The highest mountain, the steepest piste, the highest hotel in the Alps – for our 20th birthday, SnowTrex has collected the 20 most spectacular records in the Alps.
1. The highest mountain
This alpine record is usually taught in elementary school: the highest mountain in the Alps is the mighty Mont Blanc, which rises to 4,810 m between France and Italy. It is a popular travel destination for all winter sports enthusiasts, and they will get their money’s worth in, for example, the Chamonix Mont-Blanc ski area.
2. The largest interconnected ski area
Not only an alpine record, but even a world record: The 3 Vallées in France are the largest interconnected ski area in the world! The ski area comprises 600 km of piste and 180 lifts. Everybody will find the right piste here – it may only take a little time to search for it…
3. The highest mountain railway station
The highest located mountain railway station in Europe is at 3,883 m above sea level. Where? – In Switzerland, or better to say in Zermatt on Klein Matterhorn in the Matterhorn glacier paradise ski area. Here, breath-taking views over the Swiss mountain landscapes are guaranteed! Moroever, the gondola holds another record: it is the highest three-rope gondola in the world!
4. The highest piste
At Klein Matterhorn in the Matterhorn glacier paradise ski area thus also has Europe’s highest located piste. After skiers and snowboarders are transported to an altitude of 3,883 m above sea level, they can look forward to the highest of fun on the piste.
5. The highest hotel
If you want to dream high up, but outside an airplane, you should book an overnight stay in Glacier Hotel Grawand in the South Tyrolean Val Senales. The hotel can only be reached by cable car and is at an altitude of 3,212 m. If the weather plays along, there is even a view as far as Lake Garda.
6. The oldest ski resort
The Swiss ski resort of St. Moritz prides itself on being oldest ski resort in the world and thus the cradle of winter tourism. It was “born” in 1864, when a Swiss hotelier made a bet with his English summer visitors: he promised that they could also enjoy the sunshine of St. Moritz in winter, otherwise he would cover their travel expenses. The result: the English spent a sun-drenched winter holiday in St. Moritz and inspired many other holidaymakers with their reports. Today St. Moritz is one of the noblest ski resorts in the world.
7. The longest ski route
On the longest, high alpine and unprepared ski route, winter sports enthusiasts conquer over 20 km and around 2,800 metres of altitude difference. We are talking about the “Vallée Blanche”, which leads through the area of the same name down to Chamonix. Regarding some of the glacier crevasses, a mountain guide is indispensable when skiing on this route.
8. The longest funicular railway
With funiculars – i.e. cable cars that are tied to rails – it can get pretty steep. But nowhere in the Alps is it as steep as with the Swiss Stoosbahn in Stoos. Since December 2017, this funicular has been transporting mountain lovers up the mountain with a gradient of up to 110%. That’s 47 degrees – hold on tight!
9. The largest ropeway support
At 127 m, the support of the Zugspitze cable car, inaugurated in 2017, is the highest steel construction support for reversible aerial tramways in the world. And that is not all: at 1,945 m, the Zugspitze cable car overcomes one of the largest overall height differences in the world. In addition, its span field of 3,213 m is the longest in the world. So if you go to the Zugspitze ski area, you will already experience an absolute highlight during the ascent.
10. The longest ropeway stairway
Most of the steps in a row are covered in the Alps when one climbs or descends the escape stairs along the tracks of a Swiss cable car. The staircase of the Niesen funicular (open only from April to November) consists of 11,674 steps. The stair climbers thus reach 1,642 metres in height on foot or descend from this height. But: The staircase is only open to the public once a year at the “Niesen-Treppenlauf” – a competition for all staircase fans.
11. The highest railway station
When you get to the final stop of the Jungfraujoch rackwheel railway and disembark, you have a truly fantastic mountain panorama. Located at an altitude of 3,454 m in the Fieschertal valley, the railway station is probably one of the most beautiful terminal stations in the world. You can admire the surrounding mountains, above all the Eiger and Mönch, from viewing platforms.
12. The highest mountain hut
The Capanna Regina Margherita mountain hut is situated very far up and lonely and holds its position as the highest hut in the Alps. It is located on the 4,554 m high Signalkuppe, a mountain on the Italian side of the Monte Rosa massif. If you want to spend the night here, you can only do so from June to September. Then the hut is open for guests and has 70 beds ready.
13. The largest double-decker cableway
The Vanoise Express in the French Paradiski ski region with the towns of La Plagne and Les Arcs has two-storey cabins and can accommodate 200 people. The Vanoise Express is also one of the fastest cable cars in the world with a maximum speed of 12.5 metres per second, i.e. 45 kilometres per hour.
14. The longest toboggan run
The popular toboggan run at Wildkogel in Bramberg is about 14 km long and is thus the longest toboggan run in the Alps. It leads to the village and is open daily until 10 pm, in the evening hours it is illuminated!
15. The highest gourmet restaurant
The sky is rarely as close as in the “ice Q Gourmet Restaurant” in the Sölden ski area. With its location at 3,048 m above sea level, it is the highest gourmet restaurant in Europe and convinces with sophisticated gourmet cuisine and the finest wines from the best winegrowers. James Bond himself did not want to miss this alpine record: The panorama is so spectacular that the film “Spectre” was shot here on location.
16. The highest outdoor pool
In Zermatt in Switzerland, wellness lovers in particular are thrilled when they discover the highest outdoor pool in Europe at an altitude of 2,200 m – including a view of the impressive Matterhorn. This is part of the 5-star Hotel Riffelalp and maintains a constant water temperature of 35 degrees Celsius.
17. The highest café
Right at the top of the Pitztal glacier is the “Cafe 3.440”, named after its height at 3.440 m. Here you can relax and enjoy a hot drink or a piece of cake with a breathtaking view of 3,000 m peaks such as the 3,774 m high Wildspitze. The café offers a total of 160 seats.
18. The highest located concert hall
Musical sounds at lofty heights can be enjoyed in the concert hall in St. Christoph am Arlberg, 1,800 m above sea level. Friends of contemporary art and music will definitely get their money’s worth in the 190-person hall.
19. The highest alpine mountain pass
The Col de la Bonette is situated at an altitude of 2,715 m in the French Maritime Alps. To be exact, this is actually a double mountain pass: Pass conquerors cross both the Col of the Restefond and the said Col de la Bonette on a stretch of barely 50 km. By extending the loop at the top of the pass by the Cime de la Bonette, one arrives at the record altitude of the Alpine pass of 2,802 m.
20. The highest located brewery
Beer drinkers get their money’s worth at 1,760 m in the ski area Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang-Fieberbrunn in the truest sense of the word. Here is the highest brewery, the AsitzBräu: Cheers!