Doppelmaur/Garaventa, Leitner Agudio Poma have been key actors in the refurbishment of ski lifts in the world. Big companies specialized amongst other things in lifts design, construction and installation still surprise us with their work, real master pieces of the peaks realized under exceptional conditions to deliver an added value, a construction like no other in ski resorts’ history.
Peak 2 Peak Góndola, Canada
The greatest facility of the world of skiing was implemented in 2009 in British Columbia, in Canadian ski resort Whistler Blackcomb.
A ski area like no other, the figures speak for themselves. The resort comprises 8155 acres, a 1609 meter long vertical drop, more than 200 well maintained slopes and won international prizes, Guinness Record… An endless list of figures and another proof that the resort is a genuine world reference in the world of ski resorts. *
But one of the main achievement of the resort is Peak 2 Peak a huge cable car transferring the two main mountains of the resort: Whistler and Blackcomb and no intermediate station! Usually when constructing a ski lift, several pylons are built between the stations in order to distribute tension and weights. But Peak 2 Peak is an architectural achievement which broke the mold with a unique and brand new facility.
The cable car won two Guinness Records:
It is the world’s longest unsupported span, with more than 3 kilometers without intermediate tower. Since it was opened, it has been considered as the world’s longest continuous lift system connecting the other ski lifts (Whistler Village Gondola, PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, Solar Coaster Express, and Wizard Express). The facility features 28 cabins with 24 seated and 4 standing.
If you are lucky enough to board on one of these 360 degree view glass cabin, you will feel the void under your feet during the journey. This lifts takes you from one mountain to the other, spanning a 4.4 kilometer long distance in only 11 minutes, reaching a 7.5 meters per second speed.
It is a very well-secured facility never overflown by helicopters ; in fact a whole separate area, 433 000 acres wide to be precise, is designed for heli-skiing, a unique and unforgettable experience provided for off-trail addicts that often choose to stay in one of the many stylish hotels of the resort. The winter season lasts from November to May with an average snowfall of 35 feet! If you are a snow lover, if you like winter sports, there is no doubt, you have to go to Whistler Blackcomb.
The Aiguille du Midi, France
From the legendary village Chamonix you can take the cable car spanning over the French forests up to 2317 in altitude and admire the Glacier de Bossons, the Mont-Blanc, the Aiguille Verte, the Drus and the Aiguilles de Chamonix, spectacular peaks and glaciers of the valley.
The attraction takes you on an adventure, if you take the second car, you can reach the summit of the Aiguille du Midi, 3.777 meters high, in only 10 minutes! And if you keep going up with the following lift, you arrive at the peak, 3.842 meters high. One of the “roofs of Europe” and one of the most spectacular view you will ever see. It is an extraordinary master piece of engineering which celebrated this year its 60th anniversary (1955-2015).
If you fear of heights be careful before going because the simple fact of boarding on the cabin and going from 1.035 meters up to 3.842 meter in less than 20 minutes will leave you breathless. The Aiguille du Midi is located right in the center of the Alps offering amazing views over the Swiss, French and Italian Alps from the panoramic terrace and with views at the Mont Blanc, one of the most iconic mountains and famous all over the world for its shape and to be called the “roof of Europe”.
Confirmed skiers can even ski down the glacier and the White Valle (Vallée Blanche) enjoying one of the best off-trail adventure of Europe, with an amazing untouched snow and with spectacular landscapes between glacier and mountains.
Hungerburg funicular, Austria
In the Austrian Alps, science fiction turned into reality in Hungerburg Resort. The inhabitants of Innsbruck, people famous for winter sports, asked for the latest high technology lift to link the village to Hungerburg.
Other facilities often slow and old fashioned already existed transferring the village and the summit so as to access the slopes. Two very old funiculars with wooden cabins were transporting 300 people per hour ensuring liaison between the village and the resort. But in 2007, vanguard architect Zaha Hadid designed the funicular Hungerburg a marvel of technology that reaches the summit in 20 minutes only.
This famous architect also designed the amazing trampoline Bergisel Ski Jump which was all the rage in jumping competitions. The bottom station of Hungerburg funicular is settled in the city of Innsbruck (560 meter high) it crosses a huge mountain through a narrow tunnel and then the river Inn and finally goes up a 46% steep slope to reach Hungerburg (860 meter high).
Whether you prefer beauty of landscapes, technology or adrenaline, take the Hafelekarbahn and reach directly the famous slope Hafelekarrinne with very steep areas designed especially for experts.
Stanserhorn Cabrio, Switzerland
In Licerne, in the heart of Switzerland, your hair will blow in the wind on a flying terrace. A huge cabin comprising 2 floors in which 60 people can enjoy a 360 degree panoramic view through crystal glass and even a terrace on the second floor. It is crazy, isn’t it?
The Stanserhorn Cabrio is the first cable car of the world featuring a rooftop terrace. Tourists can relax on the terrace standing over the void, if they do not fear of heights between 711 meters in altitude and 1850 meters.
It is all about landscape and feeling and, obviously very different from any other existing cable transportation : you will experience the void, the feeling of flying and traveling in the air surrounded by amazing landscapes for a unique experience reserved for the very lucky 30 people having access to the terrace.
The facility has been designed and constructed at 100% by Swiss companies. The facility of the flying terrace required an investment of 28.2 million Swiss Francs (€26.2 million). Because the cables are settled on the edges of the cabin, you have nothing over your head while on the terrace, and you can experience a genuine feeling of floating in the air.
But the magic of the place is the nature above all: the lake of the three counties Lucerna and some of the most beautiful and iconic mountains of the Swiss Alpes: mount Pilatus, Rigi, Mythen, Uri Rotsock and even the Berneses Alps on the horizon.
Skyway Monte Bianco.
On the 23rd of June, the famous ski resort of Courmayeur in the Alps turned into real a futurist project near the Mont Blanc, the “roof of Europe”. A vanguard facility with special respect for nature and with very little visual impact.
Last August 27th we wrote the article about Skyway, a large scale project and a key element competing with the French Alps. The Skyway Monte Bianco’s lower terminal stands at 1.300 meters in altitude and reaches 3.466 meters. It is a huge piece divided into three sections with an intermediate station in Mont Frety, 2.200 meter high.
Once you have reached the upper station look at the breathtaking view, and in the cabin you have a 360 degree view from the panoramic terrace over the Alps from which you can admire the Mont-Blanc, Mont Rose, the Cervino and the ski resort the Grand Paradis.
A piece of art in altitude and the competitor of the Aiguille du Midi known to be a place not-to-be-missed in the heart of the Alps near the Mont-Blanc.