Ski-slope gondolas prove a surprise for Horsham shoppers

A pair of ski-slope gondolas in Horsham town centre have been turning shoppers’ heads.

Passersby have been giving the gondolas - on the pavement outside Johansson’s Cafe in Horsham’s Bishopric - a double-take.

The unusual pieces of ‘furniture’ have been fitted with tables and chairs to provide an undercover outdoor dining area for the Swedish cafe.

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Cafe owner Rene Fay said: “People seem to love them.”

Gondolas outside Johannson's cafe in Horsham's Bishopric. Photo: Arnie Wilson

The gondolas were previously used to ferry skiers up the slopes of Courchevel in the French Alps and were reclaimed by Rene’s husband Mark, himself a passionate skier and snowboarder.

He runs a company called Alpine Accessories which offers original ski chairs and gondolas, along with ski and snowboard furniture from various Alpine resorts.

Rene said: “Some people have never been skiing and find it fascinating to sit in one of the gondolas.

“We have also had people who have been there in the resort - so they love it too.”

Rene Fay, owner of Johannson's Cafe in Horsham's Bishopric

Rene herself is originally from the small town of Orsa in Dalarna, Sweden.

“I always had an urge to travel and, having lived in various places around the world, first arrived in Horsham around the year 2000.”

She spent years as cabin crew flying out of Gatwick and Heathrow but moved to Austria and started a bed and breakfast with husband Mark in 2008.

“After eight years, two daughters and a dog, we decided to move back to the UK,” she said.

Customers love the 'outdoor dining area' outside Johansson's Cafe in Horsham. Photo: Arnie Wilson

“I always dreamt of opening a café so I did.

“We first opened our doors in September 2020 and it’s been a rollercoaster of lockdowns, tier systems and all.

“But all in all, worth every second - I’m living my dream.”