During our ski trips I have always been impressed by the mighty Pistenbully’s. They have around 600 HP and cost above 450.000 euro. Lots of times I have been admiring the machines when parked aside or passing by. It became quickly a bucket list item to join a driver when he is preparing the slopes. Thanks to a colleague at work I learned that you can even ride them yourself in Montafon.
After our ski trip in Solden we drove home via Arlberg towards Montafon. We were expected around16:00 in the Valisera Hüsli mountain lodge to meet the snow groomer driver for a technical breefing. You have the option to be a passenger (65€) or drive the machine yourself (185€). Although it was not a cheap option, I selected the driver option, to get the maximum out of the experience.
After a 5 minute explanation we were ready to go. The weather was not that great, and we started towards a slope nearby. When my companion said to turn right, where I saw nothing except endless deepness I was afraid and asked 3 time if he was sure. He laughted at me and then I finally turned right. The machine started to heel over and then we came on a steep red slope. I feeling to drive down a steep red slope was impressive!
As we continued down the slope, the view decreased and we nearly saw anything. I was lucky to have a brand new Pistenbully which is equipped with a GPS system on which you can see the slopes and you can follow where you have been riding. However, as the view was so bad, I was asked to ride towards the other side of the resort, where the view was much better. During that ride, my attendant was making a little movie of me driving the Pistenbully.
During the ride I talked a bit with Mario, the driver, about their life as Pistenbully driver. He shared some great stories and insights in what it takes to prepare the slopes for the next day. Huge respect goes to these guys!
When we were done, we got a Pistenbully driver license and could take some pictures with the awesome machines.
When going down with the elevator around 17:45 we were also privileged to leave the ski resort together with the employees working in the lodges and restaurants. Also here we could talk a bit about their experiences and learn a bit about their side of wintersport as well.