Since last winter, skiers at The Remarkables Ski Area in New Zealand have been able to experience the latest ropeway technology from Doppelmayr/Garaventa when riding on the new Sugar Bowl Express. Visitors can now access terrain parks in just four minutes, directly from the base building. The new D-line high-speed 6-seater chairlift from Doppelmayr/Garaventa is the first of its kind in New Zealand, bringing a new generation of chairlift design and technology to the country’s ski industry. “The Sugar Bowl Express lift has been a few years coming,” ski area manager Ross Lawrence said. “Since the first concept until today, we have experienced a couple of delays but I’m excited skiers and boarders can now enjoy a faster ride and explore the 2.5 km of new trails we’ve developed up there.”
The Covid-19 pandemic caused unforeseen challenges for the teams. Doppelmayr/Garaventa engineers needed to be creative when it came to the commissioning of the chairlift. Due to the coronavirus travel restrictions in place at the time, it was not possible to get specialists from Wolfurt (AUT) to New Zealand. In very close collaboration with the local Doppelmayr/Garaventa team, however, the engineers were able to perform commissioning remotely using digital tools with augmented reality features. The success of this unique procedure was only possible thanks to the commitment of the team in Wolfurt, the professional work of the crew in New Zealand and the specific conditions of this particular ropeway.
The splicing team faced the same challenge. But since splicing a rope is something only few people can do, the New Zealand authorities allowed a Swiss splicing expert to enter the country. He quarantined for two weeks before splicing the rope of the Sugar Bowl Express. With the support of a local crew of 20, they had the job done in only a day.