For skiiers with a head for heights: From the world's highest zip wire to stepping into the void

Patrick Thorne reports on the rise of precarious perches

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The Independent Travel

1. The world's highest zip wire: Val Thorens, France

The world's highest zip wire opened above Europe's highest ski resort last winter. From a starting point 3,230m up, only accessible by skiers and boarders, it takes 105 seconds to descend the 1.3km wire to the 3,000m finishing point. You'll reach speeds of up to 100km/h and at the highest point "fly" 250m above the snow and ice below. 00 33 4 79 00 08 08; la‑tyrolienne.com; €50 per ride, over-8s only, helmets obligatory; open daily, weather permitting

2. Cable car rides and sky walks: Dachstein, Austria

The Dachstein is southern Austria's highest peak at 2,996m, the Alps' most easterly glacier, and a Unesco World Heritage site. Now it has gone that extra kilometre with its vertigo-inducing attractions. Start by riding up to the glacier on the roof of a new cable car, standing in an open-air rooftop "balcony" that is hundreds of metres above the cliff face.

Once there, the Dachstein Sky Walk awaits, stretching out over the void with the 250m Hunerkogel cliff face below and behind you, and views to Slovenia's Triglav mountain and the Czech Republic's Bohemian Forest ahead.

Finish your day by crossing Austria's highest suspension bridge, hanging over a 400m drop. 00 43 36 87 2204 2800; derdachstein.at; open daily; free with a ski pass (€43.50 per day)

3. The bridge between two peaks: Glacier 3000, Switzerland

The first hanging bridge in the world to connect two mountain peaks, View Point and Scex Rouge, opens next month at Glacier 3000, a ski area between Gstaad and Les Diablerets in Switzerland. The 107m bridge, named the Peak Walk, has cost CHF1.8m (£1.2m) to build, but will be free to use once you've bought a cable-car ticket to get up to it. 00 41 24 492 33 77; glacier3000.ch; one-day ski pass costs CHF62

4. Step into the void: Chamonix, France

The highest of the new platforms is essentially a glass room hanging out above the Chamonix Valley, 3,842m up at the top of the Aiguille du Midi. It's also the starting point of the world's longest ski run, the Vallée Blanche.

The structure's five faces, made entirely from reinforced glass, give a clear view on all sides – including straight down for more than 1,000m. The 2.5m-tall structure can support up to 1.5 tonnes, but only four people, wearing slippers, are allowed on at a time.

The attraction opened last winter but has recently been closed while the Aiguille du Midi is being renovated. It reopens next spring. 00 33 4 50 53 00 24; chamonix.com

5. The cliff walk: Engelberg, Switzerland

The 100m-long Titlis Cliff Walk, sited nearly two vertical miles above sea level at 3,041m, is ideal for a high-altitude promenade. Essentially a metal suspension bridge hanging over a 500 vertical metre abyss, it is accessed via another remarkable feat of engineering – a revolving cable car, the Rotair. During the ascent, the Rotair slowly revolves through 360 degrees. A new version of the Rotair cable car debuts this winter. 00 41 41 639 50 50; titlis.ch; one-day ski pass costs CHF62

6. The glass floor lift: Whistler, Canada

Several high-altitude ski lifts that have opened in recent years have installed clear glass panels in the lift floors so users can see that they really are as high as they claim to be.

The C$51m (£28m) Peak 2 Peak gondola linking the twin peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains above Whistler in British Columbia, Canada, is one such lift. It currently holds world records for having the longest span between support towers of 3.03km and it also reaches the highest point above the ground of any lift, at 436m (1,430ft). 00 1 604 938 2769; whistlerblackcomb.com; six-day ski pass costs C$690

7. Cliff-top dining: Obergurgl, Austria

If you prefer your cliff-hangers a little more sophisticated, then the futuristic Top Mountain Star, perched on a mountain 3,080m up in the Oetztaler Alps might suit you better.

Built by the five-star Top Hotel Hochgurgl, located a thousand or so vertical metres below, it offers champagne and gourmet cuisine as you take in the view during the day or evening.

The star theme in the self-styled "Diamond of the Alps" carries on in the designer bar, which is decorated with thousands of Swarovski crystals.  Opening this winter is planned for 13 November. 00 43 5256 6265; tophochgurgl.com

8. Skyline Walk: Mürren, Switzerland

One of the newest altitude platforms in the Alps opened in August at the historic ski area of Mürren in the heart of the stunning Jungfrau region. This platform has been added to the terrace of the resort's Birg mountain restaurant and extends out over a precipice, with transparent sections alongside the steel grill walkway allowing visitors to look straight down. The platform's angular design in keeping with the mountains. 00 41 33 856 8686; jungfrauwinter.ch; one-day ski pass CHF63

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