Switzerland's first autonomous gondola lift
Since mid-December 2020, the new detachable 10-seater Kumme gondola lift has been generating great excitement in Zermatt. The latest highlight of the Matterhorn ski paradise features an appealing design and state-of-the-art technology.
After an intensive and eventful summer of construction, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG’s latest showcase project was opened to use by skiers on December 19, 2020. A total of CHF 30 million was invested in the construction of the lift system. It was installed where the Kumme detachable triple chairlift once stood, which was built in 1982 and almost completely destroyed by an avalanche in 2018. Since then, the gondola lift has also been joined by a 4.5-kilometer-long snowmaking system with 63 new snow lances and five avalanche blasting masts. All of this ensures the quality of the slopes so that they can be safely enjoyed by skiers. The political force behind the construction of this state-of-the-art facility is Andreas Biner, President of the Civic Community Zermatt.
In Harmony with the Mountain World
During the construction phase, strict attention was paid to building the facility in a manner that would be in harmony with nature. Thanks to project supervision that actively took environmental considerations into account, interventions in the natural world were reduced to a minimum, and steps to re-naturalize the landscape were taken. The new gondola lift now brings more winter sports enthusiasts to the Rothorn area. To ensure that the animals still have a quiet place of retreat, a new wildlife sanctuary was established in the area below the Rothorn. The cabs were also designed in a manner that was consistent with the mountain world. Numerous four-thousand-meter peaks of the Zermatt region and various local alpine animals are depicted on the sides of the cabs. The view during the ride is as breathtaking as the design is appealing. The Kumme gondola lift swings its way quietly and comfortably from Tufternkehr up to the Rothorn via the Wyss Gufer middle station, always accompanied by a unique panorama that includes the Matterhorn as a fascinating eye-catcher. The Kumme gondola lift serves as transportation, as recreation, and as a unique opportunity to enjoy a panoramic ride.
Cableway manufacturer Doppelmayr/Garaventa developed the pioneering product “AURO” using state-of-the-art technologies. Doppelmayr/ Garaventa launched the autonomous gondola lift under the name “AURO – Autonomous Ropeway Operation.” An AURO system operates without a human operator. Fabian Imboden, Head of Engineering of Region North, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG, has the following to say in praise of the installation: “It’s up to the latest technical standards and features smart, interlinked technology as well as the highest level of safety.”
The Matterhorn from its very best side
“The ski slopes around the new Kumme gondola lift are just as spectacular as the facility itself,” says Fabian Imboden with enthusiasm. “Whether you’re talking about the blue Kumme slope, the red Ptarmigan slope, or the black downhill run, even the first section from the Rothorn mountain station to the Wyss Gufer middle station offers a wide range of opportunities for all skiers,” Imboden continues. On the Tufternkumme slope, you head in the direction of the valley station. This long and wide ski run offers great fun on the slopes along with a picture-perfect panorama. As you finish the long descent, the Matterhorn appears and shows itself from its very best side. Once you’ve arrived at the valley station in Tufternkehr, you again have several
options to choose from: either enjoy another ride on the Kumme gondola lift, travel to the Blauherd station on the Patrullarve chairlift, or descend directly into the valley towards Zermatt and end your day of skiing on a sunny terrace.