Up the mountain, no matter how – that is so yesterday! Ski areas today have so much more to offer. Every year they try to beat each other with the newest, most modern and most entertaining updates for the ski lifts. Some projects really stand out, considering that it really only concerns a short ride up the mountain. “The way is the aim” in these cases, or at least it really is a special experience.
Flying limousine in Zillertal
A special, exclusive offer attracts visitors to the ski area “Ski Optimal Hochzillertal Kaltenbach” from this season. The first “flying limousine” is what the designers call the VIP gondola which transports it’s guests to 2,500 m altitude. It was developed by “Leitner ropeways” in cooperation with BMW Individual. Leitner delivered the modern cabin, whilst BMW provided the interior design. And that is really worth seeing: classy brown leather seats with massage function and heating, a middle panel with air conditioning and a multi-media sound system one might recognise from a BMW 7 limousine. The front panel holds a bottle of Champagne and 2 glasses. However this special ride doesn’t come for free, but you can choose from various packages. For instance there is the “Early Bird” package for all those who would like to ascend already at 8 o’clock in the morning. €150 is the price for 2 people, a reserved parking space, Champagne welcome, VIP gondola ride and breakfast on the mountain hut, and 2 lift passes for the day.
Porsche design in Laax
In winter 2012/2013 a novelty was introduced to Laax. Sleek Porsche design has been applied to the 6-person chair lift “Plaun Lavadinas – Fuorcla da Sagogn”. No wonder though, as it was created by the “Bartholet Maschinenbau AG”, in cooperation with the Porsche Design Studios. It’s unique appearance – with black leather seats and red applications, as to be found in racing cars – is not the only speciality. Due to a joint at the top of the chair, the lift can rotate by 45 degrees. The ascenders therefore can enjoy a great panorama view of the mountains, instead of looking at the back of the rider before them. A solar panel at the back of the seats provides energy for the heating. The name is programme here: the Porsche lift can cover a distance of 6 metres per second and therefore can be considered a racer!
This Finnish lift is really hot!
The Fins are known to love their saunas. This love has inspired the lift operators at the Yllästunturi to create something very special. They have built the world’s first sauna gondola – including a real wood oven. 80 – 100 °C can be reached inside the gondola. The windows are obscured so nobody can look inside, however the guests can enjoy the beautiful panorama oft he Fjäll landscape in Lappland. The rides takes 15 minutes to ascend up the 718 m high mountain and then descend back to the valley again.. 4 people can share the gondola at a time. Visually it can easily be told from the other standard red and black cabins. It can be used throughout the entire year, however it has it’s price. The gondola belongs to the Café Gondola 718 on the top of the mountain. Groups of max. 12 people can rent the café, which further also offers a sauna, a Jacuzzi, showers, changing rooms and a rooms with a fireplace, all for €1,500.
The iPod makes the music
If you should be skiing in Aspen and you ascend via the Silver Queen Gondola, make sure you get into a red cabin. In these you can actually put on your own music: each gondola offers it’s own iPod docking station.
Two lifts can take corners, we know that already! The tow lift “Tierhörnli” at the Engstigenalp in the ski area Adelboden is still worth mentioning though: it actually carves a corner 5 times during it’s ascent.
A topless gondola
Finally there is a real treat for all those who don’t mind heights: it runs only in summer (April until November), but still is worth mentioning. The “topless” lift at the Stanserhorn in Switzerland. The double-decker gondola is the first of its kind with roofless upper deck. 30 people can enjoy this open-air adventure from the middle station to its destination at 1,900 m altitude.
Enjoy the ride!