Despite challenges this summer due to lockdown and Covid measures, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG (ZBAG) has done some tremendous work in keeping the new Kumme lift on schedule.
Old stations demolished
Firstly in spring, the old base and top stations were demolished, with the foundations of three new stations put in place, using material from the original buildings as recycled concrete.
This stage was completed by mid-August and the team moved onto the electromechanical elements. This was delivered by truck via Riedweg, with some parts by helicopter.
The heavy-duty helicopter was in action for nine days in autumn, six of which were used to transport the masts and the remaining three to deliver the technology.
Cables added in September
Moving on to the cables, a thin steel cable was pulled in from the valley station to the middle station, and then another from the middle station to the top station.
The main cables were added in September. Due to their length and weight, they were divided between two trucks, which then slowly made their way to the valley station in convoy.
Last but not least, the 56 cabins followed in three stages. These were flown into resort in batches and hooked up directly, so that by the end of October they were all in location in the underground garage patiently waiting to be used – perfectly on time.
Safety, snow-making and renaturation
It wasn’t just new buildings were constructed during the summer. The base station has been ‘rewilded’ and by next summer, as the vegetation recovers, the old station will no longer be visible.
All the old pylons have already been removed and as soon as the snow clears their foundations next spring, these will also be removed from the landscape and the zones carefully replanted.
There will also be a new snow-making system parallel to the gondola. There are now 63 ultra-modern snow cannons along the slopes up to the new valley station.
Countdown to the opening
There are only a few weeks until the Kumme gondola opens on 20 December. Before that happens, however, there is still a lot of work to do.
The Kumme gondola is unusual in that it will operate without any staff in the stations.
Technicians are busy installing, testing and calibrating the highly complex monitoring system so that the safety of guests and employees is guarantees.
Open in time for Christmas
Cameras, sensors, cabling and controls are all being installed and coordinated with one another. One in place, the system will be able to recognize abnormal situations and stop the system immediately.
So if, for example, a glove falls into the platform area or an object gets stuck in the cabin doors, the lift will switch off immediately.
As soon as the monitoring has been installed, testing is completed and approval is given then the first autonomous gondola lift in Switzerland will open in time for the Christmas.
You can find out more about the Kumme lift here.
Accommodation in Zermatt
To find out more about accommodation in Zermatt this winter, please contact Ed or Suzanne from Matterhorn Chalets.