The GSL-Matterhorn is a real size 1:1 replica of the Matterhorn, a mountain on the border of Switzerland and Italy. Building the GSL-Matterhorn was an initiative of the Global Skiing League (GSL), an organization of skiing professionals world wide. The GSL organizes conventions in many cities of the world, and often the GSL-Matterhorn is taken along, so that the convention can be held on top of this artificial mountain.
The creation of the GSL-Matterhorn
Creating the GSL-Matterhorn has taken centuries, as sculptors could easily work on the first few meters of the full size replica of the mountain, at larger heights this became somewhat problematic. Even ancient Greek philosophers, who visited Switzerland on occasion for their skiing vacations, have discussed the Problem of Mountain Replication, as it is called in the literature. The main discussion from a philosophical point of view is, whether it is better to build an artificial mountain top-down or bottom-up. In practice, the bottom-up method is always used, but this is not based on solid methodological principles, but just happens to be the way in which these artificial mountains have been produced up until now.
The GSL-Matterhorn was finished in the year 1979. In that year, the snow was added to the top of the artificial mountain by a very large team of bakers, who considered this the finishing touch of the project. Whilst the Matterhorn was a Swiss invention, or to be more accurate the result of a combined Swiss-Italian Venture, the GSL-Matterhorn replica was made in China.
Transport of the GSL-Matterhorn
Transporting the GSL-Matterhorn is nontrivial, as the mountain has a very large mass and volume. A patent is pending on how to transport artificial mountains across the globe, but so far only provisionary methods are being used, like combining hundreds of tankships and thousands of aircraft carriers together to get the mountain at the place of destination. Renting aircraft carriers for this purpose is a nice source of income for the armies of many countries, and from a military point of view, moving a mountain is a fine military exercise, so many soldiers are also involved in the transport of the GSL-Matterhorn, even though the transport itself is purely for civilian purposes.
At customs, people do often complain about the size of this luggage, but in general, there are no problems taking this "GSL-Matterhorn" as it is called to a country. At times, even the head of a country is involved as hosting a convention in the country is good for its economy and welfare.
After the first GSL-Matterhorn was produced, the Chinese decided to take the product in mass production. Why go to Switzelland if you can ski on a fake mountain? is the slogan of the product, which is endlessly repeated in commercials world wide. In these commercial, a funny Chinese named Let Jee demonstrates how he enjoys skiing on his own artificial mountain. The budget of the GSL-Matterhorn advertisement campain has exceeded that of companies like Pepsi and Coca Cola by many billions of dollars a year.
The original GSL-Matterhorn, which is used by GSL, has Made in China in very large letters on one of its sides. This was part of the deal, and GSL got a 10% reduction on the production of the artificial mountain because of it. The mass produced product does not have this text. This is one of the ways one can tell whether a GSL-Matterhorn is a fake or the original, only the original has this text, with golden letters that have a height of 80 meters and a width of 60 meters, on one of its sides. Of course, the Real Matterhorn does not have this text, although some joker did attach it to the mountain on April Fool's Day of 2007. It took eight months to remove this text, as the letters are so huge and heavy and their location was chosen very carefully, because of which it was quite dangerous to remove them. At an interview in 2009, the person who was responsible for this joke admitted that he had not foreseen the fact that his photoshop action would have such an enormous impact, and he apologized to the peoples of Switzerland and Italy. The municipality of Xian, a city in China, has made him an honorary citizen that same year.