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The minimum recommended age is 14 years

Zermatt

Zermatt

Zermatt - District de Viège - Valais, Switzerland

Snowboard, Ski

This German speaking town is nestled in the valley at the foot of the Matterhorn in the south of Switzerland. This magnificent pyramid-shaped mountain is a Swiss landmark and also the most photographed mountain in the world. Snow is guaranteed 365 days a year at the highest, largest and most efficiently developed snow sport location in the Alps. To prevent air pollution obscuring the view of the Matterhorn, the entire town is a combustion-engine free zone. Most people arrive by the cog train from the nearby town of Täsch or from Visp or Brig. The train will take you up through the beautiful valley and you can either organise to be met by your tour operator or you can get an electro-taxi or bus to your accommodation from there.

During the winter, there are four main areas; Sunnegga (2.288 m) – Rothorn (3.103 m), Gornergrat (3089 m) – Stockhorn (3.532 m), Schwarzsee (2.583 m) and the Matterhorn glacier paradise (3.883 m)- Theodulpass (3.301 m), boasting 360 kilometres of pistes. The Sunnegga – Rothorn area has the easiest runs with few steep slopes but there aren’t many beginner trails linking it to the rest of the mountains so be prepared for a challenge if you want to go further. It’s massively appealing to intermediate and advanced levels with some extremely long, fast and varied runs. You’ll be surprised at the traverses you can do across entire mountain ranges, even dropping into Cervinia or Valtournenche in neighbouring Italy.

Advanced freeriders are well-catered for with long speedy runs and one of the most famous mogul fields in Europe, Triftji, where the world’s longest mogul race, the Bump Bash competition is held every year. There are 38 kilometres of extensive yellow off piste and deep snow areas (marked to withstand avalanches) which are accessible from the lifts in Rothorn, Schwarzsee, and the newest area, Triftji/Stockhorn. Many of the off piste areas are several kilometres from the marked runs and may be difficult and dangerous to find alone so you should consider taking a guide, although expensive, to discover the local secrets but when you’re there you’ll be surrounded by deep powder snow and you won’t need to worry about ski patrollers. For those extremists that want more of an adventure there are companies offering heli-skiing/boarding trips allowing you to make your tracks in untouched snow. The best route is the Tour Monte Rosa which starts at 4.200 m and covers an altitude difference of 2.600 m. However, many of the routes are accessible without a helicopter.

Freestylers can enjoy airtime with smooth transitions, easy slides and hard rails at the best park in Europe, The Gravity Snowpark. During the winter it’s built in Furggsattel and includes a Superpipe, a Small Kicker with one take off and a 4-6 metre table, a big kicker with two take offs and an 8-15 metre table, an easy cross and a jibline with obstacles; 3 m wide box, 6 m elbow tube, 6 m long tube, 6 m up tube, 4 m straight rail, 6 m down tube donkey out, 8 m down rail, 6 m double kinked down tube, 3 m fast tube spine. In the summer they move the park up to the Plateau Rosa Glacier. There is also another halfpipe which opens in January/February depending on the conditions.

In the summer season, the Theodulgletchser glacier offers 21 kilometres of pistes with eight lifts. This is the season when you’re more likely to see world class skiing and snowboarding as the Swiss national and other European teams often train there. You could be lucky enough to share a lift and carve alongside professionals such as Iouri Podladtchikov, the 2014 Halfpipe Olympic gold medalist, Philip Schoch and Tom Bankes. 

Conditions

Due to its altitude it’s open almost all year round, having the longest winter season in the Alps. The off piste season usually starts around mid-January when there is sufficient snow coverage. The Gravity Snowpark is generally open from December to May for the winter season, with the kicker and rails opening earlier at the beginning of the month, and the halfpipe from the end of January/beginning of February, depending on the conditions. In the summer it’s usually open from around July until the end of October but the lifts close at around 2pm as in the mornings it can be icy but by midday the snow gets too slushy and heavy. Check the individual times and dates for each area and lift as they can vary greatly depending on the conditions. 
Characteristics
  • Runs
    223.69 Mi
  • SnowPark
    1
  • Summit
    12.792 ft
  • Lifts
    54
  • Base
    5.315 ft
  • Vertical Drop
    7.477 ft
  • Terrain
    159 Ha
  • Longest Run
    15.534 Mi

Difficulty level of the pistes

Suggested Spots
  • 13 km from Zermatt Breuil - Cervinia, Italy
  • 41 km from Zermatt Rhône-Alpes - Verbier - Valais, Switzerland
  • 69 km from Zermatt Chamonix - Mont-Blanc - Rhone Alps, France
  • 83 km from Zermatt Morzine - Alsace, France