The highest cable car in Europe between Italy and Switzerland is now a reality (PHOTO): it carries 1,300 people per hour. Continue the challenge to the mountains

CERVINIA. It is reality new cable car connection between Italy And Swiss which connects the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise And Gray Headhere is the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing. A system that allows you to connect the two sides, Italian and Swiss, of the Little Matterhorn and the locations of Cervinia to Zermatt, without skis on and all year round. A project that has been on the agenda for more than 80 years and was completed today with the inauguration.

After the creation of the first section on the Swiss sidein 2018, the second lift that goes up from Testa Grigia (3,400 meters) to the station of Matterhorn Glacier Paradise at 3,800 meters, the highest in Europe. The ribbon-cutting on Saturday 1 July marks the commissioning of the new tricable cable car Matterhorn Glacier Ride II. A total investment from 140 million.

An inauguration greeted with great enthusiasm and a dream that certainly comes true between Italy and Switzerland. A project hypothesized for the first time already in 1939, an era in many ways pioneering but which today sees different scenarios between the climate crisis and an increasingly chaotic influx to the Alps. A complex work because the construction of the Matterhorn glacier ride II required a tailor-made solution, suitable for the difficult conditions of the area.

The World Cup stages were canceled due to very high temperatures, little snow and the impossibility of guaranteeing the safety of the athletes. Another limit was exceeded and the Pininfarina-branded cabins were ready to turn to transport 1,300 people per hour at about 4 thousand meters of altitude.

“The new connection between Switzerland and Italy across the Alps further enhances the offer of Zermatt Bergbahnen and the Zermatt-Matterhorn destination”, he comments Markus Hasler, CEO of Zermatt Bergbahnen. “An interesting additional effect will be the new travel routes made possible for our already frequent international guests and the opening up of new markets, both for individual travelers and small groups. A targeted pricing strategy will promote individual travel in alternative to mass or transit tourism”.

After years of planning and the great challenges of building this link, the project was successfully completed. An investment, the promoters explain, which marks a further milestone for Zermatt Bergbahnen. “The Matterhorn Alpine Crossing – he explains Federico Maquignaz, president and CEO of Cervino – strengthens the partnership between Zermatt and Cervinia, from the offer of winter sports to year-round experiences for non-skiers. It exponentially broadens both partners’ offerings, which we are very pleased with.”

The godfather of the Matterhorn Glacier Ride II cable car is Anton Lauber, for years construction manager and chief planner of Zermatt Bergbahnen, who was instrumental in organizing and guiding this construction site at almost 4,000 meters. Also present at the inauguration was Michelle Hunziker, who presented the opening ceremony, the president of the State Council Christophe Darbellaythe president of Valle d’Aosta Renzo Testolin and other representatives of the Swiss and Italian political and economic worlds.

In the construction of the new Matterhorn Glacier Ride II tricable gondola lift, entrusted to the ropeway manufacturer Leitner, Zermatt Bergbahnen has consistently continued its journey towards greater sustainability in the Alpine space, the promoters point out. An additional photovoltaic system was put into operation on the facade of the new mountain station, which produces around 16,875 kWh of electricity per year, thus supplementing the existing energy production facilities in the area operated by Zermatt Bergbahnen.

The Matterhorn Alpine Crossing is certainly unique in many respects. On the one hand for the pioneering work carried out on construction sites at extreme altitudes, on the other for the collaboration of two nations on a project that connects two tourist destinations all year round. “I am proud to participate in the opening of this extraordinary connection between Italy and Switzerland. A special moment for me as an Italian-Swiss”, she adds Michelle Hunziker while Franz JulenThe Chairman of the Board of Zermatt Bergbahnencontinues: “As early as 1939, we began to think about a cable car connection open all year round between Zermatt and Cervinia. Now, more than 80 years later, this vision has become a reality. Pioneering spirit, innovative capacity and tenacity are typical of Zermatt. We believe in tourism. We will continue to gradually develop the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing product by investing in the high-quality and unique brand, events and experiences between two nations and two cultures in the high-end segment. Over ten years, Zermatt Bergbahnen will invest around 200 million francs in the two cable cars and in the staging of the product.These are investments which, with an annual cash flow of around 40 million francs, will lead to a further enhancement of the destination Zermatt-Matterhorn”.

The new Matterhorn Summer Paradise cable car connection extends up to the Val d’Aosta, where you can explore landscapes and old Walser houses, as well as the possibility of choosing between different activities such as horse riding, mountain biking, hiking or golf. On the Teodul Glacier, directly next to the new Testa Grigia valley station, the equally new world of experience SnowXperience Plateau Pink has been offering since August 2023 an offer for those starting to ski, since on site it is possible both to rent complete equipment and to book ski lessons.

Then there is the online guide which offers useful information such as timetables, fares and an overview of the entire itinerary between the two countries. Starting from 2024, it will also be possible to book luggage transport between the two destinations, which will make the experience even more complete and comfortable (info here).

Sustainability as a fundamental element

Data sheet

System: Trifune Leitner

Length: 1.6 kilometers

Elevation gain: 365 metres

Speed: 7.5m/s

Duration of the ride: 4 minutes

Cabins: 10 including 2 Crystal Ride

Capacity: 28 people per cabin

Transportation capacity: 1,300 people/hour

Single span (without supports)

Cabin design: Pininfarina

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