed in the new project (from an 8-person cable car with year-round operation to a 6-seater chairlift with winter operation), which will reduce the upper station area to 116 m2.
The lower station area has been reduced even more when compared to the previous plan. Originally, the so called “GSB centre” with offices, an information centre, rentals, an exchange office, a post office, left-luggage, shops, exhibition premises, restaurants, technical and technological rooms on an area of 7,000 m2 was supposed to be located at the lower station. The lower cable car station itself, including an above-ground cable car garage would have an area of 1,005 m2. The suggested activities that the lower chairlift station should offer have been changed considerably and minimised to services which are most necessary and related to the chairlift operation directly (ticket offices, toilets, technical and technological rooms). This will reduce the built-up area, including an underground garage from 8,005 m2 to 698 m2 only.
Tatry mountain resorts, a.s. (TMR) is the leader in tourism in Central and Eastern Europe; it owns and operates attractive mountain resorts, amusement parks, restaurant facilities, sports services, shops and hotels. In the Low Tatras TMR owns and operates the resort Jasná Nízke Tatry and hotels Wellness hotel Grand Jasná, Boutique Hotel Tri Studničky, Chalets Jasná De Luxe, Hotel Srdiečko, and Hotel Rotunda. TMR is also the owner of Aquapark Tatralandia, the largest Slovak aquapark with year-round operation, which besides water entertainment includes Tropical Paradise, a special tropical indoor hall with sea water, as well as Fun Park, and accommodation in bungalows and apartments of Holiday Village Tatralandia. In the High Tatras TMR owns and operates the resort Vysoké Tatry with mountain areas of Tatranská Lomnica, Starý Smokovec, and Štrbské Pleso, which TMR co-manages. In the High Tatras TMR also owns hotels Grandhotel Praha Tatranská Lomnica, Grandhotel Starý Smokovec, Hotel FIS Štrbské Pleso and Mountain hotel Hrebienok. TMR also owns a 9.5 % share in Melida, a.s., which leases and operates the resort Špindlerův Mlýn in the Czech Republic. TMR also leases and operates the ski resort Ještěd. In Poland TMR owns a 97% share in the mountain resort Szczyrkowski Ośrodek Narciarski S.A. (SON), a 75% share in a company that owns and operates Silesian Amusement Park (Śląskie Wesołe Miasteczko) and a 7.3% share in an amusement-educational project via the Polish company Korona Ziemi Sp. z.o.o. TMR also owns and leases hotels Slovakia, Kosodrevina, Liptov and Ski&Fun Záhradky a Bungalovy to third parties. By the end of 2017, more than EUR 300 mil. had been invested into development and modernisation of TMR’s resorts. TMR shares are traded on three European stock exchanges – in Bratislava, Prague, and Warsaw.