In 2000, the Rotenboden-Riffelberg sledging run was inaugurated 102 years after the opening of the Gornergrat Railway. Meinrad Heynen was responsible for the project as Operations Manager of the Gornergrat Railway and a member of the Executive Board. In this interview, he looks back at the origins of the sledging run.
Meinrad Heynen, how did the sledging run between Rotenboden and Riffelberg come about?
Meinrad Heynen: “Our aim was to create something for the non-skiing guests. The marketing employees quickly came up with the idea of a sledging run between the Gornergrat and Riffelberg.
We inspected the terrain and defined spots for the sledging run. It was important that it did not cross any ski slopes. In the end, we were able to set up a varied sledging run between Rotenboden and Riffelberg.”
The run opened in 2000. What do you remember about it?
Meinrad Heynen: “Everyone involved was on site on the opening day. We were excited to see how the sledging run would be received by the guests. The offer was popular from the very first minute and the project was a complete success."
Have you tried out the sledging run yourself?
Meinrad Heynen: “Yes, of course. We tried out several types of sledge in advance and selected the most suitable for our run. On the opening day, I was the first person to race down the slope.”
And how do guests get their sledges?
Meinrad Heynen: “People can hire the sledges at Rotenboden; these are then taken back up from Riffelberg by train once the sledgers have finished the course.”
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The Zermatt mountain panorama is the perfect terrain for sledgers. The fast-paced, action-packed ride lasts around 10 minutes.