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WORLD'S HIGHEST 3S LIFT OPENS IN ZERMATT
Sunday September 30, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

A new attraction for the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt that will speed up lift journey times for skiers and snowboarders has been officially opened.

 

 

 

From the start of this winter season, the Matterhorn Glacier Ride will take passengers from the Trockener Steg mountain station up to the glacier on the Klein Matterhorn at 3,883 metres.

It's the first stage of a series of planned lifts that will result in a linked ski area of 540 kilometres.

The new high-capacity link between the Zermatt ski area and the Italian resort of Cervinia-Valtournenche is the world's highest 3S cableway.

The existing cable car is often affected by high winds but the 3S system of gondolas is one of the strongest lifts there is and is able to withstand fairly extreme weather conditions.

Matterhorn glacier rideMatterhorn glacier ride

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ride up ends at Europe's highest mountain station.

It's taken almost two and a half years to build and its official inauguration this weekend was marked with a spectacular stunt from highwire artist, Freddy Nock.

Freddy NockFreddy Nock on the highwire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See our earlier article about the process of building it:

Built by the lift company Zermatt Bergbahnen AG and cableway manufacturers LEITNER ropeways, the Matterhorn Glacier Ride is 3,940 metres long and has 25 gondolas, each with 28 seats.

Four of them are described as "crystal ride" cabins.

They are encrusted with thousands of Swarowski crystals and feature an integrated glass floor to look down on the 200 metre drop to the ground.

Crystal ride gondolaCrystal ride

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"With a carrying capacity of 2,000 passengers an hour, waiting times at the Trockener Steg will be a thing of the past," the Zermatt tourist office says.

"The 9 minute ride offers first-class comfort and a fantastic all-round view of Zermatt's majestic high alpine panorama."

Matterhorn glacier rideMatterhorn glacier ride

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lift company says the ride is the first step towards a continuous lift connection between Zermatt and Italy, which will extend to the Monterosa Ski area.

"This will be possible with the addition of another 3S cableway already planned to link Testa Grigia and Matterhorn glacier paradise," said the Chairman of Zermatt Bergbahnen, Franz Julen.

"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.

"With the addition of 180 kilometres of slopes to create a total of 540 kilometres of pistes, we would have one of the biggest ski areas in the world."

Ribbon cuttingRibbon cutting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Swiss infrastructure minister Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, who cut the red ribbon, spoke of the impressive feat of building the cableway under difficult circumstances on a building site at 4,000 metres above sea level.

"This is something we should be proud of," she said.

Blessing of the Matterhorn glacier rideThe new ride is blessed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch the video edit of the opening ceremony..

PHOTOS: Marc Kronig

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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