Zermatt’s incredible new Matterhorn Glacier Ride is arguably the World’s most amazing ski lift. Three years and CHF 50 million in the making, the new lift opened on September 29th. It is the World’s highest 3S cableway (3S = 3 seil / 3 cables), combining the ultimate in design sophistication with maximum comfort, and serves Europe’s highest cableway station.
The new 3S cable car ride built by LEITNER ropeways enables visitors to reach the Klein Matterhorn 365 days a year, and alleviates the bottleneck on the existing cable car, allowing more people to enjoy Europe’s longest lift-served ski run, the incredible 26km from the summit here back to the village at Zermatt.

Ride in luxury and with amazing see through floor views © Matterhorn Paradise

The new lift is also one of the World’s most luxurious – all the cabins of the cable car, which were designed by the Italian Pininfarina studio, offer incomparable luxury. Each of the gondolas has 28 comfortable and spacious seats inspired by car design and finished in the finest materials, such as leather and Alcantara. The all-round glazing on all the cabins offers a majestic panoramic view of the nearby Matterhorn.
The interiors of the four special Crystal ride cabins are also embellished with Swarovski crystals. “The crystal motif was created especially for the cabins and recalls both the Matterhorn and the Corporate Design of Zermatt Bergbahnen,” explains Sandra Stockinger. In cooperation with Bartenbach Lighting Design, LED lighting has been set into the cabin ceilings to create a “starry sky” effect extending over 13 square metres.
At the beginning of the 2018/19 winter season, the world’s highest 3S cableway will start taking passengers to the Klein Matterhorn near Zermatt. The “Matterhorn glacier ride” is an unrivalled combination of technology, design and ride comfort. The four “Crystal ride” cabins are a highlight of the ultramodern cableway. The journey itself is exhilarating, but the cabins add to the thrills with an amazing view of the ground far below.

Swarovski crystal cabins for the Matterhorn Glacier Ride
One of the Swarovski crystal cabins for the Matterhorn Glacier Ride © Zermatt Bergbanhnen

Four of the 25 cabins on the new Matterhorn glacier ride are encrusted with 280,000 Swarovski crystals that sparkle in the sunlight. The special Crystal ride cabins are the standout feature of what will be the world’s highest and most modern 3S cableway – 3S stands for 3-Seil in German, which means 3-rope. From the start of the 2018/19 winter season, the ride will carry up to 2000 passengers an hour to the Matterhorn glacier paradise, high on the Klein Matterhorn. During the nine-minute journey to the highest mountain station in Europe, the four special gondolas will reveal their spectacular view. Three minutes into the journey, at a height of 170 metres above the ground, the previously opaque glass floor will clear in seconds to offer a dramatic view down onto the glacier landscape. This effect is made possible by an active laminated glass sheet which turns from milky white to transparent under the effect of an electric current. As Sandra Stockinger, Head of Marketing at Zermatt Bergbahnen explains: “The Crystal ride cabins will surprise our guests with a completely new ride experience. Now, they will be able to marvel at the mountain world around Zermatt in a unique 360-degree panorama.”

A total of 38 companies from Switzerland and Italy have been involved in Zermatt Bergbahnen AG’s largest-ever construction project. With the project due to be completed in an incredible 600 working days, they are turning the vision of the “Matterhorn glacier ride” into reality.
This is phase one – the bit you see to the right of the bottom artist’s impression is the Testa Grigi – Matterhorn glacier paradise (alpine crossing) to Italy one still in planning.
One more great reason to visit one of, if not the, World’s best ski resorts next winter.

For more on Zermatt check our feature here.

Check out more Swiss resorts & the Glacier Express

Engelberg-Titlis
Jungfrau Region (Grindelwald / Wengen / MÜrren)
Villars / Gryon / Les Diablerets / Glacier 3000
Gstaad
Verbier / 4-Vallées
Take a shot at the Murren Inferno race.
Glacier Express

Construction of the top station Matterhorn Glacier Ride
Construction of the top station Matterhorn Glacier Ride © Air Zermatt