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
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.
First autonomous gondola lift in Switzerland
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.
Facts about the new gondola lift
|Type||Autonomous 10-seater gondola lift|
|No. of towers||17|
|No. of cabins||56|
Projects for the future
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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