It’s the new aerial tram in Tignes, France, the largest and highest in the world, with spaces atop the cabin for 360-degree open-air views.
Simply, it’s breathtaking, and we’re not just talking about it’s altitude, 9,914 feet (3,032 meters), on the Grande Motte Glacier, at the gateway to the Vanoise National Park.
The new tram, also called a cable car, is one of the first of a new generation of equipment, with floor-to-ceiling windows and safety technologies.
It holds 100 passengers, more or less, depending on season.
In winter, it can hold fewer passengers, because of the bulky clothing everybody wears and the skis and snowboards that accompany them to the more than 250 miles (300k) of pistes on the linked resorts of Tignes and Val d’Isere. And also because the open-air rooftop cabins are not open, because of extreme temperatures and snowfall
So you’ll have to wait until spring 2019 to be one of the 20 lucky passengers to go “upstairs” for one of the most beautiful panoramas in all of the French Alps with views of Mont Blanc, the Cime de Bellecôte and the Aiguille de la Grande Sassière, at an oxygen-depriving 12,293 feet (3,747 m).
It opens to passengers when the ski area itself opens for the 2018/2019 season.
Passengers will access it from the Tignes funicular station at 6,900 feet (2100 m).
Starting in spring 2019, the tram becomes part of the Altitude Experiences program, which includes educational materials about the local environment and ecosystem, and how the fragile system, including the glacier, can be protected.
By 2020, the Altitude Experiences project will feature a new arrival station at the top of the funicular, The Bearded Vulture’s Flight bridge, an extended platform hovering 1650 feet (500m) in the air next to the Panoramic restaurant, and also The Alpine Ibex Observation Deck, a 50 foot (15 meter ) curved footbridge above the glacier.
The glacier is an extremely sensitive area, as it is a ski area in the heart of the Vanoise National Park and in the heart of the Tignes-Champagny Nature Reserve, so posters and signs both in the new funicular stations and on the viewing deck and bridge, will educate visitors about particular areas of concern and challenges that the surrounding mountainous areas face, due to global warming.
In case you’re wondering what this new aerial tram cost – 17 Million Euros. In US Dollars, that’s around $19.5 Million.
- Dual-rope aerial tramway with two open-top cabins
- Bottom station altitude: 3,034 metres
Top station altitude: 3456 metres
- Transport capacity: 1,000 people/hour (in each direction)
- Total number of carriers: 2 (open-top cabins)
- Capacity of each cabin: 100 pass.
- Capacity of each open-top deck 20 people
- Travel time: 5 minutes
- Line length: 1,996 metres
- Altitude rise: 421 metres
- Max. operating speed: 10 m/s
- Investment: EUR 17 million (aerial tramway + Altitude Experience facilities)
This exceptional new aerial tramway was designed in Switzerland by Garaventa AG.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is headed to Val d’Isere in January, to ski. You can be sure I’ll try out the new tram.
photos courtesy Société des téléphériques de Grande Motte (STGM)
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
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