In 1962, former Formula 1 driver Ernst Prinoth developed his first snow groomer in Val Gardena/Gröden. In doing so, he changed modern skiing forever and laid the foundation for an international company that today operates three successful business units with a wide range of different applications. This year, PRINOTH turns 60 and celebrates the anniversary with a party for customers and employees - and with the presentation of the world's first snow groomer powered by a hydrogen combustion engine.
Vipiteno, Italy "Customer service, innovation and sustainability are at the heart of our corporate philosophy. These principles guide our decisions and actions," emphasizes Klaus Tonhäuser, President of the PRINOTH Group. "That's why, even in an extremely difficult economic environment, we invested heavily in the two most important pillars of our company: our employees and research and development." The result: in addition to the electric HUSKY eMOTION, which went into series production this year, PRINOTH presented the LEITWOLF h2MOTION, the world's first snow groomer powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, in December 2020. Just in time for the 60th anniversary, PRINOTH now has a second version of the snow groomer. It is powered by a hydrogen combustion engine from FPT Industrial and is once again the world's first vehicle of its kind.
PRINOTH employs over 900 people worldwide. Since 2000, the company has been part of the High Technology Industries (HTI) Group. In 2003, PRINOTH moved into its new headquarters including a production site in the industrial area of Sterzing, sharing a campus with LEITNER and DEMACLENKO. United under the umbrella of the HTI Group, the three companies offer complete solutions in the winter sports sector.
Following company acquisitions, PRINOTH produces snow groomers as well as tracked utility vehicles and machines for vegetation management at four locations worldwide. In 2009, PRINOTH purchased the Canadian company Camoplast (formerly Bombardier), expanding its business to include tracked utility vehicles. Since 2011, PRINOTH has worked closely with German forestry machinery manufacturer AHWI, which was fully acquired in 2016. In 2021, the portfolio in the area of vegetation management was decisively expanded through the addition of Jarraff Industries. The PRINOTH now has vehicles and products for every step of infrastructure construction and maintenance with the RAPTOR and PANTHER series and the JARRAFF All-Terrain Tree Trimmer.
The three business units are always in close communication. "The requirements of our customers from the various applications, the technology and the know-how give us the opportunity to drive developments even faster and more professionally—whether it's climate-friendly drives, digitalization or process optimization," Klaus Tonhäuser emphasizes.
The beginnings of the company
At the beginning of the 1960s, skiing in Europe experienced its first peak. But the slopes were barely prepared, if at all, and accidents and injuries were the order of the day. The former Formula 1 racing driver Ernst Prinoth observed this situation. In the early 1950s, he had opened a car repair shop in his native Val Gardena right next to his home. He saw the solution to the problem in the mechanical treatment of the slopes by vehicles that combine two very different requirements: high performance and low weight. Inspired by the specific characteristics of racing cars, he drove the first prototype, the P60, safely down the steepest slopes in 1962.
Three years later, Ernst Prinoth prepared the slopes for the World Ski Championships in Seefeld, Tyrol, in front of cameras from all over the world with his first mass-produced snow groomer, the P15. Excellent customer service and technical innovations have been at the heart of the company since those early years, and its vehicles are also known for their distinctive design.
PRINOTH has sales and service partners in more than 80 countries and manufactures in Sterzing/Italy (snow groomers), Granby/Canada (tracked utility vehicles, snow groomers), Herdwangen/Germany and St. Peter/USA (vegetation management).
The High Technology Industries (HTI) Group is a global player in the areas of ropeways (LEITNER and Poma), snow groomers and tracked utility vehicles (PRINOTH), snowmaking (DEMACLENKO) and wind energy (LEITWIND). After surpassing the one billion euro sales mark in 2018 and 2019, the HTI Group closed 2020 and 2021, both of which were marked by the Corona pandemic, with sales of over 850 million euros and invested over 50 million euros in research and development in the last two years. More than 3,800 employees work for the HTI Group worldwide.