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Zermatt Skiing Overview

 
 
 
 

 

Zermatt is a resort where skiing visitors are really spoiled for choice. 
There is skiing everywhere, and literally for everyone. Zermatt skiing is divided into a number of primarily unconnected areas, each with its own selection and personality. Most likely the most well used slopes are those located just under the "beak" of the Matterhorn. Serviced by the lift leading to the "Klein Matterhorn" this sector provides the most consistent skiing in the area (365 days per year), but not necessarily the best. In fact the skiing in this area is mostly easy on the higher slopes, and more demanding on the lower regions, where one challenges the valleys and chutes of the Schwarzee.


 

From the higher elevations you will find the connection to the Italian resort of Cervinia on the Italian side of the Matterhorn (this will cost you a supplement on your existing ticket), and you really should take a passport. All that having been said, do not be mislead into thinking that the skiing in Zermatt begins and ends on the glacier. The Sunnegga, at the end of town closest to the Bahnhof (train station), and the Gornergrat in the middle of the village are superb skiing sites too. The Sunnegga is serviced by a mountain railway which dates back to the last century. It provides good skiing for intermediate skiers and those of a more accomplished standard. There is too, some limited beginner's terrain here, but for the most part you should have at least some experience before getting on the train for the purpose of skiing.

The Gornergrat area is reached by an "Alpine Metro" which bores through the mountain at an amazing rate of speed. You'll find plenty of terrain diversity up here, with slopes for almost every standard of skier, including the very inexperienced among readers. The Stockhorn, at three thousand five hundred meters or so, provides the highest skiable point, and the Riffelalp at about a thousand meters lower, provides the easiest.

There is everything in between, from the steep drops off the "Rote Nase" to long "ego cruises" from Gornergrat to Riffelalp. Ahh, these are areas which will make one feel like a star. Combine all this with some of the best "off piste" skiing in the Alps and you have a most impressive skiing picture. Space-or more accurately lack of same-allowed here prevengs real in-depth description of the skiing. Get yourself a "piste map" for that. Suffice it to say that Zermatt has all the peaceful skiing any weekender could ask for, whilst providing all the challenge a true expert could dream of. A skier's paradise. Zermatt is described in its tourism brochures, and in the countless articles written about it as a car free village. Well, yes, and no.

Yes, there are no cars belching out their putrid perfumes into the rarefied mountain air. And no, it is not really car free if you get my meaning. After all, electric cars qualify as cars, do they not? And here's something else I have a problem with, the tendency of bikers, both mountain and otherwise, to slalom through the pedestrians in the street. Just a bit more control and courtesy might be in order here. Buy hey, there's no utopiaa  


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