Whilst we have been keeping safe and dreaming of sunny winter days in the Alps, the lift team in the Arlberg have been busy putting together a new, high speed gondola to replace an old, rickety chairlift. The new, fresh bubble will whisk more people up the mountain in comfort and style. With this latest addition to the best ski lifts in Europe I thought it fitting time to highlight the five coolest ski lifts to set your sights on for your next ski holiday in the mountains…
Schindlergratbahn, The Arlberg
Let’s start things off with the latest addition to The Arlberg, St Anton and Lech ski area, the wonderful, Schindlergrat Gondola:
This wonderful new ski lift in St Anton and Lech is replacing the old, rickety 3 person chairlift. The Schindlergratbahn will have 68 cabins, a capacity of 10 people per cabin meaning a total capacity of 2,800 people per hour. This is four times more than the old lift and means that this new gondola should virtually eliminate the lift queues. A ride all the way to the end (2,579m altitude) will take just under 8 minutes, making it one of my favourite new ski lifts of 2020.
Video Credit: Arlberger Bergbahnen
Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix
Next on my rundown of Europe’s Best Ski Lifts is arguably one of the biggest, highest and most famous gondolas anywhere in the world. A ski holiday to Chamonix wouldn’t be complete without a journey up the incredible Aiguille du Midi:
First constructed in 1955, the two stage cable car takes passengers from the valley floor to its dizzy heights of 3,842m in around 30 minutes, making it the highest cable car in the Alps. This 72 person gondola stretching 16.3 km is able to transport 4,820 people per hour to soak in the incredible views of the Glacier des Bossons, Aiguille Verte, the Drus and the Aiguilles de Chamonix. It’s capacity makes it one of the biggest ski lifts in the Alps. It is as close as non-climbers will get to the summit of the highest mountain in Europe, the stunning Mont Blanc soaring to 4,809m.
Video Credit: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Tourisme
Matterhorn Glacier Ride, Zermatt
What would any list of the best ski lifts in Europe be without including one of the most iconic and highest ski lifts in the world? Europe’s highest cable car! Finished in 2018 after a monumental feat of engineering that was undertaken with the finest Swiss precision, I am, naturally, talking about the superb Matterhorn Glacier Ride:
A must on your Zermatt ski holiday! The Matterhorn Glacier Ride takes passengers from Trockener Steg to the Matterhorn glacier paradise (Klein Matterhorn) at 3,883 metres. The highest 3S cableway anywhere in the world boasts a number of superlatives and special features, as well as the finest ski lift designs. With 25 beautiful panoramic cabins designed by Pininfarina you can relax in one of the 28 heated seat cabins and enjoy the nine-minute journey through the high-Alpine landscape around the Matterhorn. Your destination: the Matterhorn glacier paradise, a unique mountain resort with exciting attractions – accessible 365 days a year.
Video Credit: Leitner
The Vanoise Express, Paradiski
Next up on our our whistle stop tour of the best ski lifts in the Alps is a bit of a hidden gem. In the heart of the Paradiski sits a huge gondola that spans nearly 2km over the Peisey Valley at a maximum height of 380 metres. I am, of course, talking about the iconic Vanoise Express.
The Vanoise Express will be celebrating it’s 20th birthday on Christmas 2023 but has been somewhat out of the limelight due to it’s more glamourous neighbouring resorts. Giving it the recognition it needs as one of the most impressive ski lifts in Europe, the Vanoise Express was one of the very first double decker cable cars anywhere in the world, linking Les Arcs 1650 and La Plagne 1850. The installation of this huge gondola was a landmark moment, making the Paradiski one of the largest ski areas in the Alps with over 425km of piste. The double decker construction means that 200 passengers can be whisked across the valley in just four minutes. If you haven’t yet ticked this one off your list, next winter could be the ideal time.
Video Credit: Les 2 Neige Aux
Grande Motte ‘Cabrio’ Cable Car, Tignes
Sticking with the ‘double decker’ theme, but bringing us right up to date, the next amazing ski lift on our lift is found high up on the Grande Motte Glacier in Tignes. With summer skiing a real favourite on the glacier the amazing decision was made to upgrade the existing gondola to a fantastic ‘cabriolet’ experience. Welcome to the Grade Motte ‘Cabrio’ Cable car.
As you would expect from one of the best ski resorts in the world, Tignes is constantly innovating and designing new attractions for visitors to enjoy. In September 2020 the Alpine Experiences Project was completed with the introduction on the system upgrades to the original cable car that links the funicular railway to the top of the Grande Motte Glacier at 3,456 meters. This project resulted in the largest open air gondola in the world with the roof top terrace able to accommodate 20 passengers per journey. Due to temperatures hitting well below -20 degrees celsius in the winter the decision was taken that the terrace would only be open during the summer skiing months making this a definite addition to our best ski lifts list. Those with the tendency to feel travel sick, this could be considered as one of the scariest ski lifts in the Alps, but for others, it offers a unique experience with stunning mountain scenery and the wind through your hair! Will it be on your Tignes ski holiday bucket list?
If you think this could be the year to stop wishing you could go and experience one of the best ski lifts in the world, just go out and do it instead. You can find yourself the perfect ski or summer chalet in St Anton, Lech, Chamonix, Zermatt, Tignes, Les Arcs or La Plagne at Ski in Luxury.
If you need further guidance on any of the resorts above, please do get in touch by sending an email or giving us a call on +44 (0)1202 203650. Our Ski Specialists will be delighted to help you make plans for your next luxury chalet holiday in The Alps.