14 Years of Collaboration Between Doppelmayr-Garaventa and Sun Group

When it faced what many believed was an insurmountable engineering challenge, in 2007, Sun Group turned to Doppelmayr-Garaventa, the world's leading manufacturer of ropeways, cable cars and ski lifts.

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Over the years, these two groups have consistently achieved remarkable feats and created a lasting legacy in Vietnam.

Alpine Engineering

The Alps have played a significant role in numerous historic engineering achievements and innovations throughout history. Dating back over 2,500 years, the ancient Celts inhabited the foothills of these mountains and fueled the iron age through their skilled blacksmithing. In more contemporary times, the engineering brilliance in this region has persisted, exemplified by renowned Swiss watchmakers.

Given the rugged terrain of the area, it was only natural that modern engineers would create a way to make traversing the Alpine slopes easier. In the early 1900s, the first-ever ropeway installation was constructed. This innovative system consisted of a barrel and tractor setup, powered by horses or watermills.

After the conclusion of World War I in 1919, tourism began to thrive for the first time in Lech and Zürs, Austria. Skiing had become a popular regional sport and recreational activity, enjoyed not only by the privileged few. As a result, the region’s infrastructure expanded, necessitating access to the ski slopes.

Doppelmayr, a renowned family-owned company, was the pioneer in producing ski lifts for the practice slope in Zürs. Initially focused on constructing small material and passenger ropeways, the company made global waves in 1925 with the introduction of the world’s first fully automatic elevator. Impressively, within a decade, Doppelmayr constructed its inaugural monumental ski lift in Zürs.

Doppelmayr-Garaventa and Sun Group - 14 years together
 Kondrad Doppelmayr and the company’s first ski lift.

The installation, completed in 1937, featured impressive specifications. It spanned a length of 390 meters, with a vertical rise of 150 meters, and an impressive hourly transport capacity of 420 passengers. This innovative surface lift served as Austria’s pioneer in the ropeway industry, setting the stage for a rich tradition that extended beyond the nation’s borders.

In 1967, Artur Doppelmayr, the grandson of founder Kondrad Doppelmayr, assumed the position of managing director at the company. With the rapid global growth of alpine recreation during the latter half of the 20th century, Artur’s pioneering leadership propelled Doppelmayr to become a global frontrunner in the construction of ropeways. Continuously pushing boundaries, the company consistently set and surpassed numerous world records in their field.

A Historic Alliance: Sun Group and Doppelmayr

In 2007, the visionary founders of Sun Group in Vietnam were faced with a formidable challenge: reviving the dormant tourism destination of Ba Na, a former mountain refuge for French emigrants during colonial times. The area had been neglected for years due to its limited road accessibility.

During that time, the ascent to the mountain’s peak was a lengthy journey that required multiple hours on a meandering road. Recognizing the need for an expedient solution, Sun Group’s executives foresaw the practicality of a cable car system. However, they pondered over the challenge of finding the right team to construct such a system in Ba Na Hills. Located at an elevation of 1,485 meters and situated more than 42km away from the city of Da Nang, along the coast of Central Vietnam, this endeavor would require exceptional expertise and resources.

Doppelmayr-Garaventa and Sun Group - 14 years together

The cable car at Ba Na Hills is recognized as one of the longest and most impressive cable cars globally, enabling visitors to conquer the highest peak in the area. It also holds the record for having the largest vertical difference between its upper and lower stations, further adding to its distinction.

Cable cars are a favored form of transportation in ski resorts, typically found high up on mountain plateaus at considerable elevation above sea level. However, in the case of Ba Na Hills situated in the outskirts of Da Nang, the departure station is located near sea level on the foothills. As a result, the distance between the mountain base and the summit is considerable.

Doppelmayr-Garaventa and Sun Group - 14 years together
 

Sun Group partnered with Doppelmayr, the renowned global leader in ropeways, cable cars, and ski lifts, for their monumental project. This decision was fueled by the visionary leadership of Michael, the ambitious and adventurous son of the late great Artur, who had recently retired. In 2002, Doppelmayr joined forces with the esteemed Swiss expert for aerial tramways and funicular railways, the Garaventa Group, to create the powerful entity known as Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group.

The construction of the Ba Na Hills cable car posed a unique challenge for the experienced Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group, known for their expertise in building cable car systems worldwide. This project held special significance due to the additional environmental element involved. From the outset, Sun Group, the project’s sponsor, emphasized their commitment to preserving the surrounding forest. Recognizing the importance of protecting the unique natural setting around Ba Na Hills, the workers painstakingly ascended the steep slopes, gradually assembling the cable car system piece by piece.

Doppelmayr-Garaventa and Sun Group - 14 years together

Ba Na Hills cable car holds two Guinness World Records. It was opened to the public on 29 March 2013 and is recognized as the longest cable car in the world, spanning a total length of 5,042.62m. Additionally, it holds the record for the largest difference between the upper and lower stations worldwide, with a staggering distance of 1,292.81m. This incredible feat was achieved through the collaboration of Doppelmayr/Garaventa and Sun Group, proving that the impossible can be conquered.

The innovative creation has become a globally recognized attraction, captivating visitors with its visionary design. In recognition of its excellence, it was awarded the prestigious title of “World’s Leading Cable Car Ride 2019” at the esteemed World Travel Awards (WTA), often hailed as the ‘Oscars of the world tourism industry’.

The landmark project has not only breathed new life into Ba Na Hills, but also significantly impacted the city of Da Nang, attracting a growing number of tourists.

Since collaborating on the Ba Na Hills cable car project, Doppelmayr/Garaventa and Sun Group have forged a strong and ongoing partnership. Together, they have successfully completed numerous prestigious projects in Vietnam, breaking multiple world records and revolutionizing the country’s tourism industry.

The collaboration between two corporate giants resulted in the impressive creation of a cable car system, connecting the picturesque hill station of Sapa to the summit of Fansipan, the highest peak in the entire Indochina region. This engineering marvel showcases the exceptional skills of Doppelmayr/Garaventa. Another notable achievement by the company can be witnessed at the renowned UNESCO world heritage site, Ha Long Bay, where they have successfully installed a remarkable cable car system. These projects exemplify the remarkable capabilities and expertise of Doppelmayr/Garaventa in creating extraordinary installations in extraordinary locations.

“The installation of the Ha Long Queen Cable Car presented our team with a significant challenge,” stated Arno Inauen, the CEO of Garaventa AG, a subsidiary of Doppelmayr Garaventa in Switzerland. “It was truly an unforgettable experience as we encountered numerous obstacles during the rope installation process, which had to be executed at a remarkable height of 50 meters above sea level,” he added.

The Ha Long tramway, which was inaugurated in June 2016, made its mark by setting two world records. It boasts the largest aerial tramway cabins in the world, with a capacity of 230 passengers per cabin, and boasts the tallest ropeway tower, reaching a height of 188.88 meters. Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group, the company responsible for this remarkable feat, acknowledges the invaluable contribution of the Vietnamese engineers and workers who tirelessly dedicated their skills and efforts to bring these ambitious projects to fruition.

The aforementioned projects have significantly revolutionized the local tourism sector. Previously, accessing Ba Na Hills and Mount Fansipan in Sapa was only possible through precarious and meandering roads. Likewise, the breathtaking and unparalleled beauty of Ha Long was restricted to eye-level observations or confined to tour boats. As a result of these developments, tourists now have enhanced accessibility and opportunities to fully experience these destinations.

Sun Group and Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group are widely regarded as pioneers and innovators. With a keen eye for potential and a willingness to experiment with new ideas, both companies have earned their trailblazing reputation. Their ropeway installations, meticulously designed and constructed, have been acknowledged by Guinness World Records and have played a significant role in putting Vietnam on the global stage.

Arno Inauen expressed his pride in sharing the exceptional recent achievements in Vietnam with our future partners.

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