World’s Highest 3S Gondola Opens at Zermatt, First Stage of 540km Ski Region

Patrick Thorne

30 Sep 18

After around two-and-a-half years’ construction work, the “Matterhorn glacier ride” – the world’s highest 3S cableway – has finally opened as planned, and Zermatt has gained a new attraction.

From the beginning of the 2018/19 winter season, passengers will be able to use the new cableway to reach the Klein Matterhorn, the construction of which involved 38 companies involved and an investment of 52 million Swiss francs.

The new lift’s official inauguration this weekend on Saturday was attended by members of the construction workforce, media representatives and celebrities from all over Switzerland .

Zermatt Bergbahnen AG and lift manufacturers Leitner ropeways were responsible for the construction of the Matterhorn glacier ride over the past three summers, which is 3940 metres in length. Once the new cableway officially starts operations for the forthcoming winter season, passengers in Zermatt will be able to board 25 gondolas, each with 28 seats conceived by the Pininfarina design studio, for the journey to Europe’s highest mountain station, situated at 3821 metres above sea level.

“With a carrying capacity of 2000 passengers an hour, waiting times at Trockener Steg will be a thing of the past. The nine-minute ride offers first-class comfort and a fantastic all-round view of Zermatt’s majestic high-alpine panorama,” a Zermatt spokesperson said.

Four of the gondolas are the special “Crystal ride” cabins, encrusted with thousands of Swarovski crystals and featuring an integrated glass floor through which passengers will be able to observe the 200 m drop below their feet.

 “This is something we should be proud of,” the infrastructure minister Doris Leuthard who ‘opened’ the lift declared. She highlighted the impressive feat of building the cableway under such difficult circumstances on a construction site at an altitude of almost 4000 metres.

Franz Julen, the new Chairman of the Board of Directors at Zermatt Bergbahnen AG, adds: “The construction of the highest 3S cableway in the world to the Klein Matterhorn is just the beginning of an even bigger vision: a first step towards the realization of a continuous lift connection between Zermatt and Italy. An ‘Alpine Crossing’. This will be possible with the addition of another 3S cableway already planned to link Testa Grigia and ‘Matterhorn glacier paradise’ (on the Klein Matterhorn). In a second stage, our Italian partners envisage two cableways to connect the Zermatt – Cervinia – Valtournenche ski area with that of Val d’Ayas – Alagna –Gressoney (the Monterosa Ski resort). With the addition of 180 kilometres of slopes to create a total of 540 km of pistes, we would have one of the biggest ski areas in the world.”

(The traditional blessing of the new lift)

“With this state-of-the-art lift facility, the luxury gondolas and “Crystal ride” cabins, Zermatt has once again come up with something quite unique. To date, there is no comparable project anywhere in the world and that in time, the “Matterhorn glacier ride” is set to become a must-see attraction for visitors from Switzerland and around the world,” the resort spokesperson concluded.

(Pictures copyright:  Marc Kronig)

Wow – was für eine Bahn #matterhornglacierride

Posted by Zermatt Matterhorn on Saturday, 29 September 2018