If the last week and a half was quiet on the blog, it’s because I was skiing my way around Austria, Germany and Switzerland with a few lift factory visits along the way. The last stop on my journey was Interalpin, the world’s largest trade show for mountain technology which takes place in Innsbruck every two years. Thanks to Covid, this was the first Interalpin in four years with an estimated 35,000 people attending.
Doppelmayr made a splash the first day with the introduction of a new logo, the company’s first brand refresh in decades. For the first time Doppelmayr Group companies like CWA, Carvatech, Garaventa, Gassner and Frey all have logos matching the parent company’s identity. The new brand will be introduced to international subsidiaries over time.
Doppelmayr’s sprawling two story booth featured numerous cabins, chairs, grips and carriages from an 8 seat Carvatech gondola all the way up to a 32 passenger CWA Atria.
A 20 passenger cabin called Stella debuted for the first time. This cabin will be available for both Tri-Line 3S and 20 passenger monocable gondolas. Stella fills the gap between the ubiquitous Omega and much larger Atria model, which has only been used to two lifts to date. Future 20 passenger monocable gondolas will utilize a new D9000 carriage, which is built around two side by side D5000 grips.
Introduced last year, Tri-Line is a streamlined version of the 3S gondola with smaller stations requiring less concrete. The first Tri-Line is under development at Hoch-Ybrig, Switzerland. Both Tri-Line and 20-MGD are based off standard D-Line stations and can achieve up to 8,000 passengers per hour with Stella cabins that fit closely together and can open on two sides. On the three rope Tri-Line, Stella cabins will be capable of spanning longer distances between towers than monocable gondolas with high wind stability.
Doppelmayr also showcased a simplified surface lift product family called S-Line.
Doppelmayr had a full size mockup of an Auro autonomous gondola station which can be monitored remotely from a ropeway operations center. A chairlift version is also undergoing testing on two lifts in the region using artificial intelligence to monitor unloading. In both cases, large detachable lifts could be operated by just one person.
Also on the software front, Doppelmayr’s resort management software clair now integrates with other mountain technology providers such as Fatzer, Skidata and TechnoAlpin.
HTI group hosted another large booth shared between Prinoth, Leitner, Poma and DemacLenko. For the first time Bartholet was also part of the HTI area. With three different lift brands now under one umbrella, HTI showed off multiple Diamond cabins, a premium chair, Symphony gondolas and Bartholet chairs/cabins.
I got to experience both Leitner’s 2S and 3S gondolas in the surrounding mountains and was very impressed with their smooth ride and quality. The newest 2S design utilizes plastic carriage rollers and can span long distances between towers more economically than a 3S.
Bikes were a big focus with both chair and gondola loading solutions on display. The European industry has embraced vertical racks so passengers can ride on the same chairs as bikes without having to skip chairs with trays.
HTI is also getting into the software game with a resort management program called Skadii including digital logbooks to manage documentation.
Energy efficiency is a huge focus in Europe and HTI also showed off its Ecodrive program, which uses cameras to analyze lift queues and automatically adjust lift speed to save energy.
MND Ropeways had a Waterville Valley style six place chair along with a gondola cabin on display. The company continues to push the benefits of providing lifts, snowmaking, avalanche control systems and summer attractions all from one supplier.