1967-2017 50 years has passed since the first time that a cabin of Marmolada cable car brought tourists to the top. 50 years of activity, among ups and downs, passing through historically important events, like the Cold War, reaching the new millennium still working, still ready to drive to the top of the Dolomites Queen swarms of people, which before could have never climbed alone up to such an altitude.
Marmolada is a mountain that had always been admired from below up. This until the second half of the nineteenth century, when the first climbers arrived on the top, annoying eagles living up there. Paul Grohmann was the first one to reach Punta Penia, together with two mountain guides: Angelo and Fulgenzio Dimai, on September, 28 1864 (two years before he conquered Punta Rocca together with Pellegrino Pellegrini, a mountain guide from Rocca Pietore). Mountain-climbing left then place to the war, a terrible war, which ended up to be fought on and under the glacier. A war which left its mark.
Then tourism arrived and a lot of people began to climb on the glacier to ski on it, but it was only in the first Sixties that Furio Bianchet, mountain lover and pioneer of the epoch, had an idea, which changed the destiny of the Pettorina Valley: a cable car, which should bring even the worst climber ever up to the top, where only eagles dare to arrive. The idea was born and since the first moment, it was appreciated by the local authorities and population, which saw in it the best way to exit from their status of poverty and nearly forced migration. Up to that moment, agriculture had been the only source of income for the inhabitants of the whole Agordino valley, so they hoped that the beginning of a mass tourism epoch would finally bring them wealth.
The main problem to succeed in the project was a lack of funds to invest in it. Luckily, in the end, they came to, thanks to the Vascellari family, which still today is running this cable car. Valentino, Bruno, and Giorgio supported immediately Bianchet’s project, in fact they thought too that it could ameliorate the life of the whole valley, so they they dedicated themselves to it.
The building of the cable car was not easy at all, most of all due to the lay of the land, and to bad weather conditions (snow was often falling), but in the end, on July, 30th 1967, engines began to work for the first time.
Since then, the cable car went continuously under maintenance and development works, to keep up with the times. The last works were done in 2017, with the creation of two new panoramic lifts in Punta Rocca station, which are giving the opportunity to people with or without handicaps to descend directly on the glacier from the boarding area. In 2017, it was also organised a calendar of events for the 50th anniversary since the first opening of the cable car. a photo exhibition was organised to celebrate this moment and it will be open for the whole Winter season in Punta Rocca station.