New gondola in Zermatt runs autonomously

Despite the Corona crisis, Zermatt has been busy building again in the past year and has opened a new cable car for the winter of 2020/2021. The ski resort at the Matterhorn has been one of the absolute top ski resorts in the world for years. To ensure that it stays that way, the operators are continually investing in the expansion of their facilities. But the new 30-million project is not only intended to improve the infrastructure, it also delivers a very special novelty: the first autonomous gondola lift in Switzerland.

New gondola lift on the Rothorn

The spacious cabins offer a great view of the Matterhorn.
The spacious cabins offer a great view of the Matterhorn. © Garaventa/Zermatt Bergbahnen

After another mega-project was completed just two years ago with the Glacier Ride, the highest 3S lift in the world, the next novelty is already waiting for winter sports enthusiasts in Zermatt. The new 10-seater gondola lift Kumme runs from Tufternkehr via the Wyss Gufer middle station to the 3,103-meter Rothorn.

Through the large panoramic windows, passengers enjoy a magnificent view of the famous Matterhorn during the quiet ride. The surrounding peaks are also reflected in the design of the cabins. Various four-thousand-metre peaks of the Zermatt mountain world and local Alpine animals are depicted on the gondolas.

>> The new cable car on the trail map

First autonomous gondola lift in Switzerland

The Kumme gondola lift is controlled autonomously via intelligent technology.
The Kumme gondola lift is controlled autonomously via intelligent technology. © Garaventa/Zermatt Bergbahnen

But the true special feature of the new gondola lift lies in its technology. The Kumme lift is the first autonomous gondola lift in Switzerland. With the new ropeway system "AURO" - Autonomous Ropeway Operation - ropeway manufacturer Doppelmayr/Garaventa has developed a lift that can run without an operator.

The system is monitored using intelligent and networked technology via cameras and sensors. If unusual situations occur, especially during boarding and disembarking, e.g. if a guest gets his or her shoe caught in the cabin door, the system automatically shuts down the lift. Once the situation has been resolved, a ropeway employee can restart the lift via the control center.

"The opening of this unique lift shows that the Zermatt pioneering spirit is alive and well. The Kumme gondola lift represents a direct link to previous ground-breaking projects such as the highest mountain station in Europe and the highest 3S cableway in the world. Getting this outstanding technical achievement up and running will greatly enhance the ski area below the Rothorn and will clear the path for further technical innovation even beyond the resort of Zermatt," says Markus Hasler, CEO of Zermatt Bergbahnen AG.

The new gondola lift was put into operation in time for the start of the 2020/2021 winter season. In addition, a new snowmaking system with 63 snow lances and 5 avalanche blasting masts also improves the quality of the slopes on the new lift in the Unterrothorn area.

>> More information about the Zermatt ski area

Facts about the new gondola lift

The Kumme gondola lift - Innovative... | 03:32
Technical Details
TypeAutonomous 10-seater gondola lift
Length3,2 km

6 m/sec

Capacity1.500 passengers/hour
No. of towers17
No. of cabins56



Projects for the future

Cameras and sensors primarily monitor entry and exit at the three stations.
Cameras and sensors primarily monitor entry and exit at the three stations. © Garaventa/Zermatt Bergbahnen

Despite the difficult situation in the Corona pandemic, Zermatt Bergbahnen continues to invest in the future. Around 30 million Swiss francs have been invested in the Kumme gondola lift. And the next novelty is also already under construction. The new 3S Glacier Ride II cable car is scheduled for completion in summer 2022. The highest alpine crossing will then connect Zermatt with Italy all year round. >> More about the project



Swiss ski resorts are open

In Switzerland, ski resorts are open despite the Corona pandemic. However, strict protection concepts apply, such as mandatory masks and limited capacity in closed means of transport. In some cantons, restaurants in the ski area are also closed. Guests from abroad should note that numerous countries have issued a travel warning for Switzerland and quarantine may need to be planned for when returning home.

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Hi, I'm Isabell, one of the editors at snow-online.com. I've been skiing since I was a kid and now I can't wait to get back on the slopes every winter. That's why I'm lucky that (after my studies in media and communication) I found a job where everything revolves around my favourite hobby. If you have any questions about me or about snow-online.com, ask me! Just send an email... Read more
last update on Jan 31, 2021