Ski Lifts in Zermatt
Zermatt’s Matterhorn Ski Paradise (includes Cervinia – Valtournenche) has 54 lifts with an uphill capacity of over 90,000 riders per hour. The ski lifts in Zermatt, much improved in recent years, run from 8am every day, so you can make the most out of your pricey lift pass.
Zermatt Ski Lifts
When Zermatt’s three separate lift companies joined to become Zermatt Bergbahnen in 2002, the coherence of the ski experience didn’t noticeably change – there had long been a shared lift ticket and seamless integration between the ski areas. But for the first time in years, the will to make significant improvements to the resort’s infrastructure was matched by the ability. The result has been several major new ski lifts and plans for further improvements which are more than just pipe dreams.
Traditionally, Zermatt’s lift system was a mix of charm and frustration: slow, old mountain railways and slow, not quite so old cable cars could be so oversubscribed at busy times that ascending the mountain via a string of lifts seemed to take up much of your day. But in recent years, several lifts have been built, each of which would rank as a major project for any resort.
The Furggsattel chairlift was among the first to be built on a glacier in Switzerland, with pylons ‘floating’ in the moving ice flow. At a stroke, this lift replaced the infamous T-bar which dragged you slowly across the often wind-blasted upper glacier. The covered, cushioned six-seater chair is not only faster but infinitely more comfortable, taking you rapidly from Trockener Steg and depositing you in another country, Italy, over 400m higher up, on the border ridge.
Even more high-tech than the six-seater Gifthittli chairlift on the Gornergrat, when the Matterhorn Express opened, it was an audacious break with the pack-’em-in sardine-tin arrangement favoured elsewhere on the mountain: a comfy eight-seater gondola from the Klein Matterhorn valley station via Furi to Schwarzsee. Unlike some of the massive projects in France and Austria in recent years, Zermatt’s more recent lifts all have the advantage of going up the mountain, rather than being merely horizontal link-lifts.
There’s room for eight people in the Matterhorn-Express gondola from Schwarzsee via Furgg to Trockener Steg; simply stay in your seat and from the Matterhorn Express bottom station you can reach Trockener Steg via Furi and Schwarzsee in just 25 minutes without changing gondolas. The new lift can now transport 2,800 people an hour instead of just 800. When you get to Trockener Steg, you can decide between taking the Theodulsee run and on to Europe’s highest cable car station, or heading for the Ice Restaurant.
Zermatt Ski Lift Passes
But perhaps the best single feature of Zermatt’s lifts is that they run from 8am every day, allowing early birds to beat the queues, reach the powder and fit in more skiing by lunchtime than should be allowed. Towards the end of season, the last lifts run as late as 5pm.
Lift pass prices are high, so don’t buy a pass that covers more than you need. The main pass covers all of Zermatt. You can also buy a Zermatt/Cervinia (Italy) combined pass, or a Klein Matterhorn/Schwarzsee/Cervinia combined pass if you know that you won’t be skiing Gornergrat or Rothorn. Single trip tickets for walkers and sightseers are so prohibitively priced that you can only conclude they don’t want you jamming up the lift system.
Zermatt Lift Company
Since 2002, Zermatt’s lift company has invested a total of CHF 336 million including CHF 173 million in transport facilities, CHF 83 million in ski pistes and artificial snow making, CHF 25 million in piste groomers and CHF 55 million in other facilities. Major investments include the 8-seat Matterhorn-Express gondola (2 sections), 6-seat chair lifts with hoods at Furggsattel Gletscherbahn and Gifthittli, the Gandegg ski lift extension, an 8-seat gondola and 6-seat chairlift at Sunnegga paradise – Blauherd, a new lift at Riedweg to the Stollen of the Sunneggabahn, the 8-seat gondola lift Furi – Schweigmatten – Riffelberg, a new 4-seat chairlift Sunnegga Paradise – Findeln – Breitboden, a new ski lift at Stockhorn, the new Glacier restaurant and shop at the Matterhorn glacier paradise and an 8-seat gondola Schwarzsee – Trockener Steg. More recent improvements include new carriages and tracks for the Sunnegga-Express funicular, a new 4-seat chairlift at Hörnli, a new 3S cable car between Trockener Steg and Matterhorn glacier paradise and cable car between Testa Grigia – Matterhorn glacier paradise.
Zermatt VIP Gondola
For a more exclusive lift experience in Zermatt, pre-book a VIP Gondola (max 4 persons) on the Matterhorn-Express and ride in comfort and style with luxurious seating and a bottle of champagne to complement the unforgettable views. Pre-book one way from Schwarzee to Trockener Steg or a round trip no later than the day before at Zermatt Bergbahnen, Tel: +41 (0) 27 966 01 01; [email protected]