Company founded by Konrad Doppelmayr The origins of the Doppelmayr business date back to the 19th century. In 1892, Konrad Doppelmayr, who until then had worked in a leased blacksmith’s shop, purchased the mechanical forge press from his master, Josef Anton Dür, in Wolfurt / Austria. At the time, the business was mainly focused on toolmaking and machine repairs. Fodder cutting machines, hatchets, axes and pickaroons were manufactured, and equipment for use on farms and in textile factories was kept in tip-top condition. In 1900, Konrad Doppelmayr began making fruit, must and wine presses. These were largely exported to vintners in South Tyrol. It was not until some years later that the lift business was discovered for Doppelmayr.
Founder Konrad in the middle, with his son Emil to his right and his grandson Arthur to his left.
Garaventa founded by Karl Garaventa and first ropeway built to transport timber on the Rigi The construction of the ropeway to transport timber on the Rigilehne marked the birth of the Garaventa company. Karl Garaventa established the business in 1928 at the site in Immensee, Switzerland, and started off by building small material and passenger ropeways. He took on timber piecework contracts for the Swiss Railways on the Rigilehne. It was here that a large protection forest safeguarded the railway line against rockfall and snowslides. As this work was very dangerous and involved a high level of risk, Garaventa built a timber ropeway. This gave him a simpler means of transporting the timber and enabled him to minimize damage.
Karl Garaventa Senior
First ski lift in Zürs am Arlberg Following the end of the First World War, tourism began to flourish for the first time in Lech and Zürs (Austria). Skiing had developed into a national sport, rather than being just for the elite. This led to an expansion of the region’s infrastructure and the need to provide access to the ski slopes. At the initiative of the ski lift pioneer Ing. Sepp Bildstein, Doppelmayr manufactured a ski lift for the practice slope in Zürs. This was Austria’s first surface lift and marked the start of a long ropeway tradition in the country and beyond its borders. The installation was 390 meters long, had a vertical rise of 150 meters and an hourly transport capacity of 420 passengers. The foundation stone for the success of today’s winter tourist resort had been laid.
Garaventa builds the first large reversible aerial tramway in Squaw Valley The construction work on what was then the world’s biggest aerial tramway began in 1967. The installation went into service the following year and each of the cabins provided room for 125 passengers. For Garaventa, this tramway marked an important milestone in the company’s history as it was the first major contract overseas. The tramway is located in the internationally well-known US winter sports resort of Squaw Valley, California (USA).
Doppelmayr builds the first detachable gondola lift in Mellau The construction of the first continuous movement monocable gondola lift with 4-passenger cabins marked a major event in the company’s history and the first time it had used detachable grip technology. The red gondolas on the lift in Mellau, Bregenzerwald (Austria), were fitted with ski holders; the doors were manually opened and closed to allow passengers to load and unload in the stations.
Installation of the world’s first Rotair aerial tramway in Titlis Building the new 80-passenger tramway Stand-Titlis posed a true challenge for Garaventa as half of the construction site lay in a high Alpine zone at an altitude of 3,024 meters and the new tramway had to be integrated into an existing building. The two round cabins were a Garaventa world first and create a striking impression. The floor inside each cabin revolves about its own axis once during the trip. Thanks to this rotation, passengers get to enjoy a 360° panoramic view of the Swiss glacier world of Mount Titlis as they ride the tram.
Garaventa builds the world’s first double-decker aerial tramway in Samnaun For the operating company Luftseilbahn Samnaun AG, Garaventa completed the world’s first aerial tramway with double-decker 180-passenger cabins in Switzerland. The spectacular Twinliner was constructed in just eight months in time for the winter season 1995/96. Its purpose was to provide a high-capacity installation alongside the heavily used 80-passenger tramway built in 1978 and also supplied by Garaventa. Both of the ultramodern cabins have two floors. The lower floor can hold 114 passengers; the control console is located on the upper floor which, in addition to the cabin attendant, provides room for another 66 passengers, 12 of them seated. CCTV cameras enable the attendant to monitor the lower floor of the cabin as well as the loading and unloading zones in the terminal. Important announcements are made to the passengers by means of illuminated signs in both parts of the cabin.
Doppelmayr acquires ropeway manufacturer Von Roll, originally founded in 1876 Von Roll Seilbahnen AG, based in Thun, Switzerland, was taken over by Doppelmayr in 1996. In the years that followed, the company completed a significant number of contracts. These included funicular railways in Barcelona (Spain), Falkenburg (Germany) and Moléson (Switzerland) as well as numerous reversible aerial tramways. On May 1, 1999, the company changed its name from Von Roll Seilbahnen AG to Doppelmayr Seilbahnen AG. The Thun-based team, who enjoy a top reputation for professionalism and quality, became the experts for the worldwide market for funiculars, aerial tramways, tricable and special ropeways within the Doppelmayr Group. The 90 employees at the Thun site provide project engineering, construction and service for all ropeways and ropeway types.
First CABLE Liner in Las Vegas The Mandalay Bay Tram opened in 1999 after a construction time of just eight months. This CABLE Liner is the fastest and most convenient link between one of the major transport hubs in Las Vegas (USA) and the world famous Excalibur, Luxor and Mandalay Bay hotels which together offer 12,000 rooms and suites. Escalators, elevators and stairs provide passengers with convenient access to the platforms. Level access, the large car doors and the loading or unloading time of almost one minute make using the CABLE Liner child’s play for older or mobility-impaired people. The cars, which are attached to the haul rope by means of fixed-grip assemblies, run quietly on pneumatic rubber tires. The Mandalay Bay Tram carries over 20 million passengers annually. The guideway located at heights of between five and eight meters above street level and the futuristic design of the trains offering all-round views guarantee a very special ride experience along the most famous amusement mile in Las Vegas.
World’s first funicular railway with ride-height control in Neuchâtel For EXPO.02 in Neuchâtel (Switzerland), Garaventa built the world’s first funicular railway with ride-height control. The city of Neuenburg needed to find a solution for carrying Expo visitors from the Swiss Rail station to the Arteplage as the existing means of public transport had no chance of coping with the passenger volumes at peak times. For this reason, the city was in search of a reliable, ecofriendly and operationally efficient transport system that could be integrated into the built environment. Ultimately, they opted for an underground funicular. In order to cater for mobility-impaired passengers, the gradient inside the cabins was not allowed to exceed 6 percent. The Garaventa project team resolved the problem with an innovative, technical trick. The two cabins carry 126 passengers. Each cabin was split into four individual cells supported by a common chassis. Each cell is pivot-mounted on the chassis and held in a horizontal position throughout the trip by means of a ride-height control system. This ensures that the cabin always stays horizontal – despite a gradient of up to 35 percent.
Merger between Doppelmayr Seilbahnen and Garaventa Seilbahnen Doppelmayr and Garaventa, two leading ropeway manufacturers with a long tradition, merged in 2002. This gave rise to the Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group with its main plants in Wolfurt, Austria, and Goldau, Switzerland. It is here that the technology which has earned these two companies a worldwide reputation is designed and engineered. Doppelmayr Wolfurt is the global competence center for continuous movement ropeway systems such as gondolas and chairlifts; Garaventa Goldau for reversible aerial tramways and funicular railways.
World’s first automobile ropeway in Bratislava In 2002, Volkswagen placed their trust in the innovation capability of the global market leader. The Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group used Funitel technology to meet the customer’s special requirement. A customized transport platform was developed to carry the automobiles from the assembly hall at the VW plant in Bratislava (Slovakia) along a horizontal route to the test track. Over a distance of 450 meters, the vehicles cross the plant’s main road, a railroad line and the parking lots for the cars that are ready for shipment. At the end of their trip, the vehicles are put through their paces in a practical driving test. Company personnel are responsible for loading the automobiles onto the ropeway at one end and unloading them at the other.
World’s first seat heating for chairlifts in Lech and Schröcken The Doppelmayr Group proved its ability to offer top-level chair comfort in 2004. As the first manufacturer worldwide, Doppelmayr offered chairlifts with heated seat upholstery – an innovation that makes the fun of skiing and leisure time all the more enjoyable. The first lifts were equipped with seat heating in Lech and Schröcken in Vorarlberg (Austria) in 2004. Today, heated seats can also be provided on gondola lifts and aerial tramways.
The carrier is heated only in the station via two power rails.
World’s first gondola lift with revolving cabins in Sattel-Hochstuckli The 8-passenger monocable gondola lift “Stuckli Rondo” in Sattel (Switzerland) was the world’s first installation of this type with revolving cabins. In this case, the complete cabin – not just the cabin floor – revolves about its own axis twice during each trip. Level access is provided for loading and unloading from the 19 Conus cabins supplied by CWA. The drive for the cabin rotation is located on the cabin roof and is powered by rechargeable batteries integrated into the cabin floor. The batteries are designed to allow a complete recharge during the night when the cabins are parked. This provides enough electricity to cover power requirements during the day. The cabins are in four different designs with colors that typify the seasons: cool blue for the winter in contrast with warm yellow for summer; fresh green for the spring and red for the fall.
World first: Funitel Galzigbahn with "Ferris wheels" On the Galzigbahn lift, the cabins are transported to the lower level by means of "Ferris wheels". This way, the passengers do not have to take the stairs and can experience a truly special loading and unloading.
Record ropeway: 3S Peak 2 Peak from Whistler Mtn. to Blackcomb Mtn. Doppelmayr connects mountains – in this case, Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain in Canada. The tricable gondola known as the Peak 2 Peak made it into the Guinness World Records with two superlatives: the world record rope span of 3,024 meters and the greatest height above valley floor of 436 meters. This means that the Peak 2 Peak breaks all records for a ropeway of this type. For a truly special ride experience, the cabin also has a glass floor – the best perspective from mountain to mountain.
World first: up to seven children on one chair in Serfaus Completion of the Gampen family lift in the Austrian ski resort Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis set a new milestone in 2008. It was the first chairlift approved for carrying seven children of 90 cm body height and above with just one accompanying adult. This meant a huge benefit for ski schools in particular. A whole series of features ensure that chairlift operations run smoothly. These include a double restraining bar, automatic opening and closing, alternating seat colors for visual identification as well as seat dividers plus reduced transit speed in the loading and unloading zones.
Two material ropeways with world record load capacities of 30 and 40 tons for energy provider Linth-Limmern AG The Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group erected two identical-build heavy-duty aerial tramways for the construction of a new hydropower plant in the Glarus Alps in Switzerland. Material and personnel are transported from the lower terminal at 800 meters up to the new reservoir dam at 2,400 meters. From the base installation site Tierfehd, ropeways provide the only means of reaching the building sites higher up. The first ropeway can transport loads of up to 40 tons, the second up to 30 tons without any problem. In addition, each system has a 40-passenger cabin for transporting personnel. The high payloads and difficult topography make the dimensions particularly impressive. The track ropes alone have a diameter of 90 millimeters and a total weight of over 400 tons for each ropeway. This truly puts these material ropeways in a class of their own.
World first: 3S recovery concept in Koblenz and Sölden The 3S lifts in Koblenz (Germany) and Sölden (Austria) were the first ropeways to incorporate a recovery concept where passengers are not required to leave the cabins in the event of a lift failure. With the new recovery concept, Doppelmayr engineers succeeded in fulfilling a long-held customer wish. The aim of this development was to provide the technical and organizational means to ensure that all cabins can always be safely returned to the nearest station.
The top station as well as the third tower of the 3S gondola lift is built in the permafrost zone. Thus, a special fundament has been constructed including a hydraulic system and ventilation.
3S gondola lift in Koblenz across the Rhine.
World’s first CabriO tramway to the Stanserhorn The Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group continually sets new benchmarks for the ride experience on ropeways. In 2012, the first double-decker tram cabin worldwide with open top deck caused a stir. It gives up to 30 passengers an unhindered and breathtaking view of the mountains around the Swiss lake Vierwaldstättersee. The system is a combination of the Funifor and a reversible aerial tramway. In addition to the open top deck, the track rope positioning to the sides of the cabin and the level compensation system to prevent longitudinal swing of the cabins are also world firsts.
The UK’s first urban ropeway in London The new 10-MGD Emirates Air Line went into service shortly before the start of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. This is the UK’s very first urban ropeway. The gondola lift across the Thames has a length of 1,100 meters and a transport capacity of 2,500 passengers per hour in each direction. It links the Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Victoria Dock and forms an integral part of the public transport network. Both residents and tourists benefit from the new means of transport. Within just two months of opening, the new gondola lift had been used by one million people. As a result of reports in the international press, urban ropeways are increasingly being discussed for many cities around the globe.
10-seater gondola lift Emirates Air Lin in London/Great Britain.