Ramon Zenhäusern vs. Cat 301.8 – Duel at the Matterhorn
The world has never seen a race like this! At almost 3800m; Ramon Zenhäusern, Olympic silver medallist in 2018, competes against the next-generation mini excavator. Who will make the race?
Behind the scenes & Galerie | Making-of (end of February 2021)
"Rock your business!" Ready for action, no matter what surface and no matter how tight the working space is. The new generation of Cat mini excavators offers industry-first features; with stick steer control, DAB+ Bluetooth radio, air conditioning in 1-2 tonne machines (optional), and cruise control, plus outstanding performance figures and reduced maintenance costs through innovative use of identical parts.
Christoph Zaugg, 36, Cat construction machinery demonstrations
You drove the excavator in the race against Ramon - was it a production model or specially equipped for the shoot? Instead of rubber tracks, we used steel tracks with spikes to have enough traction on the snow. Otherwise, the 301.8 was a normal production model. How did the engine run at 3800 m above sea level? Driving uphill is indeed really tough. The power is slightly lower than in the lowlands. Nevertheless, it went surprisingly well, which of course speaks for the drive. What was the most difficult thing about driving on the snow? The more you are perpendicular to the slope, the more you slide. What do you personally like most about the new Cat mini excavators? The stick steer control. It makes the work so much more comfortable. The tilt cab is also perfect, especially for maintenance. How do you actually become a demonstrator? You have to be crazy about construction machinery and like to be on the road. In 2020, I had 252 machine demonstrations so far. What was the craziest? Hmm. Certainly not the operation on the glacier. A race in a mini excavator on the ski slope against an Olympic medallist - completely normal, right?!
Ramon, the film shoot on the ski slope and the race against the mini excavator - part of the game for a professional like you or how was it?
It was definitely extraordinary. I have a special connection to the subject. As a little boy, it was my dream to become an excavator operator. The force and power fascinated me from a young age.
When was the last time you sat in an excavator?
Phew, that was at least 20 years ago. We had a construction site in front of our house in Visp. I watched the whole time and then I really wanted to get in.
There is a sequence in the commercial where you drive the excavator yourself. What was that like?
It is really challenging. You have two joysticks. It's hard to control them all the time. I have respect for those who do it every day.
How does it compare to the excavators you used to ride in as a kid?
It is unbelievable how comfortable the new machines are. With digital radio and Bluetooth, so you can listen to your own music from your mobile phone. There is even cruise control.
Speaking of music: "Rock your business" is the promise
of the next generation of Cat mini excavators. What sound would Ramon Zenhäusern play in the excavator cab?
It depends on what mood I am in. Normally I like to listen to pop music on the radio. If it is supposed to be quieter, then Wintershome. A group from Zermatt, good colleagues of mine, with whom we also went skiing.
When you finish your career as a professional skier, will you have a second career at the joystick?
Who knows (laughs). In any case, I could very well imagine spending a year driving an excavator!