Alpina is partnering with Red Bull on the "Red Bull The Edge" project. This virtual yet incredibly realistic climbing adventure leading to the top of the Matterhorn was developed in cooperation with the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne and instigated by Swiss film production company Garidi Films. Launched back in June, the experience allows visitors to climb the final metres of the legendary Swiss mountain on a real climbing wall, equipped with a harness, VR glasses, plus foot and hand tracking. During their ascent, climbers can check the altitude with a virtual AlpinerX Smart Outdoors smartwatch from Alpina. 4D effects such as wind, vibrations and textures make the experience feel even more real, bringing to life a unique opportunity surpassing all existing virtual reality experiences.
Who hasn’t ever wondered what the view was like from the top of the Matterhorn? With its pyramidal shape and rocky spur raising its majestic profile to the horizon, this well-known mountain in the Swiss Alps stands at 4,478 metres and plays a central role in Switzerland’s heritage. Located in the canton of Valais, between Zermatt and the Italian resort of Breuil-Cervinia, the Matterhorn is one of the most famous peaks in Europe.
More than an all-important part of the local heritage, the Matterhorn also features prominently in Swiss tourism, attracting the most committed mountaineers. Associated with mobility in the mountains as well, it has a special place within the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne. It's therefore the perfect place to offer the unique experience of climbing this iconic peak in virtual reality, combined with physical reality, enabling anyone who dreams of reaching the top the chance to do so.
Climbing Matterhorn in VR
The project, named "Red Bull The Edge", makes climbing the Matterhorn accessible to anyone who wants to do it, without venturing onto its precipitous rocks for real. Located outside the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne, a wooden pavilion echoing its triangular form contains a climbing wall for visitors to have a go on.
Thanks to cutting-edge 3D technology and equipped with VR glasses, foot and hand tracking sensors, as well as a climbing harness, climbers can set off on this incredibly realistic interactive adventure, complete with virtual reconstruction of the scenery and the experience of an actual climb. In addition, 4D effects such as wind, vibrations and textures bridge the gap between the real and the virtual, bringing to life a unique moment surpassing all existing virtual reality experiences.
To make a mountain like the Matterhorn accessible, you need knowledgeable guides in addition to innovative technology; Red Bull athlete and freerider Jérémie Heitz and his friend Sam Anthamatten welcome visitors with an introductory video briefing video. On their way up climbers are accompanied by Sam Anthamatten, an experienced mountain guide from Zermatt.
AlpinerX Smart Outdoors at the very top
What better way to climb this legendary peak than equipped with an AlpinerX Smart Outdoors? Thanks to state-of-the-art technology, visitors are virtually equipped with an Alpina smartwatch complete with altimeter to advise them of their altitude during the ascent. A barometer also allows them to keep an eye on the weather conditions. Created for outdoor sports enthusiasts and featuring environmental sensors, the AlpinerX Smart Outdoors offers advanced measurement functionality, including: altitude, temperature, pressure, direction, UV index and heart rate monitoring during training (BLE connection with heart rate monitor belt). The AlpinerX Smart Outdoors also logs and analyses sleep cycles, as well as informing the wearer of messages and missed calls.
Measuring each parameter in real-time, the watch transfers the data to the user's smartphone using the Alpina Smartwatch app, available for iOS and Android, in order to analyse the activity and suggest areas for improvement.
Alpine and sporting heritage
Inspired by the Alps from the very beginning, Alpina has always been heavily involved in outdoor activities and mountain sports. The brand set out to design luxury sports watches offering exceptional accuracy and reliability in the most challenging sporting environments, like the Alps.
When Alpina was founded in 1883 by Gottlieb Hauser – back then, under the name Alpina Union Horlogère SA – his vision, the "Alpinist Principle", was to unite the strengths of the Swiss watchmaking industry in order to achieve the highest quality and technical innovation in manufacturing, under the most favourable conditions... an anecdote that makes all the more sense with this project. Like a roped party of mountaineers, all the participants were working in the same direction by devoting themselves to their passion for getting to the top – excellence.
In 1938, Gottlieb Hauser finally turned his vision into reality with the introduction of the "Alpina 4" concept, revolutionising the sports watch by prescribing the four principles essential to any timepiece that aims to be considered a real "sports watch": anti-magnetic, shock-resistant, water-resistant and stainless steel. In a nutshell, he developed a must-have that still seems unsurpassable and continues to influence the making of contemporary sports watches today.
Built on this involvement with the world of Alpine sports, Alpina naturally joined forces with Red Bull as part of the "Red Bull The Edge" project, so as to support climbers dreaming of reaching their summit.
An international collaboration
To accomplish this project, pioneers from Switzerland and abroad have been combining their talents over the past three years. Designed by Garidi Films, a film production company based in Geneva, in Switzerland, the idea was then developed and realised with Red Bull and the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne, as well as in close collaboration with sportsmen, mountain guides, mountaineers, engineers and motion capture specialists. The VR experience was designed from a 3D photogrammetric scan of Cervin and a total of over 14,000 km2 of mountain ranges mapped by senseFly, the world’s leading manufacturer of fixed-wing drones, based in Lausanne (Switzerland). The X Studios agency and its team of 3D scenic artists, animators and programmers have made the whole thing not just photorealistic, but fully interactive, including foot and hand tracking, plus a high-end HP VR backpack as a computer.
Outdoor exhibition about Matterhorn
The outdoor exhibition introduces the public to the legendary Matterhorn, the rich tradition of Zermatt's mountain guides and rescuers, the advancements of cable cars, as well as extraordinary performances by contemporary sportsmen. The upper floor of the climbing pavilion offers magnificent views of the popular mountain, which can be admired day and night.
Information about the experience
The "Red Bull The Edge" experience is aimed at all mountain lovers over 12 years of age. Entry (full price) costs 24 CHF; concessionary tickets for students and school children, as well as in combination with the day pass for the Swiss Transport Museum are available from 19 CHF. Tickets can only be booked for a defined time slot, either via the Swiss Museum of Transport's online ticket office or at the museum.
ABOUT ALPINA: SWISS MANUFACTURER OF ALPINE SPORTS WATCHES SINCE 1883
Founded in 1883 and famous for its iconic red triangle, Alpina is a Swiss watch manufacturer based in Geneva. The brand set out to design luxury sports watches offering exceptional accuracy and reliability in the most challenging sporting environments, like the Alps. A true pioneer of the watchmaking industry, Alpina has been the source of numerous patents and innovative calibres over the past 138 years. At the beginning of the 20th century, Alpina became the official supplier of watches to military pilots, before revolutionising the concept of sports watches in 1938 with the legendary Alpina 4.
True to its long tradition of innovation, Alpina launched the first Swiss made Horological Smartwatch in 2015, creating a new segment in the luxury Swiss sports watch market. In 2020, the brand introduced the AlpinerX Alive, a new generation of connected watches equipped with a heart rate monitor and GPS, among other things. Also committed to protecting the planet, Alpina created the Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic range using recycled plastic from the oceans. In 2021, the brand is doubling down on its promise to get involved with organisations fighting to protect the environment. Joined together by the unifying principle We Shape the Change – the environmental equivalent of Reach Your Summit – Alpina will undertake a variety of measures aimed at drawing public attention to current environmental issues.
Inspired by the Alps from the very beginning, Alpina has always been heavily involved in outdoor activities and mountain sports. The brand has established strong partnerships demonstrating its commitment to this world, as well as a team of 'Alpinists', including athletes and friends of the brand working in the most challenging environments.