The history


The birth

"Is imminent the inauguration of the Glacier Cable Car, which completes the big bridge between Italy
and France, a bridge that will allow anyone in need and desire to move in just over an hour from Courmayeur to Chamonix."
(La Domenica del Corriere, 1958)

The idea of an international cable-car link between Italy and a neighbouring country had attracted the attention of the Count Lora Totino. His idea was to link the Italian side of the Matterhorn with Zermatt, but the Swiss authorities didn’t give permission. The Count diverted his interest to an even more prestigious project, linking Courmayeur to Chamonix through the extraordinary massif of Mont Blanc.


The cable car history

This amazing piece of engineering is 15 km long and includes 3 sections.
The first one links La Palud to Rifugio Torino. This section was built during the war and as soon as it was opened the cables were severed by French fighter planes firing on them. The cable-car was then opened to the public in 1948.
The second section linking Chamonix to the Aiguille du Midi was opened to the public in 1956, and extends over 5416 m with a vertical climb of 2812 m . The first task was to link Chamonix (1030 m) and Plan des Aiguilles (2317 m), and then the following year the section reaching the Aiguille du Midi (3842 m) was built.

The third section linking Rifugio Torino to the Aigulle du Midì was opened in 1958, using the Gros Rognon as natural support for the cables.
The Glaciers cable-car begins at Punta Helbronner, and is undoubtedly the most interesting and spectacular section from both a technical and panoramic point of view.
The Count Lora Totino developed the idea of an aerial pylon to support the cables linking the Gros Rognon and Punta Helbronner as it was impossible to install a normal pylon on the glaciers.


The Italian side

On the Italian side there was a pre-existing cable-car linking Courmayeur and Rifugio Torino (3300 m). Building the next part to reach Punta Helbronner was not a problem, the great difficulty was crossing 5 km of glaciers under continuous movement.
This amazing piece of engineering is 15 km long and includes 3 sections.
The first one links La Palud to Rifugio Torino. This section was built during the war and as soon as it was opened the cables were severed by French fighter planes firing on them. The cable-car was then opened to the public in 1948.


The aerial pylon

The section between Gros Rognon and Punta Helbronner is a single span of 3.300 meters and was necessary to build an aerial pylon which of course needed a support, and the idea was connecting the cable with the Flambeau and the Gros Rognon.
Having excluded the option of placing a normal pylon on the glacier below (due to the instability of glaciers), Count Lora Totino thought of the possibility of building precisely an aerial pylon. He did experiments in the garden of his villa, then he designated Mr. Zignoli – engineer - for the realization.


A pioneer in the development of tourism

It is impossible to talk about Courmayeur and Funivie Monte Bianco without a thought to Count Giovanni Battista Gilberti.
Count Giovanni Battista Gilberti (Titta for friends) was born in Milano on 15th June 1913. His family used to spend their holyday in Courmayeur since 1908. Passionate mountaineer and skier, a pioneer in the development of tourism and ski of Courmayeur, his name is forever linked to this small alpine village that under his leadership has become a modern winter tourism resort.
In 1957 Count Gilberti bought the actions of Società Monte Bianco from Count Lora Totino, becoming the majority shareholder and President of the company, owner of the lifts.
From that moment, the Gilberti family has become one of the most important protagonist of tourism development in Courmayeur.

Today

The works of construction of the new cable car began on April 10, 2012 and ended on May 29, 2015.
On Saturday May 30, 2015 SkyWay Monte Bianco opened to the public.

TECHNICAL DATA

Il rifugio Torino Vecchio costruito dal Club Alpino Italiano sezione di Torino nel 1898