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
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
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