Christian Zimmermann travels the world a lot: an indoor ski area in New Zealand, a mountain railway in Korea, a ski lift in Argentina, and a cross-country skating rink in Finland.
Baiersbronn-Mitteltal – but if winter sports are so popular in the Black Forest you can meet them there. In its ski lifts on the Vogelskopf in Württemberg in the Baiersbronn region or in the ski lift on the Zuflucht in the region of Freudenstadt. Then it returns to its roots. “The more time I have,” admits the 53-year-old businessman.
Christian Zimmermann was born and raised in Mitttal and lived in Baden-Baden for nearly 20 years. He is the founder and owner of the consulting company “Eco-SnowDrive”, which specializes in providing advice and support for the construction of mountain railways, ski lifts and ski halls. It all started with parent ski lifts and a smart idea: Christian Zimmermann trains snow train drivers and teaches how to environmentally and economically set up a ski slope while saving up to 50 percent of fuel. “With a consumption of about 50 liters per hour, that’s a lot,” he says with a smile.
But from the start. Christian Zimmerman was definitely not born with global business relationships, not even when he started his career as a trainee at his parents’ distillery. But even more than the fire water from the Black Forest, the boy was interested in the huge snow cats that his father Klaus Erik used to prepare the snow in his Vogelskopf ski lift, built in 1969, and which he bought in 1980.
Even as a child, the boy had so much experience maneuvering with heavy machinery that he soon belonged to the PistenBully team of the all-terrain vehicle manufacturer Kässbohrer. There he trained himself as a ‘development assistant’ to test the driver and sales manager in the short term in theory and practice, and soon afterwards he became self-employed, still working in conjunction with a company from Laupheim.
In addition, he developed the two family-owned lifts – which also included the Lamm elevator in Kniebis for many years – into ultra-modern systems. It controls elevators equipped with web cameras via computer to a large extent.
The idea came while on vacation
She gave him a ski vacation in Austria and a “poorly equipped” slope there was the idea of creating what would potentially be the world’s first driving school for snow train drivers. A school where drivers must learn to effectively and economically use the diversity of devices in practical use.
The same applies to vehicles used to maintain cross-country ski runs. His knowledge of artificial snow and snow, wind and weather, and his talent for machines and systems pervaded the industry.
Zimmermann was brought in as a consultant for new systems or as a specialist in retrofitting wheelchair lifts and gondola lifts.
His duties range from issuing system bids to overseeing or submitting construction work. This includes an indoor ski area in Kuala Lumpur that operates 365 days a year, and more recently an indoor ski area in New Zealand. “It’s profitable,” says Zimmerman with satisfaction.
He can hardly forget his most exciting mission: “That was Mount Hermon in Israel, which is an elevator in the prohibited military zone at an altitude of more than 2,200 meters in the border area between Lebanon, Israel and Syria, and thus it was targeted by thousands of missiles.”
Despite its breadth, Christian Zimmermann remains an important concern in the Black Forest: “allowing children and families to enjoy winter sports in their home.”