Outside of Slovenia the Simnovec chairlift is virtually unknown. Situated as a conduit between the Kamniska Bistrica valley and Velika Planina, the lift serves for much of the year as the only means of transportation to a wide range of mountain huts and tourist cottages – the need for a double chairlift to ensure the ongoing viability of businesses tasked with providing refreshments and shelter for hikers ensured the unanimous agreement from the local community when restoration of the lift was first mooted.
For such a project to be completed without complication reflects the collective desire of all parties to not only conclude the renovation in a timely manner but is also a rarity in Slovenia, the requisite finance being successfully sourced and ring-fenced in a country where investment for tourism infrastructure projects is increasingly hard to come by. Slated to operate throughout the year, the Simnovec lift is predicted to reopen for business within the next week, once mandatory testing and technical inspections have been signed off. In service since 1964 the chairlift was due an extensive refit which includes the replacement of all the lift’s supporting pillars and the introduction of safer, more contemporary electrical and operating mechanisms. Despite the relative modesty of a project that culminated this spring it is nonetheless a boost to the local mountain community that the lift will be fully functioning to coincide with the peak summer season, providing much needed income before a temperamental winter period that, due to the unpredictability of Slovenia’s climate, offers fewer financial guarantees.
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