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1. The Penkenbahn, Mayrhofen, Austria

16:00 12th December 2013 by Chris Moran @chrismoranACM


Photo: James McPhail


Type: Gondola.

Route: Just outside the Sporthotel Strasse in Mayrhofen’s town centre right to the top of the Ubungsland Penken, a kilometre above.

Highest point above the ground: 170 metres.

Age: Built in the early 1990′s.

What happens? From the bottom it looks like a regular lift, perhaps a little scary as it goes over the town centre and climbs high above the river meandering through the valley. But it’s when the lift hits the one and only pylon that things really hot up. After going through an un-necessary dog-leg, the gondolas take on a sustained gap of horrifying height until the top station catches and releases each load of trembling tourists.

Dangers: High winds – a regular occurrence in the Zillertal valley – can make the gondolas swing violently.

Random fact: The family that owns the Sporthotel Strasse paid for the gondola to be re-routed (hence the dogleg) so that their hotel would be the closest to Mayerhofen’s main lift.

Chance of it coming off the cable: Unlikely, given it’s the valley’s premier lift. Having said that, the gondolas do clamp themselves to the cable, and there’s always the chance of a freak gust…. But at least you’d get to recite the Lord’s Prayer in full before you hit the ground.

Don’t get on… if you hate sustained vertical drops in swinging gondolas.


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