Yes, we are back. Even if a bit late like the last time, but with a new gem…
We wanted to answer to the question: “How is the life of a cabin driver?” So, we annoied three of our drivers, who are different for age, origin and years of cable car activity. In this way, we are able to present you three different opinions about how to be a driver and how their life is. With this funny interview, we are trying to give you the opportunity to lose yourself in the “behind the scenes” of Marmolada cable car.
The world of the cabin drivers or of the cable car workers in general is mainly male, made of heavy jobs and huge efforts. Even if you are seeing them standing in the cabin, pushing a button every day, behind there is much more. At the beginning of their career, every guy is followed by a more expert colleague, who teaches them everything they need to know about the cabin, about how to drive it and about every emergency that could happen and that they may have to face. They are hence trained to answer properly and immediately to every problem, and this allows you all to travel in total security.
Furthermore, they are not always standing still in the cabin, before the opening time and at the closure, you might see them climbing on the roof of the car, placing the blocking system on the brakes, or clearing the snow, or just checking that everything is in order, and believe us, observing them up there, even if they are always in total security thanks to the harness, makes you feel uncomfortable.
Hanged to a cable they climb up and down with their cabin the whole day, they are the cabin drivers, to whom we are giving voice through this amusing interview…
- How old are you?
R: 43 years old
W: 42 years old
P: 22 years old
- Nick name here on the cable car
W: Mmm, maybe “Capissi” (“Understand”)
P: At the moment I don’t have one, or at least I don’t know if they had given me one.
- Where do you come from?
R: Meana Sardo (NU)
W: Falcade (BL)
P: Taibon Agordino (BL)
- Since when have you been working on Marmolada cable car?
R: Since December 2002
W: Since 3 years ago
P: Since December 2016, so it is more than a year yet.
- How did you find this job?
R: A friend of mine knew that I was looking for a job, he was already working here on the Marmolada, and he asked me if I had fear of heights. He told me about this vacant job on the cable car, at that moment I didn’t even know what a cable car was.
W: A colleague told me about a vacant job on the Marmolada, and here I am.
P: After high school, I’ve been looking for a job for a while and then I found this place thanks to Agordo employment center.
- How is your ordinary day at work?
R: I arrive at Banc station with my colleagues, then I take my place into cabin number 3 and I take them all to Serauta station. Then, if we need it, I’ll take barrels of water to Serauta [Fiore is speeking about the transport of water in barrels from one station to the other, in order to fill the different tanks ndr.] and then we do the technical trip. After the opening, I drive up and down tourists, and in the evening I take again up barrels of water, if we need it and I place the blocking system on the pistons of the brakes (it is necessary), finally, I go back to the valley together with the other workers.
W: My day isn’t too much different from Fiore’s one. Just the beginning changes, because I work on the first section of the cable car, so I have to stay in Malga Ciapela, while the others go up on the Marmolada. While they are travelling toward the top I help Gianni to place the protection nets at the end of the ski slope in Winter and then I drive up the restaurant employees up to Banc station. In the evening, I am the one who does the last trip downhill with tourists, and I stay in Malga Ciapela until also the other workers come down.
P: Neither my day on the cable car is different, only the beginning and the end change, because I have to reach Punta Rocca everyday, and at that point, there are no more colleagues to take uphill!
- What do you like about your job?
R: This job has many different positive aspects, like the friendship that I was able to create with my colleagues or the fact that I am constantly in contact with other people, etc.
W: As Fiore said, there are many different positive aspects, there isn’t one that is more important than the others.
P: The friendship that is born with my colleagues is certainly one of the aspects, which I like more in this job. Second comes the landscape. Even if at a certain point you get used to it, it’s always breath-taking.
- What don’t you like about your job?
R: Anything, unless I wouldn’t have stayed there in the cabin for 15 years.
P: Anything in particular.
- Which one of the three section is your favourite?
R: Honestly, I can’t choose one. I worked on every section and no one seemed to me better or worse than the others.
W: The first one. The difference in height covered in a trip is something unique.
P: I worked mainly on the first and on the third sections. From the point of view of the landscape, even if it is different, from both this two sections it is amazing. However, if I can be honest, I’m more attached to the first one, because it’s here where for the first time I met my future place of work, my first cabin.
- When you were just a kid, working on a cable car was already in your dreams?
R: Honestly, I didn’t even know what a cable car was, and even concerning my dream job, I hadn’t one.
W: No, I wanted to be an helicopter pilot.
P: To be honest, I lived different phase in my childhood concerning my dream job. Before, I wanted to work as a bricklayer, like my grandpa, then I dreamed of working as an electrician, and finally, my still current dream job is to be a train driver.
- Has it ever happened to you a funny episode that is still making you laugh?
R: There are so many episodes that happened to me in 15 years that I can’t really choose one.
W: Everyday, I witness funny episodes, but something that really happen every single day is the difficulty of some tourists to walk off the cabin with their skiing equipment. Because of their briskness, they often risk to fall on the floor, luckily it never happened, but it makes me smile every time.
P: Many episodes happened, but there are two of them, which made me particularly smile. The first one happened some weeks ago, when a man asked me how many engines were connected to the carriage on the cabin roof [The cabins are not provided with engines ndr.]. The second one didn’t happen directly to me, but to one of my colleagues while I was there. A man came and asked him if the new panoramic lifts of Punta Rocca station could drive him directly on the Fedaia Pass [They are used to drive people from the boarding area to the glacier – 5 different floors ndr.].
- In your opinion, which is the main strength of Marmolada? Which is its weakness?
R: Its strength is certainly the landscape. Its weakness can be the fact that it’s too far from the main big cities.
W: The incredible landscape that you can enjoy from here above is certainly a strength of the Marmolada, while I can’t really think about a weakness yet.
P: In my opinion, Marmolada has different points of strength, like the glacier, the long ski slope in Winter and the breath taking landscape in every season. The only weakness that I can think about is the lack of public means of transport, able to connect it with the main touristic and well-known cities in the surroundings.
- Is there something that you would like to ameliorate in our cable car?
R: I really don’t know, for me it’s already good like that.
W: For me, it doesn’t need any improvement.
P: No, because it’s already leading edge.
- What would you like to say to people reading this post?
R: We work in a beautiful place, why don’t you come to visit it?
W: Landscape is breath-taking, come to enjoy it!
P: Come to visit us to admire this unique landscape and to lose yourself into the history, which permeates this places. We are waiting for you in our cabins!
And with those invitations, we close this interview. We are happy to have undertaken this trip along the three sections of the cable car with Roberto, Willi and Patrik. They, as well as their colleagues, will be waiting for you in the cabins of our cable car to drive you up to the top of the Dolomites Queen. We will be waiting for you instead, here on our blog for another cable car interview.
A massive thanks goes to Roberto, Willi and Patrik for spending with us some of their time, but also to you, who have read this post.
Your team of cable car storytellers