The morning sun slowly rises over the peaks of the “Big Three”, as the three “three-thousanders” are known in Sölden: Gaislachkogl (3,056 m), Tiefenbachkogl (3,250 m) and Schwarze Schneid (3,340 m). During the night, new snow has buried the town of 3,000 inhabitants in Öztal beneath a white carpet. A snow plough clears the road. The lifts are prepared for a day of skiing. It is bitterly cold. The first lights go on in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 camper van at the camping ground near the mountain station. The outdoor fans are participating in an event organized by the cooperation partners Mercedes-Benz and Hymer. As dawn breaks, they prepare for a sunny day on the mountain and a cold night. The challenge for campers in Sölden: spending the night in the camper vans at an altitude of 1,370 m in sub-zero temperatures. Wait a moment, camping in snow and ice? Definitely! Why not?
When camping in the fully integrated Hymermobil ML-I or the partially-integrated Hymer ML-T from the premium camper van manufacturer Hymer, you know that even sub-zero temperatures are no problem at all. On the contrary. The two all-wheel drive all-rounders based on the Sprinter 4×4 provide first class traveling comfort – even in the mountains and at icy temperatures. All of the Hymer camper vans are more than simply factory configured to handle the winter: they are fully winter-proofed. This means that no one will ever freeze in a Hymer camper van. Even the interior of a camper van left completely unheated warms up from -15° to 20° plus in less than four hours. Winter-proofing also means that neither the freshwater nor the waste tanks freeze. These are contained in insulated trays heated with warm air. Compromises in comfort? Quite the opposite!
Camping in the Alps is becoming increasingly popular among outdoor enthusiasts. Instead of staying at hotels, they spend their nights in the high-quality, comfortable and functional Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 converted by Hymer. Between 2012 and 2015, campervan sales increased by 27%, caravan sales by 11%. A longer camping season extending into winter contributes to this success. Alone in 2015, Germany’s campgrounds recorded around 1.3 million overnight stays during the winter months – 63.6% more than in the previous year. “Snow camping” is the trend. Some of the advantages are obvious, others are the product of Mercedes-Benz vehicles combined with Hymer’s experience: winter holidaymakers appreciate the benefits of the location. The ski fields are often near the camping grounds. In Sölden, the Gaislachkogl lift is only 200 meters away and takes skiers to the mountain station at 3,056 meters, one of the three peaks exceeding 3,000 meters. This is the only skiing region in Austria with three 3,000 meter mountains.
In 1971 Hymer places its trust in Mercedes-Benz vans as the basis for its high-quality and comfortable vans. The fully-integrated Hymermobil ML-I and the partially-integrated Hymer ML-T are the current products of this partnership and are based on the Sprinter 4×4. “The cooperation between our companies has a long tradition. Both premium manufacturers produce outstanding products, provide excellent service and shape the development trends”, says Peter Strobach, Head of Body Manufacturer Management at Mercedes-Benz Vans. Hymer and Mercedes-Benz currently offer five jointly developed camper vans beginning with theHymer Van S, continuing with the Hymermobil ML-I, the ML-T and the StarLine along with the first compact van, the Grand Canyon S.
The adventurers at the winter camp in Sölden do not have to face heights like these. Yet the drive takes them over the Timmelsjoch high Alpine road with a height of almost 2,500 meters. The border pass connects Tyrol with South Tyrol – and Austria with Italy. During the challenging and winding mountain crossing between Rescher and Brenner, the powerful all-wheel drive camper vans truly shine thanks to their lightweight design and modern drive systems, tackling inclines of around ten percent with SUV-style handling. On the narrow pass roads, the semi-integrated Hymer ML-T and the fully-integrated Hymermobil ML-I remain agile despite the wintry conditions. They retain a firm grip despite icy and slippery roads thanks to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 base with its extensive safety systems and unmistakably superior driving characteristics.
The Hymer vehicles retain a firm grip despite icy and slippery roads thanks to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 base with its extensive safety systems and unmistakably superior driving characteristics.
Although the all-wheel drive Sprinter is not a “true” off-roader, the raised chassis at the front and rear reflect the vehicle’s all-terrain capabilities. The all-wheel drive Sprinter performs excellently beyond the sealed roads and proves its value as the perfect companion – regardless of whether on sandy roads during the summer or in winter on an Alpine pass among the “Big Three”. Once they arrive, the adventurers park their camper vans and test their own off-road skills on the ski fields, getting the skis out of the spacious camper vans and racing off down the slopes. A camper van is the most spontaneous and flexible option.