Welcome to First Class!
Ropeway technology has taken a quantum leap regarding transportation capacity and comfort in just four decades. The two new cable cars, Schönleiten and 12er Express, have been given a massive upgrade in terms of comfort, energy efficiency and design to transport winter sports fans.
“Please take a seat, close the bracket and be patient”, was the motto at the beginning of the 1970s for all skiers on single or double chairlifts. The red hard plastic seats with the bracket that swivels to the side – including the really narrow footrest – are unforgettable. The black polystyrene support provided passengers with hardly any protection at all from the frosty seats, while the lifts would gently jolt them towards the mountain station. And yet in the early years of lift technology this climbing assistance was regarded as state-of-the-art and – compared to the previous drag lifts – as extremely comfortable.
Rapid development over four decades
“From then on, development soared uphill,” according to Andreas Natter who is responsible for project management and sales in Austria at Doppelmayr Seilbahnen in Wolfurt. He explains, “We focused on the needs and comfort of the winter sports fans.” The chairlifts increasingly became quicker and more comfortable. They soon had a grey bracket bib to protect legs from cooling down and skiers finally had enough space on the wider footrest.
“Nowadays the seats of the chairlifts, which can accommodate up to eight people, have soft padding and are heated, the overhead brackets are closed automatically when leaving the station and comply with all safety standards to prevent children slipping through. Tinted weather protection hoods are simply folded down when it snows or it’s windy and immerse the mountains into a friendly orange or blue,” Andreas Batter explains.
Welcome to First Class
The “D-Line” from Doppelmayr launches the new product line with the new cable cars at Zwölfer and Schönleiten, which is unrivalled in terms of comfort, smooth operation and efficiency. “A designer followed the entire D-Line development and made sure the appealing look interplayed perfectly with functionality. The 105 spacious 10-seater cable cars at Schönleitenbahn now offer even taller guests more space. The smooth operation of the cable car ensures that no one gets jolted anymore and that no “click, click, click” sounds drown out the conversations. And thanks to the gearless direct drive, it was possible to considerably reduce noise emission inside and outside the station as well as increase energy efficiency, “ the expert elaborates.
Immediate maximum comfort
With a capacity of 3,200 people per hour and a speed of six metres per second, the new Schönleiten cable car effectively prevents queues. As soon as you sit down on the padded seat, all you’ll want to do is stay there, lean back and go around one more time. Thanks to the warm and cosy seats, passengers get to relax before they ski down. They will experience a real first-class feeling and in fact all that’s missing is the flight attendant serving drinks and snacks with a friendly smile.
Doppelmayr’s cable car technology has also set a few milestones in terms of safety and security in the last few decades. “Statistically, cable cars are the safest mode of transport,” Julia Schwärzler, press officer at Doppelmayr, explains. And as for whether it would be possible to top the ultimate comfort the “first-class D-Line” provides all winter sports fans with, the two cable car experts agree, “Doppelmayr continually develops its products. It goes without saying that limits will be redefined in the future.”