Update on the new ski lift projects in Zermatt Matterhorn.
Spring 2020 in Zermatt. The streets are quiet, shops are shut and just a few locals are around. Beautiful sunny weather dominates, making it simply feel like a quiet spring day in the off-season, rather than a day of quarantine and restriction.
But Zermatt is not under stress about the future, considering how much it relies on tourism. In fact, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG has big plans that are actually receiving extra funding from the banks and will be straight into construction as soon as it is safe to do so.
Before looking to the future, the recent past holds clues as to how the new lifts will shape up.
Zermatt Matterhorn Lift Status
Opened in November 2018, the world’s highest and most advanced cableway connects the Trockener Steg station with Matterhorn glacier paradise at 3,821m. The new 3S lift combines cutting-edge technology with top-class design. This combines to enhance ride comfort, makes the lift more stable, minimizes essential maintenance work and increases the service life of the individual components – quite the technical achievement.
The Zermatt Matterhorn glacier ride 3S, which is 3940m in length, carries 25 cabins, with the help of three cables for each cabin. It replaces the old cable car and makes the journey from Zermatt to Klein Matterhorn a mere 40mins. Perfect for skiers heading to Italy for the day, or walkers heading to the viewing platform to look out at the stunning views over Switzerland, Italy and France.
New Lift Plans for the Zermatt Matterhorn Area
Plans for the future include the next stage of the project, dubbed ‘Alpine X’, or Alpine Crossing. Soon, walkers will be able to reach Cervinia from Zermatt town, and vice versa. No longer will grandparents and intermediate skiers have to miss out when friends and family head over for an Italian lunch!
This crossing will be made possible by the addition of another 3S cableway (tri-cable gondola lift) between Testa Grigia and the Matterhorn glacier paradise. The first visitors should be able to make the highest crossing of the Alps in autumn 2021.
As the building site progresses further into the summer new images and plans have been made public, regarding the structure at Testa Grigia/Plateau Rosa.
The idea is to create panoramic station, with high glass walls overlooking the glacier valley. Within the building a restaurant, shops and a mountain museum will host visitors from the Italian and Swiss side.
The idea is also to renovate the lifts connecting Cervinia with the new Plateau Rosa station through a 3S lift, capable to resist winds up to 100km/h and allowing visitors to reach the glacier also on bad weather days.
The design of the new top station was won by Policreo , Ardolino, Pastoret Engineering & Consulting and Alpteam firms, who presented the images you see in this article.
New plans have also been made public from Cervino Spa, the lift company of the italian side. Following the work already done to bring artificial snow making to the upper slopes, they are currently working on reaching piste nr 7, 35, 36 and 37, which will allow better snow coverage early in the winter and guarantee a bigger ski area already from November.
Amongst other projects in discussion are the new Monterosa Lift, linking the Zermatt/Cervinia ski area with the resorts around the Monterosa Massif. Related to this project are also the renewal of the bubble lift from Plan Mason to Cime Bianche, in order to support the traffic to and from the area.
The lift Gransommetta is also on the list of renewal, with a new 6-seater able to cater a higher volume of skiers in more comfortable conditions.
The new Kumme lift for the Zermatt Ski Area
Another new project is the Kumme lift. As with the previous two, this will not just be a lift. This will be Switzerland’s first fully automated gondola lift.
Kumme was one of the oldest chairlifts in the Zermatt region, renowed for being a little cold on the bum but accessing a particularly quiet section of the ski area. However in 2018 the base station was taken out by a landslide and the chairlift was put out of action.
When it starts operating, the new Kumme gondola lift will be the first in Switzerland to operate without station attendants during passenger transport.
The construction of the cable car will proceed as planned, with commissioning at the beginning of the 2020/21 winter season, the 56 10-person cabins will transport 1500 people per hour on the 3.2 km of the section from Tufternkehr to Rothorn, passing through the intermediate station.
The erection of the Kumme cable car and the Matterhorn glacier ride II is set to continue in spring 2020, or when Switzerland reopens construction work. No small consideration in the current climate that the investment volume is around 60 million Swiss francs over the next two years.
In spite of the difficulties, ZBAG CEO Markus Hasler stated;
“The investments and the start of the works reflect the desire to show us up to our role as forerunners. This takes place both inside and outside the destination Zermatt-Cervino, showing that we can also face this challenge together.
We would also like to report to our service partners, guests and the regional economy that we believe in the future. And that, despite the tightening of conditions, we continue to be ready to invest in modern systems and offers.”
We look forward to seeing these new projects as they develop!
About Subzero Coaching
Subzero Coaching is a company based in Zermatt, Switzerland. We specialize in ski instructor education and coaches development.
All our long term courses, it being those to become a ski instructor, our ISIA Level 3 or our Level 4 courses are tailored to provide the best professional development for snowsports instructors and coaches.
All courses include a broad range of subjects, allowing participants to grow not just on their technical and teaching abilities in skiing, but also as all round professionals in the ski industry. All courses also provide career opportunities, with ski schools in Zermatt and in many other resorts in the Alps and different countries in the world.
Always there, at every level. Elevating Performance.