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."
Like a ride in a luxury car
The nerve-tingling thrills will be experienced in opulent surroundings. 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.
Once again, Zermatt has come up with something exceptional in the Matterhorn glacier ride. There is no comparable project anywhere in the world to date. In time, the 3S cableway is set to become a special attraction for visitors from Switzerland and around the world. But the construction of the world’s highest 3S cableway is just the first stage in the realization of a much more far-reaching vision: to create a continuous connection between Zermatt and Italy, the so-called "Alpine Crossing". The Alpine crossing will be completed by a further link between the stations at Testa Grigia and the Matterhorn glacier paradise.
The grand opening of the Matterhorn glacier ride will take place on 29 September 2018 in Zermatt in the presence of around 500 invited guests.