Ski & Snowboard

 

ZERMATT

Ski & Snowboard Resort Review

Zermatt, Switzerland, is the southern most Swiss resort, nestled at the foot of the world famous and majestic Matterhorn, peaking at 14,691 feet. Zermatt is very snow sure due to it’s high altitude and glaciers offering year round skiing and snowboarding, the winter season is one of the longest in Europe starting in early November and finishing in mid May.

Zermatt Skiing and Snowboarding Terrain

The Matterhorn Ski Paradise area is divided naturally into 3 areas; the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and Schwarzsee Paradise area, the Gornergrat area and the Rothorn area. Zermatt is also lift linked to the neighbouring Italian resort of Cervinia.

Descending from a breathtaking height the skiing and snowboarding terrain consists of long well groomed fast carving trails, over 15 kilometres of mogul covered runs, tree skiing and snowboarding and gentle beginner only areas.

Zermatt powder skiing

Zermatt tourism

Generally the skiing and snowboarding at Zermatt is catered towards the confident intermediate wanting to enjoy long groomed pistes, scenic surroundings and a great atmosphere. Experts looking for off piste adventures should be aware that the off piste terrain at Zermatt is limited. This is due to granite rocks scattered throughout the entire area as well as some extremely steep cliff areas, be very cautious if you do go off piste as it can go from extreme to extremely dangerous very quickly!

Free electric buses running from the Zermatt Village link the ski areas together.

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and Schwarzsee Paradise

The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and Schwarzsee Paradise areas are the most popular and largest skiing and snowboarding areas in Zermatt.

The Schwarzsee Paradise is on the lower slopes rising up from the Zermatt Village; here you find mainly intermediate and beginner long linking groomed trails.

From the base of the mountain at Furi you can bypass the Schwarzsee Paradise area by catching the Furi Trockener Steg Cable Car to the base of the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise area. From there catch the Trockener Steg – Matterhorn Glacier Cable Car to the very top, it is a memorable and scenic experience passing over some huge barren glaciers while being surrounded by mountain peaks.

Once at the top the skiing and snowboarding options are vast, groomed trails go out wide past the glacier areas and Switzerland's longest linking trails measuring 22 kilometres in length are found here. The upper areas around Plateau Rosa are best suited to intermediate skiers and snowboarders as the terrain is flatter than the lower slopes. The connecting link to the neighbouring Italian resort of Cervinia is from Plateau Rosa.

Advanced skiers and snowboarders looking for steeper powder covered pistes head down towards the Trockener Steg – Matterhorn Glacier Cable Car base station and catch the Furggsattel Gletscherbahn Chairlift to the Furggsattel area, here stay close to the cliff band and to your right looking down the mountain are some open wide steep powder slopes.

Matterhorn Ski Safari

To get a good feel of the Matterhorn Ski Paradise take part in a day long Matterhorn Ski Safari, it enables you to explore the entire international ski and snowboard area of Zermatt and the connecting Italian resort of Cervinia. The Matterhorn Ski Safari covers over 32,800 vertical feet (10,000 meters) without using the same trail or lift twice.

A piste map highlights the sequence of trails starting at the Rothorn Valley Station going to Cervinia and back. Before you do the trip be aware that sometimes high winds can cause the lifts between Cervinia and Zermatt to close trapping you in your valley so make sure the weather conditions are good before heading off.

Gornergrat Area

The Gornergrat area is accessed via the Gornergrat Rack Railway Train leaving regularly from the Zermatt Village. The train has magnificent views of the Matterhorn and Gorner and Findel glaciers, try to get out early and be on the first train to watch the sun rise and trickle through the valley.

The terrain is best suited to intermediate and advanced skiers with long fast groomed runs and some limited off piste powder terrain on the upper slopes.

A good warm up run and a great way to avoid the morning crowds is to catch the first train to the top then cruise down the long linking trails all the way to Furi, the base area of the Schwarzsee area.

In the 2006/2007 winter season a new cable car between Furi and Riffelburg was installed.  The cable car starts at Furi going via Schweigmatten then up to Riffelberg where it joins the Gifthittli chair, this greatly eases morning congestion in busy times and give skiers and snowboarders easier access to the terrain.

Advanced skiing and snowboarding tours are available on the glaciers and from Stockhorn, the highest lift point at Gornergrat. Guides negotiate past crevasses in the solid ice heading for untouched virgin powder snow.

Rothorn Paradise Area

The Rothorn Paradise area is accessed from the Zermatt Village by an underground funicular train as well as being lift linked to the Gornergrat area. The old double chairlift, the Findeln Chairlift, was replaced with a new four seater chairlift in 2007 which carries 2,000 passengers per hour easing peak congestion.

The terrain is best suited for intermediate and beginner skiers and snowboarders with wide open runs. Catch the Blauherd Rothorn Paradise cable car up the top for some really long groomed fast intermediate cruisers leading back down to the base area. Some good tree skiing and snowboarding can be had on the lower slopes below the Patrullarve Chairlift.

Zermatt Heli Skiing and Snowboarding

Heli skiing and snowboarding tours are available at Zermatt. Air Zermatt and Alpin Center have day long tours through the upper glacier and powder terrain areas of the Monte Rosa terrain. Helicopter links to and from Cervinia and Zermatt are also available.

Zermatt Terrain Parks and Halfpipe

The Gravity Park located on the lower slopes of the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise area has kickers, jumps and rails all of varying sizes and a well maintained superpipe.

Other Activities at Zermatt

Outdoor activities at Zermatt include ice hiking, snow shoeing, walking tours of the village, ice skating, curling, cross country skiing, paragliding and dog sleigh rides. Give yourself time to explore the narrow streets and alleys leading off the main street, you will discover some historic buildings and quant hotels and bars.

Indoor activities at Zermatt include swimming, bowling, tennis, squash and massage and beauty treatments.

For those who really enjoy tobogganing, catch the Gornergrat train to Rotenboden Station and race down the 10 minute run to Riffelberg Station, toboggans can be hired at Rotenboden station. There is also night tobogganing every Tuesday and Thursday night from Furi to Zermatt.

Shopping at Zermatt

Zermatt’s main street is lined with the latest ski and snowboard equipment shops, fashion boutiques, shoe shops, antique shops, souvenir and gift stores, jewellers, perfumeries and pharmacies. There are art and photography galleries, day spas, hairdressers and supermarkets, butchers, delicatessens and bakeries.

Zermatt Restaurants

Zermatt has more than 90 restaurants with cuisine ranging from traditional Swiss restaurants serving cheese specialities to French, Italian, German, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Mediterranean restaurants.

You cannot go to Zermatt and not go to Cafe du Pont for cheese fondue and raclette. The café is located at the top end of the main street; it has been serving cheese dishes in Zermatt for the past 200 years and is small and cosy with a terrific atmosphere.

The fine dining Restaurant Matterhorn in the Alpen Resort Hotel serves an exquisite a la carte Swiss menu complemented by an excellent wine list. Restaurant Alexandre in the Riffelalp Resort has a weekly buffet dinner as well as a set gourmet Italian/French style menu nightly.

Koslich’s Ambiance restaurant in the Hotel Ambiance is a family friendly bistro serving delicious dishes like Swiss veal with mushrooms and beef fillet wrapped in ham followed by Zermatt’s own cheeses.

Patisseries (bakeries) line the main street serving sweet and savoury delights, as do cafes and little takeaway hole in the wall stores serving crepes and toasted sandwiches.

On the slopes there are over 30 restaurants scattered throughout the Matterhorn Ski Paradise. There are lovely quaint little wooden huts as well as large restaurants with huge viewing sundecks.

Restaurant ALM, near the Furi cable car station, seats 80 people inside and 60 outside on the sundeck, it serves fresh trout and homemade Italian dishes, fruit tarts and excellent coffee.

The Trockener Steg complex at 9,640 feet is located between the Matterhorn and Klein Matterhorn; it is where you catch the cable car from to the top of the Matterhorn Glacier paradise. It has six restaurants, cafes and bars. TheTrockener Steg Cafeteria is a self service buffet with seating for 400 people inside and 400 outside on the sundeck. Pizzeria Cervino is Europe’s highest pizzeria serving gourmet pizzas, pasta and Italian wines with seating for 160 people inside and 160 outside. The Kasestube Furgg restaurant specializes in Swiss cheese dishes as well as having a lunch time set menu of salad and risotto.

Located 15 meters underground the highest glacier palace in the world, the Gletscherpalast Glacier Palace Klein Matterhorn is an interesting insight into a glacier, much of the display is of ice carvings and sculptures but sections of the palace (cave) show up close internal sections of the glacier. Entry is free and private drinks functions can be held in the palace.

At the end of the day head to the Wunder Bar for hot drinks, goulash soup and chilled big beers. The small Panorama Bar located on the lower level of the Trockener Steg complex serves quick snacks and hot drinks.

Some of the smaller restaurants in the Matterhorn Ski Paradise fill up early so it is wise to book a table a couple of days in advance.

Zermatt Nightlife

Zermatt has 44 bars and nightclubs; chose to spend the night in an intimate quite wine bar, crowded pub or dance the night away in one of the many discos.

The Hotel Post is one of the most popular meeting and entertainment spots in the Zermatt Village. It has five bars and a disco.The Brown Cow Pub and Snack Bar is open until 2am every morning serving hamburgers, sandwiches and après ski drinks.

The Broken Bar Disco is located under the hotel cellar in a cave like room; the DJs go all night long.

Le Village Dance Club has dancing on the table tops until 3.30am every morning. Internationally acclaimed DJs perform there frequently throughout the season.

The Pink is a live music bar where you can watch jazz, blues and funk bands play.

Papa Caeser Lounge Bar is much quieter and more relaxed bar than the others, sit in an armchair and enjoy a cocktail or glass wine.

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Your Zermatt Ski & Snowboard Resort Reviews

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J. Buttersworth, USA. Really enjoyed my family's time in Zermatt, top skiing and terrain top people, top restaurants on and off the mountain, top scenery, and boy what a village. If only more resorts around the world had a smidgin of the atmosphere found here.

Angie Holloway, South Africa. I'd always heard how charming and scenic Zermatt was and finally got to experience it for myself. Unfortunately I went during a poor snow time. The conditions were icy and crowded but I still managed to find some good fun pistes. I found the level of piste difficulties very varied, as expected, but I didn't venture off the piste as there were still many un-snow covered boulders. I did venture up and over the mountain and down into the Italian side, Cervinia, where I found the snow and wind conditions better than in Zermatt. In the mornings I would catch the train from the town center up to the Gornergrat area where I would have some warm up runs before making my way down to the main cable car/s to head up to the top of the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. The village was a dream, more shops than you can explore, restaurants everywhere and the apres skiing endless! I enjoyed seeing the horse drawn carriages traveling down the streets and hearing the faint jingle of the bells on the electric taxi cars.

Carol Jones, UK. Zermatt in Switzerland is one of the most beautiful skiing areas you will ever experience. The scenery is fantastic and the skiing is varied as there are different sides of the mountains (with the Matterhorn in the middle) to ski on so you can find different conditions on the same day. The village allows no cars so it is delightful to walk around at any time. You can take a horse drawn sleigh ride and pretend you are royalty!

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Statistics

Elevation
 
ft
m
summit
12,739
3,883
Base
5,315
1,620
Average Snowfall
Lifts
63
Trails - view map
135
313 km
Terrain %
advanced
21
intermediate
50
beginner
29
Halfpipe
1
Terrain Park
1
Resort Website

 

 

 

 

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