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3S Cableway: A new lift for Zermatt!

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Klein Matterhorn

Views from the Klein Matterhorn lift at 3383m

Long have people stepped aboard the forty year-old Klein Matterhorn cabin lift and swung out, high above Zermatt’s most expansive glaciers. 38.5km (22.2 miles) of cables work the cabin up to 3883m.  It provides some of the best mountain views skiers could hope for along with access to the highest pistes in Europe.

Klein Matterhorn

Italy on the left, Switzerland on the right. The Matterhorn from a less traditional angle.

It’s pretty big news then that one of Zermatt’s most important lifts now has a neighbour. The new 3S Matterhorn Glacier Ride Cableway enjoyed a lavish opening at the end of September this year. Leaving from Trocknersteg from a new, crystalline-looking base station 2000 passengers per hour can reach the top station.  All in just nine minutes.
3S is Designed in collaboration with Pininfarina and Swarovski.  Visitors can expect luxury and comfort in any one of the twenty-five cabins.  Each cabin has twenty-eight seats. This is Zermatt after all.

Klein Matterhorn

A look at the beautifully designed new cabins.

Getting to the top of the Klein Matterhorn

Matterhorn So what is a 3S cableway? The three comes in reference to the number of cables that are used to combine the advantages of a circulating gondola ride a we know it, with the capacity of the larger cable cars. Double support cables on each side give the system stability in high winds, despite the great altitude. Only three support pylons span the gap between base at top stations.

Klein Matterhorn

The Klein Matterhorn -spot the cranes!

There are around fifteen 3S cableways in the world at this moment in time. Th height at which the Glacier ride was constructed however that has set it apart from the rest. The CHF52million project began at nearly 4000m. Firstly clearing away any lose snow and rocks that may have been a danger to Europe’s highest building site. A lack of oxygen at that level meant that workers could only operate at 60-80% of their normal capacity and the building materials were also affected. Low temperatures meant that the production of concrete had to be done at a lower level and transported up afterwards.
The previous Klein Matterhorn lift will continue to run at a reduced rate, in order to support the 3S during busier periods of time and to ensure the opening of the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise during high winds.

Klein Matterhorn

Ice caves beneath the glacier.

Public Operation on the Klein MatterhornPublic

Operations are due to start at the beginning of November, just in time for the winter season 2018/19. Why not join us at European Snowsport and we can show you around Zermatt’s newest lift system? The top station at the Klein Matterhorn hosts a modern café/restaurant, glacier ice caves, projection room, a panoramic viewpoint and of course piste access to the Glacier Matterhorn paradise. Ski with us from the highest piste in Europe.

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