Climbing into thin air from characterful Courmayeur is the slick Skyway Monte Bianco, a 360-degree rotating aerial tramway from valley floor to Punta Helbronner (3,466 meters) in just 10 minutes.
The 110 million euro ($131 million) lift, which opened in June 2015 to replace an older gondola, breaks its journey at the Pavillon du Mont Frety (2173 meters) before soaring like a speck of dust through the imposing scenery on the south side of Mont Blanc.
The futuristic top station peers across the roof of Europe toward the big "4,000ers" of Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn, the Gran Paradiso and the Grand Combin, plus offering high-altitude access for skiers and climbers.
In the summer a gondola connects Punta Helbronner with Chamonix's Aiguille du Midi, completing an aerial route from Italy to France.
Did you know? Courmayeur's ski area is a gourmet skier's paradise with seemingly more mountain restaurants than varieties of pizza. Maison Vieille is a cosy old shepherd's hut offering hearty staples, while Chiecco's dishes includes ricotta ravioli and ragu of wild boar with polenta. www.courmayeurmontblanc.it