Classic Alpine Village
Looking over the town of Zermatt we were pleasantly surprised to find some winter walking trails around the outskirts of the town away from all of the crowds of people. Wondering through the town looking at all of the cabins had us dreaming of living in the Swiss Alps one day and picking out which cabin we would want. If you are looking for a little peace and quiet from the crowds in the center, trying heading out for a walk among the cabins and a nice view of the Matterhorn.
Off Piste and Glurwein
The slope was steeper standing on the edge than I had remembered. A tumble would be painful. Definitely would not be good. My younger brother whipped around me and sailed through the thick powder crying out as he zigged between snow-covered outcroppings and half-hidden evergreens. I took a deep breath and tipped my skis, grateful for that last glass of glurwein.
Beautiful and a must see in Switzerland. After all I am sure many people have heard of the ride at Disney named after the Matterhorn. The ride up the mountain is fairly inexpensive , once on the mountain there are many places to hike and enjoy a lunch. Would recommend to make this a more unique experience; pack a lunch and enjoy around the lake after hiking. The town below is Zermatt and it offers the feel of a ski village similar to Vail, beautiful however very expensive.
Test Your Nerve with Extreme Skiing
While perfectly groomed corduroy pistes cater to elegant and steady skiers, the diverse extreme ski scene keeps adrenaline junkies fueled. Gstaad is renowned for heli-skiing, and drop-offs at five different sites give experienced skiers the chance to wind their way down untouched, knee-deep powder in the solitude of the Swiss Alps. The most popular ski tour in the Alps is the Haute Route—a week-long endurance adventure, beginning in Chamonix (France) and ending in Zermatt. The tour includes a 120km traverse, 6,000m of ascending and descending on slopes and glaciers, and continual ski/mountaineering training sessions—such as avalanche search and rescue, with expert instructors.
By Simon Willis, AFAR Local Expert
Zermatt Winter Hiking Trail
Sure, you can ski or snowboard in Zermatt. That's the "cool" thing to do, right? Isn't that the only reason to go? Not so much. About four hours before this photo was taken, we stood on a footbridge in downtown Zermatt and watched thousands of tourists packed into huge tour buses unload like ants and descend upon the cable cars to go up the mountain. My wife isn't able to ski very well, and I wanted to take some photographs without constantly looking over my shoulder worrying about a cluster of teenage snowboarders crashing into me or an impatient speed skier bearing down on me and looking annoyed as they whizzed past. Lucky for us, Zermatt has a huge selection of prepared winter walking trails, and this is one of them, just below the rail stop at Riffelalp. The signpost here lets walkers know there is a warm hut/restaurant up ahead serving food and drinks. If you look through the trees, you can see the Matterhorn. From Riffelalp, you can get back to the town in about two hours if walking downhill, but don't forget to stop for some gluwhein (hot, mulled red wine) to keep your parts moving well in the cold. You can even great a plate of rosti (hash browns) or salad and beer to refresh your spirits. You won't come across many walkers (we saw two the whole way down) and the quiet tranquility of the snow and trees is simply unforgettable. And best of all? No lift tickets, skis, helmets, or special passes are required. It's completely free.
By Joseph Smith