The mountain cart track at spitzingsee records up to 120 drivers per day. Photos: Alpenbahnen Spitzingsee, Gisela Schregle
Saviour of the summer season!
In 2016 Alpenbahnen Spitzingsee toyed with the idea of closing the Stümpfling 4-person chairlift in the summer owing to low use, but then came the mountain carts.
Alpenbahnen spitzingsee describes itself as the “heart of Upper bavaria”. In the summer, with the Taubenstein gon- dola lift and the 4-person chairlift, the ski resort offers two systems that carry pas- sengers to highly attractive hiking areas. Nevertheless, capacity use on the stümpfling chairlift facility was previously very low. There was tough competition especially in neighbouring spitzingsee, which is accessible by car.
“In 2016 we even toyed with the idea of closing the facility entirely in the summer,” Managing Director Peter Lorenz reports, but then came the mountaincarts. exactly three years ago, Joachim Jeßberger from MOUNTAINCART introduced his downhill vehicles –in spitzing- see – and Lorenz welcomed him with open arms: “The investment in mountain carts seemed to me to be the least risky.
Whilst we would have spent a lot of money and had a strong impact on nature with a summer toboggan run, we need only a few vehicles and minor work on the track for the mountain carts”. If the downhill attraction had not been popular with visitors, they would have simply sold the vehicles to other destinations, the Managing Director continues.
The track at spitzingsee is 3.5 km long and runs along the forest track from stümpfling chairlift summit station to stümpfling bottom station.
25 percent more guests
However, there was never cause for this. The mountaincarts increased visitor numbers by over 25 percent. “Thanks to the mountaincarts, we can now also keep the stümpfling chairlift facility open in the summer,” Lorenz is pleased to state. In the meantime, the mountaincart fleet has rown from ten to 40 vehicles.
Each mountaincart is hired an average of once per day, “although we record up to 120 rentals on peak days,” Lorenz emphasises. Most visitors have at least two goes, as the hire charge of 13 euros includes up to three trips. “In addition, the ascent by chairlift costs nine euros, or 22 euros for three trips,” Lorenz explains the price structure. Children also pay 13 euros to hire the mountaincarts, although at five euros (for one trip) or eleven euros (for three trips) the ascent prices are cheaper.
Managing Director of Alpenbahnen spitzingsee
“In 2016 we toyed with the idea of closing the chairlift facility entirely in the summer. however, thanks to the mountaincarts, we have gained 25 percent more visitors within only three years and we have done it with no large or risky investments. The customers – and even we ourselves – are impressed by the handling, low centre of gravity and wide wheelbase of the vehicles. Mountaincart driving is easy and safe!”
Embankments rather than crash barriers
Visitors pay the fee for the mountaincart and chairlift ticket at the bottom station and have to leave their driving licence, identity card or similar there as a deposit. “This protects us from theft,” Lorenz says. Mountaincarts are not hired to people under the influence of alcohol. “hirers” receive the mountaincarts after a training session at the summit station, which they must sign to confirm.
Meanwhile, the vehicles are transported up using specially designed holders on the chairlift seats. Visitors then travel down the 3.5 kilometre track in up to 15 minutes. The gravel path is closed to traffic by means of a barrier and denoted with warning and information signs. “Earth embankments, which we have built up especially, serve as guardrails on the corners,” Lorenz elaborates.
Before each summer season, the track is repaired and it is also driven over by a member of staff every day both before opening and in the middle of the day. “our checks on the vehicles ensure additional safety. After each trip, our employees trained by MOUNTAINCART conduct a brief check on the brakes and tyres,” the Managing Director says.
If necessary, the vehicles are repaired in our own workshop. “As we are very close to bad Aibling, the headquarters of MOUNTAINCART, we receive spare parts very quickly. Furthermore, the stock there is extremely comprehensive,” Lorenz enthuses.
Many repeat drivers
“In total we employ up to five people to handle the mountain carts business,” the Managing Director continues. especially during peak times, every member of staff is needed. In addition to families, the users of the mountaincarts in spitzing- see are mainly groups.
After a trial run, most visitors immediately want to go again. or, as Lorenz summarises: “The customers – and even we ourselves – are impressed by the handling, low centre of gravity and wide wheelbase. Mountaincart driving is easy and safe!” ts
Mountain Summer 2019: news from Mountencart
Summer is here – and with it the flow of visitors has begun at the over 70 destina- tions that now have a mountaincart hire operation. This year too, many stations are therefore once again increasing their mountaincart provision. In some places, hire fleets of over 100 mountaincarts have been created with 30,000, 50,000 or 70,000 runs per summer season and per destination, which are a huge boost to the cable car business.
Mountencart works in close cooperation its partners on site and benefits from the resulting wealth of experience from over ten years of commercial mountaincart hire operations with a total of over two million visitor runs completed for continuous improvement of the fun sports equipment with respect to safety, ease of maintenance and ease of handling.
This year, destinations focusing on children, such as Wunderwiese in Puchberg am schneeberg (Lower Austria), are therefore now relying on the already proven crowd puller – just like Zermatt in the Canton of Valais, where a spectacular but demanding track over 3,000 metres above sea level awaits visitors to the rothorn.
Once again this year, this has convinced further destinations such as Großarl in Salzburger Land, Kreischberg in styria or Oberwiesenthal in the ore Mountains to use the tried and tested product from the Upper bavarian town of bad Aibling. Even on draglifts, the mountaincarts impress with their safe and easy handling, and vi sitors this year are making extensive use of this, for example in Altenberg in the ore Mountains or in the Norwegian resort of Sirdal.