After non-stop work since the end of last season the new Gant chairlift formally opened on 28 November in a special ceremony with the lift sponsor Hublot.
The Swiss watch maker Hublot already has strong links with Zermatt and recently opened a new boutique in the centre of town and is also a partner of the Zermatt Unplugged festival.
Real leather seats
The opening ceremony of the new 6-seater chairlift – equipped with real leather seats – that connects the Blauherd and Sunegga-Rothorn ski areas included a stylish LED light show.
The new lift replaces the gondola that had been in place since 1971 and can carry up to 1800 skiers an hour at a speed of 5 m/s. It will remove some of the queuing issues that sometimes occurred at Gant and improve the connection between the mountains.
Kamov helicopters used
The technical manager Fabian Imboden was in charge of construction during the summer. Fifteen tonnes were required for each foundation and Zermatt Bergbahnen worked closely with Air Zermatt on the foundations for the lift.
“Their helicopters transported the cement. The heavy payload Kamov helicopter can lift over 15 tonnes at this altitude,” explained Imboden. “The Kamov flew here from France, worked from 7am to 1.30pm, and then continued to Italy for further heavy loads.”
Heated seats ‘do not constitute an advantage’
Markus Hasler, CEO of Zermatt Bergbahnen, commented on the new lift: “This detachable chairlift meets our high requirements for safety and comfort, as well as being ideal in terms of ease of operation and maintenance.”
The resort chose to avoid high-cost features such as heated seats as they concluded that they ‘do not constitute an advantage on a day-to-day basis’ as ‘nothing can alter the fact that in poor weather visitors will migrate to less exposed slopes anyway.’
New Big Bang Zermatt Hublot Watch
Afficionados of watches may be interested to know that to mark its partnership with Zermatt, Hublot has created two numbered Big Bang Zermatt models.
The Big Bang Zermatt comes in a tungsten or satin finished red gold case, with a ceramic bezel, and a grey satin finished sundial display engraved with the emblematic silhouette of the Matterhorn.
The Big Bang Zermatt is available in a limited edition of 150. The base opens to reveal a mechanical chronograph automatic winding HUB4100 movement. A piece of 3 cm rope takes pride of place above the movement between two sapphire panes, as if sealed for eternity.
And if you need to know the price, you probably can’t afford it…
Catered Chalets in Zermatt
For details of accommodation and luxury catered chalets in Zermatt, please contact the Matterhorn Chalets team on +41 79 247 15 88
Transportation capacity – 1,800 persons per hour
Transportation type – 6-seat chairlift
Number of chairs – 36
Speed – 5 m/sec
Travelling time – 3.6 minutes
Lower altitude at Gant – 2226m
Upper altitude at Blauherd – 2604m
Difference in altitude – 378m
Number of supports – 8
Cable length – 1965m
Cable diameter – 43mm
Investment – 8.2m CHF
Chairlift company – Garaventa/Doppelmayr
Cable company – Fatzer, Romanshorn