By Richard Seary from our ski school partner in Zermatt, Stoked
Advanced skiing in Zermatt is incredibly vast, with the combined ski areas of Zermatt and Cervinia amounting to 360kms of marked pistes; an advanced skiers heaven. With 1,060 snow cannons covering 80% of the pistes, the vast majority of skiing above 2,000 metres and high altitude glacier skiing, Zermatt is one of the most snow-sure resorts in the Alps.
From the wide open flowing red pistes on the glacier, the steep black Obere National on the Sunnegga side, the yellow ‘off piste’ itinerary runs of Stockhorn, to the incredible heli-skiing opportunities, Zermatt has it all for advanced skiers.
The skiing is split into 3 ski areas, interlinked by a modern, efficient and well-developed lift system. Combined with the link to the Italian resort of Cervinia, there are numerous options and possibilities for advanced skiers – more than enough for a week’s hard skiing.
The Sunnegga/Rothorn Area
For a warm up on some lovely red pistes, try Tufteren (9), Schneehuhn (12), and Fluhalp (19), before you progress to the black piste 8, the Obere National, which once hosted FIS Races; a steep run through the trees to test your legs, arriving at the Patrullarve chair lift to take you back up to Blauherd. How about a long run home at the end of the day? Take the last cable car up to Rothorn and ski from Rothorn to Zermatt via Tufterenkumme (15); a vertical drop of 1500 metres with stunning views across Zermatt to the Matterhorn. When you arrive back in Zermatt enjoy a well-earned après ski drink on the terrace of the Cervo as the sun sets behind the Matterhorn.
The Gornergrat Area
Most of the skiing at Gornergrat is easy cruising, but as a warm up in the morning the Gifthittli piste awakens the senses with spectacular views of the Matterhorn and its surrounding panorama of 4,000 metre tall peaks. From here you can ski down the red pistes past Riffelalp Resort Hotel to Furi, then take the connection up to Trockener Steg on the Klein Matterhorn side.
Klein Matterhorn/Glacier Area
Here you will find the longest, widest red runs coming down off the glacier. The Klein Matterhorn cable car takes you to the highest mechanically accessible point in Europe at 3,883 metres. Choose the Schusspiste (70) and Theodulgletscher (71) to practice and improve your carving skills. Also in this area is the black piste 62, Furgg-Furi: a fantastic run in the mornings. Whilst in this area also consider taking the brand new Hirli 6-person chairlift to enjoy the black Hörnli run (54), and red Weisse Perle run (51) to hone your short turns under the watchful eye of the Matterhorn.
If you have the energy left at the end of the day, take the Klein Matterhorn cable to the top station and ski to Zermatt non-stop; a huge vertical drop of over 2200 metres and a distance of approximately 13kms. Stop at the infamous Hennu Stall après ski bar 5 minutes from the end of the run to reflect on a wonderful day’s skiing!
Italy - Cervinia
Zermatt is linked to the Italian resort of Cervinia. Take the soon to be replaced (Winter 2018/19) Klein Matterhorn cable car and ski across the border to Italy. The pistes on the Italian side are mainly cruising red runs. Ski from Klein Matterhorn non-stop to Cervinia using the red Ventina run (7), and put a distance of 14 kms and a drop of over 1,800 metres on your Ski Tracks App. Also from Klein Matterhorn you can tackle the longest piste in the Alps to Valtournenche. A red run of 22 kms with a vertical drop of over 2,300 metres; simply stunning! If you are feeling brave, take on black piste number 59, Pista Nera del Cervino, the top half of which is so steep you don’t want to fall.
Remember to stop off for some fantastic Italian pasta and sample the local Aosta valley wines, possibly with some Génépi, an aperitif made with local herbs, to wash it down.
Zermatt also has officially marked Itinerary ‘yellow’ pistes. These are controlled and secured off-piste runs. You will find them in all of the ski areas; for example, the Marmotte run off the top of Rothorn, or Tiefbach and Momatt through the trees from Schwarzsee. Probably the most famous, and where all the locals head on their day off, is the Stockhorn/Triftji area. Accessed across the ridge from Hohtälli to Rote Nase, when powder conditions are right, you will find an amazing freeride area waiting for you on north facing slopes. When the powder gets skied out on these slopes, you can face the challenge of the Triftji bumps – approximately 3 kms of fantastic moguls to burn your leg muscles!
If all the above is not enough then the ultimate experience awaits you: heli-skiing. We’ll organise a local Bergführer (Mountain Guide), and a helicopter from Air Zermatt to take on the classic Monte Rosa descent. Skiing on untracked snow from the heli landing point at 4,200m through seracs (pinnacles of ice on the surface of a glacier) and past crevasses to Furi, a vertical drop of 2,500 metres and taking approximately 3 to 4 hours. This will leave you simply breathless!
The Monte Rosa is not the only heli-skiing option, with both Aschihorn and Alphubeljoch providing amazing experiences.
Zermatt has everything you need for a memorable ski holiday with some of the longest pistes in the world with amazing vertical drops, spectacular views, superb mountain restaurants for those well-earned breaks and you will find yourself coming back year after year like so many others who have fallen for the spell that the Matterhorn casts.
To find out more about a holiday to Zermatt, call 020 8246 5300 or visit powderbyrne.com/contactus