The Gausta Line’s customer base vanished with the Covid pandemic and associated restrictions. Therefore, the company applied for restructuring funds from Innovation Norway to develop a new experience concept.
The Gausta Line carries passengers to Gaustatoppen, a mountain near Rjukan that ranges 1,883 metres above sea level and is renowned for its panoramic views. When its customers disappeared and turnover fell because of the Covid situation, the company saw a need to develop a product for new target groups.
Innovation Norway contributed with grants to enable the implementation of the restructuring project. Silje Sterner, adviser at Innovation Norway Vestfold og Telemark, is impressed by the innovation of the company.
“The Gausta Line spent a difficult period developing a completely unique and very exciting concept. This is a good example of a company that is developing for the future, at the same time as it is looking after and preserving our important history,” she says.
The concept consists of activities and experiences related to ‘The Secret Mountain’. The line was originally built as part of a secret NATO installation that opened in 1959 and was completely closed to the public until 2010. You may be asking what happened inside one of Norway’s most famous mountains during all these years? It is precisely this that the company wants to answer.
The participants in the drama
Based on the Gausta Line’s history as a secret, strategic installation, visitors are taken on a dramaturgical journey in which they themselves play an active part. Exciting stories that convey what happened during the Cold War are essential and the participants are offered a three-course dinner served in the old listening and transmitting hall inside Gaustatoppen.
The programme – which can be performed in both Norwegian and English – is mainly designed for school classes, families, and companies that want an experience out of the ordinary.
“The support from Innovation Norway has been absolutely crucial in carrying out the restructuring, and the offering for the course and conference market is a direct effect of the investments,” says Halvor Haukaas, General Manager of the Gausta Line.
The concept’s name is ‘Top Secret Mission’. The role of major in ‘The Secret Mountain’ is played by the company’s own employees and the story is told using authentic objects and digital aids. A plot gets the participants involved in playing with and against each other. Who can you trust? What is true? What will be revealed? The present is placed in a historical context and the keywords are propaganda, superpowers, pandemic, fake news, space race, democratic values, environmental crises, and the engagement of an entire generation of young people.