Ski Zermatt, Switzerland.
Thinking about going to Ski Zermatt.We have been there and explored this part of the world, and can share our angle on this beautiful valley. See this part of the world and get a feel for Switzerland. Quite easily a mecca for global ski buffs. A pearl, perhaps a gem of the Swiss Alps.
Family friendly rating
- General feel . A beautiful alpine village almost trapped in time. The only mode of transportation is via electric cars or sleigh.The town sits in a valley bisected by a river. All chalets complement one another very well retaining old alpine charm type of architecture.
The town has a nice atmosphere.Scenery of the town in the foreground and the Matterhorn Peak in the backdrop is inspirational.
- Tips Don’t only Ski Zermatt, but also soak up the history of this place. Visit the local museum. You’ll discover how shepherds lived here long before some continents were discovered, and how local climbing and skiing expeditions were carried out over a century ago.It was the reminder how humble the Alpine life was ,how climbers traveled,and clothed themselves.With my highly rated Hydrostatic Head jacket and thermal warmers, I felt a little overdressed for the occasion.
- Off Piste. To have a fulfilled vacation skiing Zermatt, visit three main ski areas, each reached from different points in the village. I would suggest spend a day per area, just to get a feel for the terrain. If you expect fine weather, try to visit a different ski area on each clear day. If you like exploring powder, you will not be disappointed, as they cannot all be covered by local tourists.
See ski map of Zermatt.
1/Gornergrat-Stockhorn. This region is central to the village.It can be reached by an old railway approx. 40 min trip. The departure point is close to the train platform you arrived at. You will ascend about 1.8 km vertically.
For beyond the boundary skiers, catch a cable car at the end of the train journey to reach Mt Stockhorn. Your adventure vacation skiing Zermatt will start on a lot of black runs. This part of the terrain is better suited to advanced skiers. The scenery is beautiful. Take a camera! The descent is steep so condition your quads before departure.
On the way down you pass Triftji, rest there.This is a good stop after initially a steep descend. For those with good knees this is where mogul championships are held. For more adventurous skiing try this area first before you take on the Kl Matterhorn region. You can go off both sides of this mountain, and will eventually be funneled down to the village.
2/Unter-rothorn. This region is to the left upon entry to the town .You have to cross the river to get to the point of departure. This spot has a fast express which takes about 3 min to ascend 700m vertically to Sunnega andthen take a gondola to Blauherd and Rothorn.
This destination is once again excellent for scenery , beautiful views of the Matterhorn mountain, great steep skiable terrain.Check it out! Your total vertical rise from the village is 1.5 km. You get here pretty fast.
3/Klein Matterhorn.This region is at the back of the village furthest from the arrival point after you enter the village. Probably most attended by the skiers for its scenery. You can see the back drop of the entire village. When you ski Zermatt, you have to check this area out. This region is adjacent to the big sister peak Matterhorn.
Three gondolas take you there ascending vertically 2.2 km. You have an opportunity to ski a glacier. This region, when explored beyond the boundary, is best done initially with an expert. There are a lot of steep drop-offs here. Avalanche country can be found here. From here to the village you will enjoy the longest run in Zermatt, over 13 km ( miles).
If you however only ascend half way up the mountain plenty of runs are available for intermediates. Some descends from this half way point are suitable for beginners as well.
Being here you can cross over to Italy ( Cervina ) and back in one day. Visiting Cervinia from Kl Matterhorn is not difficult (food is cheaper) although take care and study the weather as the return trip may be difficult.
Going to Cervinia is an adventure in its own right. Our recommendation is, if the forecast tells you the next day’s weather is clear, be out there at 8.30am at the base of the Furi lift, to take you to Kl Matterhorn. Within 2 to 3 hours you will be crossing the mountain ridge to descend to Cervinia. Spend a couple of hours in Italian Cervinia, and head back to Kl Matterhohn . Lift close at 3.30 pm so give yourself plenty of time. Some people get stranded overnight in Cervinia.
- Shops. You can pick and chose, go impulse shopping. There are well over 100 restaurants. If you have a partner who is not into skiing they will have plenty to do, can go ice skating!Discos were in Hotel de la Poste , Pollux and Alex.
- Food . Le Mazot was a medium priced restaurant. The North Wall bar is the cheapest eatery, popular with resort workers. Burger shop is also in the village. Hey… but don’t be fooled to think you will pick it up for 5 bucks. You will spend a few more dollars in a bar and have a full dinner. Don’t omit to have the Fondue,- the Swiss way. Melted cheese in a pot. You dip your bread slices in it as you go.
Oh almost forgot !…..there are well in excess of 20 cafes up on the slopes, maybe even more, but I haven’t counted.
- Places to stay. No particular recommendations, all the ones I have seen are high class. Remember you are in Switzerland, hence accommodation is reasonably expensive. All owners take pride in presentation. May need to hold onto your wallet.A recollection that pops to mind is having my pants ironed prior to dinner at the cost of 25 swiss franks ! Ouch !
For those on a strict budget and traveling alone try a dorm opposite the train station, at the arrival point to the village (approx. 30 sfr /NT ). Another spot is a hostel across the river, look for SYHA. Put on your scout’s hat and it’ll be cool.
- Events.The place really lights up 1st August, National Swiss day. Check rosters each season for different events, there are plenty of things to do.
- Getting here. By Air, closest air port is Geneva. Road transit to the Zermatt base car park, is just under 4 hours.
By car I never object to traveling Switzerland by car, train, or bus, the scenery is awesome. As you approach Zermatt be advised that you will need to leave your car at the base car park, and catch a train to get to the Alpine Village.
Cars are not allowed access to the village. Pack wisely, especially if you travel with kids. You will be throwing your stuff onto the train , then briefly later throwing it off again. Your transit does not stop here. Once you get here, you will need to then catch a ride to your chalet. Unless you are well packed with your back pack, you willprobably need to do some walking. It is worth it in the end.
If you land here to Ski Zermatt with a young family explore the Furi region, where the whole family can ski gentler slopes. Enjoy the town, soak up the location. Take your children for a walk around the town, there is plenty to explore. Show them the old shepherd’s huts, they are everywhere. Take up casual tobogganing .You can taboggan even between the chalets. Cars will not swipe you off the road as are not allowed.
Go for a stroll along the river (if not frozen).When the day is sunny see how pristine rivers can be. Swiss are very pollution conscious, and care about their eco-system. Show them the ice skating rink, located close to the train station. This area is a bit of a hive of activity. A lot of kids can be found here to interact with.
- Chilren’s proximity to lift system. My suggestion is stay on the southern side of Zermatt , which is the furthest point away from the point of arrival to the village. You will be at the base of the Furi lift system. The runs coming down from Furi are gentler sloping, good for kids starting out skiing. While your kids ski here, you can take a ride to Klein Matterhorn.
- Proximity to slopes. Try the runs coming down from Furi.
- Creche. Talk to the chalet’s management , they will advise you where is the crèche being held during the season. You will be most impressed how many Swiss speak English.
- Children friendly cafes. All the 4 stars chalets have dinning facilities and are welcoming to families. Try anything with four stars and less.
- Equipment hire. Available at the ski-lift off points. Start you ski adventure in the main street, where the ski information point is.It is located half way up from the train station. If you want to explore the mountains with a guide , you will find one here.
Best Time For good snow cover visit in February to April period. A lot of the slopes have northern exposure, so the season can last from November through to May, with best skiing above 1600m.
Have a blast when you go to Ski Zermatt. We can’t wait to come back here again.Does anyone here want to swap homes for few months?
Usefull link if you want to ski Zermatt through the eyes of a camera.
From Ski Zermatt Ski Zermatt back home.