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Visitor reviews for Zermatt Ski Resort
March 08, 2012
David Jedeikin from United States
Having grown up in eastern Canada and now making my home in California, I've been all over the U.S. and Canada as a snowboarder (and sometime skier), but really nothing can quite prepare you for the majesty that is Zermatt: a totally authentic, walkable alpine village; jaw-dropping views (including the iconic Matterhorn); every conceivable type of ski lift on Earth; and miles and miles and miles of pistes. As a lifelong fan of long, intermediate "cruiser runs," Zermatt has to rank way up at the top for me. Amazing mountain restaurants further enhance the experience.
Only drawbacks? Yes, it's pricey... but then so are high-tone ski resorts in North America (Aspen, Vail)... and Zermatt seems to offer a less-snooty vibe than those ritzy resorts Stateside. Although many snowboarders may lament the lack of those insane "steep powder" runs, for an intermediate like myself it's pure heaven. Go for the experience of a lifetime.
Based on 37 votes. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Zermatt.
Public Transport: 4.6
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Zermatt, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Zermatt, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 2.6
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 5.0
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Zermatt.
Ski in/Ski out: 3.3
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Zermatt, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Zermatt is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Zermatt relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 4.4
(1) There are no snow groomers at Zermatt, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Zermatt are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Zermatt is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 2.8
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Zermatt, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 4.3
(1) Zermatt usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 3.7
(1) The staff at Zermatt are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Zermatt are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 4.5
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 4.7
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 4.7
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Zermatt has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Zermatt, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 3.4
(1) Not even a kicker at Zermatt, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Zermatt, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Zermatt has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 4.6
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 3.7
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 4.2
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 3.5
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 3.7
(1) Overall, Zermatt is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 3.4
(1) Overall, Zermatt is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
Based on 37 votes. Vote
February 07, 2012
Ian de Haan from United Kingdom
So much powder skiing!
I was in Zermatt for nine days in mid January this year. The first few days were brilliant sunshine, blue skies and perfect piste skiing! All the runs were open including the itineraries - something I have not seen in years! Simply amazing skiing on the yellow marked runs.
Fast skiing to Valtournenche and Cervinia and great lunches in Bontadini too. I personally think this is the best restaurant in the whole area of Zermatt and Valtournenche / Cervini, with the best views, best wines most certainly and unbelievably good food with service to match.
Then the snow arrived - lots of lifts closed and runs too but for those who got up early and waited - some of the best powder skiing ever. On some runs - Kelle - the snow was thigh deep and just a blast! The same on the other runs that you could access - not always so deep but there was a plentitude of areas of fresh snow to ski and leave your own tracks in.
This season has been without doubt one of the best I have ever experienced in Zermatt. No queues at the lifts but then I get there early at 08.30am and keep ahead of the crowds.
Did it matter if a lot of lifts were closed due to the amount of snow that fell - NO! There was so much to ski on piste and just off the edge too that it did not matter. Some of the itineraries were opened and were covered in deep fresh snow. Then to top that, we had even better the next day with even more snow - some time the visibility was very poor but so what, just keep those poles planted and keep skiing !
Some people want to just moan about Zermatt - Please! Where will you ever be happy? - if you want some really exhilarating skiing then book yourself a guide and go for some of the steepest skiing you can ever experience and then you will see why Zermatt has so much to offer.
When the lifts are closed, it is for safety reasons. If you want inexpensive food, then there is Trockener Steg, Gornergrat, Riffelberg and Sunnegga which are all owned by the Matterhorn Group and offer good food at sensible prices. For amazing coffee at one Euro, Cervinia or Valtournenche is a must.
For inexpensive accommodation, look on the web site and try the 1 or 2 star hotels, these are the equivalent of English Chalet holidays and actually much better. Especially when they include ski pass and lift hire on their specials, plus their food is a whole lot better.
Once again I stayed in the Beau Site and was spoilt rotten but am always amazed that other English visitors book via tour operators and are surprised to hear of the ski weeks where lift pass and ski hire are included but not with their bookings - book direct - it is always worth checking as all the hotels offer specials!
I am returning in February and again in March - will I go to the USA this season - No - this is as good as it gets anywhere in the world and hopefully will be off to Saint Jacques, plus Zermatt, Cervinia and Valtournenche with the Monte Rosa, has better scenery too!
Bring it on!
February 04, 2012
Pat from Switzerland
• If you are looking for an easy to reach ski destination, don’t go as you need about an extra four hours by train from the nearest airport.
• If you are looking for in & out ski from your hotel, don’t go as you need to walk and/or take an electric ski bus to reach the nearby ski lift and it often takes time.
• If you are travelling with young children, don’t go the walking, the often cold temperatures due the altitude, you ski mostly from 2,000 to 3,800 meters, the lack of sun in the village from December to February makes it not an easy destination for family.
• If you are looking for the best ski in the World don’t go, as despite the excellent skiing, you will find better place like the 3 Valley in France.
• If you are on budget, don’t go, Zermatt is an expensive place.
•If you are young crowds that are looking for a party place, don’t go you will find better place in Austria and some ski resorts in France.
So why Zermatt is often rated as number one ski resort in the World?
Well that’s probably because if you are from your late twenties, with a comfortable wallet, who appreciate not only excellent skiing (with the Italian slopes), but extraordinary scenery, fantastic food restaurants on the slopes and in the village, very good hotels, great village atmosphere, good shopping, great après-ski, bars and night party not only with under 20 people, Zermatt is the place.
Then one advice take your gear and run, run to Zermatt you will have the best time of your life.
For the ones who complain about the electric cars and particularly the taxi, yes you are right they drive like mad and are dangerous……..but think just one second what it would be with petrol cars, then sorry guys I love the electric cars.
January 29, 2012
Andy from United Kingdom
We spent the second week of January here. Plenty of snow, sun all day every day, a picnic each day with a view of the Matterhorn and many other 4000m peaks.
The skiing was very varied and good, especially going across to Italy and descending to Valtournenche and Cervinia. Many pistes were very quiet, especially some in Italy. On piste the skiing was not too difficult; the blacks were relatively easy. On some runs you have to use the poles. For instance, run 52 via Stafel was very pretty, but there are a couple of uphill bits, so we only did it once.
At almost £300 for 6 days, the lift pass was significantly more than we've spent elsewhere. Considering the high price, the piste management was very poor; piste marking was generally better on the cheaper Italian side. I've never known a chair lift on a popular slope to close as early as 2.50. The lifts on the Zermatt side seemed more prone to closure than those on the Italian side, although it was generally windier on the Italian side. This led us to suspect that the Zermatt lift company pays the Italian ones fees depending on how much the Italian side is used. Zermatt is also the only place where we've needed the lift pass to get off as well as on lifts.
We stayed on the hill in Petit Village and managed to ski back home, as well as down the road in the morning. This meant coming back via Sunnegga each evening. To do this we needed to be down from the Italian side at Furi by about 2.30, in order to safely catch the last lift from Gant at 3.40. The Findeln lift runs later, but the key run 25 down to this was kept closed and unpisted, although snowmaking was running.
Overall, with the snow, sun, views and varied skiing, one of our very best skiing holidays. We didn't spend too much time and money in the mountain restaurants, because the weather and skiing was so good, and also because we often had a last lift to think about.
January 22, 2012
Bram from Netherlands
This year I skied for the 35th year, and went for the 5th time to Zermatt. I probably will have about 10 years left for active skiing. I am sure most of them will be spend in Zermatt, as it is the ski area I like most. Yes, it is expensive, but skiing is great. Especially in a year like this with lots of snow.
Like an earlier reviewer, I especially like the descent from Klein Matterhorn to Valtournenche in Italy. From 3820 to 1524 mts with only a very small lift in between. Fantastic.
The scenery is one of the reasons I go to Zermatt. Last year I was in St Anton. Nice area, but it can not compete in scenery.
I understand the complaints about prices, but you should be aware of it when you go. If you want you can economize by taking your coffee and lunch in Italy - though it is true with high winds the lifts are closed (as in all resorts, but the lifts are higher here, so more risk).
For me there is no doubt. Zermatt is number 1!
January 16, 2012
Stig from Australia
This is one of the world's great ski areas. Huge vertical, well prepared slopes, variety of pitches, huge off-piste and this year so much snow that the town looks like a post card from the thirties. If you do not enjoy yourself here (with the unbelievable food options as well) you should stay at home and watch videos and just dream.
January 12, 2012
Mick from United Kingdom
Zermatt was fantastic. Best skiing in Europe. What powder! What scenery! Big with many alternatives...
One of the most charming towns in the Alps. Best mountain restaurants if you know where to go. Even a Michelin star restaurant in town. Great apres-ski. Decent late night party, but there are better.
A lot of reviews are from angry tourists venting about prices and the fact that pistes were closed. Come on!
Coffee price complaints? Seriously? I sense other issues.
Ski lifts being closed? They were closed because there was over 1.5m of snow that fell in 2 days! That is life on a serious mountain. Wind was also an issue but the tourists would not understand.
I guess if you go, do your research and ask locals for advice. Ohh, and hope for good weather.
January 02, 2012
zag from Ireland
Just back from a week in Zermatt. Due to a pre-existing injury I wasn't able to ski this time around, so I'll restrict my review to the town end of things.
As with many other posters I found that the main street was no fun at all. The taxis and delivery vehicles take no account of pedestrian activity, drive very fast, turn without warning, and reverse at high speed, etc . . . and all in all make for a very unpleasant experience. One day at the narrowest point in the street (at the Hotel Post) two taxis parked side by side and effectively forced the entire pedestrian flow to shuffle sideways between them. This sort of stuff isn't acceptable anywhere. It doesn't matter how cute the town is. However, turn off the main street and you enter a different world with much less crowding, much less vehicles, and nice old buildings.
We got the train down the valley twice since I couldn't ski. My suggestion - give the Glacier Express a miss and just take the local train instead. It runs down the same track and has the same views. Take an off-peak local train (not connecting with trains to Zurich or Geneva airports) and you will have loads of room to yourself. The Glacier Express was absolutely packed and this meant that it was all a bit busy and not very relaxing.
Prices are a little scary. Someone mentioned that a coffee costs the same as in the middle of London (like this was a good thing), but comparing like with like you can say that you could get a couple of coffees in an Austrian resort for the price of one in Zermatt. This may just be a function of Swiss prices in general but it doesn't make it any easier on the pocket. Expect to pay ~CHF20 for a pizza that in almost any other country in Europe would cost ~EUR5-12. Supermarket prices appeared to be much more reasonable, although we didn't buy loads there.
Ski school prices for kids were pretty high at about CHF80 per day for group lessons so the kids in our group ended up skiing with the adults. In addition, it appeared that you only found out each evening where the group was going to meet the next morning - since the lifts are spread out quite widely around the town this might mean that you end up staying in a hotel beside lift A and having to trek 20 minutes to lift B to drop them off in the morning. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
The Matterhorn museum by the church is worth a visit and is relatively good value at CHF10 for adults & CHF5 for children. We went around it & checked everything out in about 90 minutes. It opens from 1500.
January 02, 2012
Linda from United Kingdom
Zermatt has a lot to offer as a ski resort in terms of the skiing and the town, but I'm not sure we'll go back there. This is basically down to the eye wateringly expensive lift passes and poor service. We bought the international pass for 6 days which gives access to Italy. During that time it was only possible to ski into Italy from 11.30 on one day although it wasn't showing when we went up on the Gorngergrat. We kept checking display boards & discovered it was open at 3pm by which time it was too late to ski over the border & get back in time. As a result, they refused a refund for the whole 6 days. In addition some of the lower slopes on the Zermatt side remained closed most of the week. The conditions were very snowy, but even so, in most resorts you see piste bashers going up & down continuously, but not in Zermatt. Many sat idle. For the price paid & it is Switzerland, we expected better.
December 30, 2011
Bob from United Kingdom
Recently returned from a week in Zermatt with a large group of mixed ability. Many of the good and bad points have been listed in the reviews below, but here's my take.
Good points: The town - great atmosphere, picturesque valley and the Matterhorn (although we only saw it out of the clouds for 3 hours!)
The vertical (when it's open) and some of the long red runs were great.
Not much queueing.
The Chalet - Kamanga was fine and the food and wine good.
Bad points: Lift and piste management was very poor- lifts and pistes closed all over for no apparent reason, snow cannons left on turning poor visibility (it was snowing) into dangerous conditions.
Expensive - everything from the lift pass (which might be reasonable value if lifts and runs were open) to food and drink, but not that bad compared to top French resorts.
The runs: (those that were open) good for intermediates, poor for advanced,(hardly any blacks open) poor for beginners or nervous, and poor for boarders (too many flat sections). Can't comment on the itiniaries as they were all closed and not for lack of snow. Off piste was not advisable due to avalanche risk.
The connection to Cervinia - a joke!. We paid in advance for the area pass but could not use it. The top cable was not open for skiers at all and the double, very lengthy draglift was allegedly open for 3 hours one day, meaning that they refused to give any refunds.
Overall we had a good time and made the most of what we could do and were perhaps unfortunate that the snow arrived late and in such quantities. It snowed over 1 metre the day we arrived and continued to snow (mainly lightly) all the time we were there. The powder was brilliant for the advanced, but the visibility poor.
As others have said its probably better to go to Zermatt later in the season, when all the runs are open and hope for a bit of sunshine.
December 28, 2011
Ian de Haan from United Kingdom
I had my first ski week of the season in Zermatt 10-17th December. Once again we enjoyed the amazingly scenic train journey form Geneva airport to Visp around the north shores of lake Geneva, on a very sunny morning.
We got into Zermatt, were collected by the Beau Site hotel's taxi and were in plenty of time to enjoy an afternoon's skiing to warm us up for the Ski Week ahead. The piste skiing was very limited due to the lack of snow but nevertheless, enough to get ready.
The next day we were off-piste with a guide for the whole week and had fantastic deep snow from the first forays into the off-piste. We started off at Rothorn and after only about 100 metres we were following the guide off-piste in deep, untracked snow. This then set the pace and continued for the rest of the week. After the first day the snow started to fall and just kept falling.
We skied over to Valtournenche mid station on the one day the pass was open but despite poor visibility we all skied the varied snow conditions form crud to crust to deep powder before returning to Zermatt and enjoying deep untracked powder on both sides of Furggsattel and on to Garten.
Everyday we skied somewhere different, always off-piste and always in untracked deep snow.
On the last day, the lifts were closed so three of us went out on touring skis with the guide via Franz and Heidis to Sunnegga, where we skied down to Hotel Cervo in lovely, light, deep powder snow to finish our week.
When you are skiing Zermatt, it can appear limiting if you only ski in Zermatt. When you ski to Cervinia and Valtournenche, it is a GREAT ski area. When you go off-piste the whole week, Zermatt becomes a VAST ski area, especially when you go off-piste to Cervinia and Valtournenche. Then you can get over to the Monte Rosa area and it becomes one of the LARGEST ski areas in the world.
Not only great skiing, but some of the finest mountain restaurants in the world which we managed to eat in too!
When I returned, I emailed some friends. They were in Heavenly USA and skiing only man-made snow!
This was undoubtedly one of the best ski weeks I have had and look forward to many more off-piste days with their guides. I am returning in January and looking to ski to St Jacques.
The lifts continue to be improved and is still value for money. Get to the lifts late and just like any other top resort, there may well be queues - ignore the people who expect the world to revolve around themselves and go to the most amazing ski resort in the world !
October 15, 2011
Sadi AKEL from Turkey
Zermatt has become a classic for ski tourism.Yes it's nice but don't neglect Pitztal,Kaprun,Lech and the area and also Zinal,Vals.Though Zermatt is the Ritz of all.
May 09, 2011
Denny from United States
All of the negative reviews are correct. Please do not go to Zermatt. I will continue to suffer through the great skiing, fantastic food, wonderful town and so forth, all by myself. It will be tough, but I will make an effort to continue to torture myself.
April 27, 2011
Ian de Haan from United Kingdom
My last week this season was from 26th March to 2nd April, staying once again at my favorite hotel.
The train journey is spectacular and the views across lake Geneva always impress me. The snow capped mountains against the azure blue skies rising up form the southern shores of the lake are stunning.
Once into Zermatt and having been collected from the station, I was on my way to Sunnegga, collected my skis from Tipee Sport and onto the funicular.
My week started with a few hours on the Saturday afternoon, skiing from Sunnegga over to Trockenersteg and back down to Zermatt. The next day, with sunny weather, Valtournenche beckoned and off I went for an espresso at Enzo's cafe by the gondola station. The run to Valtournenche is the longest in the Alps and apart from a very short chair lift over the col, is a great fast run all the way down to the car park at the end. With the snow making facilities now all the way down, this run remains in great condition until late in the season. This run is highly recommended! We all ski form Klein Matterhorn, schussing to the border and over to Valtournenche, fastest time recorded so far is 17 minutes to the car park. See my previous report.
Then off to ski the other runs in Valtournenche, before heading back over to Cervinia and ski Ceilo Alto, and then over to Bontadini before skiing back down to Cervinia for lunch.
Many people now comment on how good the lifts are now and the ability to link all the areas up, maximising their skiing in all three areas. The new lifts are very efficient without covering the areas in lifts like the 3 Valleys.
The off-piste opportunities are vast and the guides will take you to the otherwise inaccessible areas in safety.
So long as you are fit enough, it is possible to ski 12,000 metres of vertical a day before 3.30pm. You can do even more than this if you ski to 5pm.
If you were in the 3 Valleys, you could easily do far more as the runs are somewhat less challenging.
Visitors from the USA all comment on how good the lift system is and better chairlifts than in their resorts, also the restaurants and the vertical.
Everyday when the weather allows, I ski to Valtournenche for the first run, often being the first down from the col. When there is fresh snow, you can leave fresh tracks all the way down. This time though it was more fast, freshly prepared piste than fresh snow, but still possible to ski all the way down for the first four days.
Glorious sunny weather too - how good is that !
Some people state the lifts take too long to get to the top, but if you are at the lifts by 8.15 am then it does not take long at all. However, like all other ski resorts, if you are there in peak season and stroll to the lifts between 9-10 am then you can find big lift queues.
Zermatt is a traditional ski resort and not built on the slopes like some and yes, you do have to walk a short distance to the bus stops. There are little electric taxis too.
Is Zermatt a great resort ? - Yes - and it has some of the most spectacular scenery and skiing too, with arguably the best restaurants too, though Bontadini is in my opinion the best in the whole area.
Given the snow conditions all over the Alps this year, Zermatt, with Cervinia and Valtournenche has been one of the best. Why so few people ski to Cervinia and Valtournenche is something I never understand, but that just leaves more room for the rest of us!
When I take people to Valtournenche and to restaurants in Cervinia, they are always surprised how attractive Cervinia is and just how big the whole area is too.
To dismiss Zermatt as too easy and no ski-in ski-out is to not understand a traditional ski resort. Ski all the runs from the top to the bottom without stopping will let you see the resort in a whole new light, if you dare!
I have already booked four weeks for next year and will be flying out to the USA to ski in Utah too - but I have been warned that the mountain restaurants are non existent and the chair lifts have no foot rests!
It will certainly be most interesting to compare the differences!
April 26, 2011
Glenn from Netherlands
Yes, beautiful part of the world and the scenery is great but Zermatt, in my opinion, is overpriced and overrated as a skiing resort.
I think it's best suited to intermediate skiers only, I can't really comment on the advanced stuff as I'm just a recreational level skier but I note that others that are have done so.
We went as a family and I found it very poor for children that are beginner to intermediate level as there is not a lot between nursery slopes and some fairly difficult (in places) blues. Most of the runs in the resort are reds and many are quite narrow edge of the mountain type runs. Probably no problem for the better skiers but very difficult and daunting for others.
Also, as most of the runs that link the valleys are reds it makes it very difficult for those of lesser ability to ski more than one area per day without going down and up again.
Yes, you will also spend a lot of time carrying skis and walking, we went in Spring and it takes about 1 hour to get high enough to ski decent snow. That's if you don't get knocked down on the way to the lift by the stupid electric vehicles which are everywhere. Traffic free - you must be kidding!
Also the cost, everything is expensive, ski hire, ski passes, food - 10 CHF just for a plate of fries?! If you are loaded again this is not a problem but for the rest of us it's painful.
In summary, it's only worth going late season when other resorts are finished or once just to admire the Matterhorn and tick the box.
February 24, 2011
Ian de Haan from United Kingdom
I have just returned form another week's skiing in Zermatt. The third visit of the season so far. The journey out was great. The train journey form Geneva Airport to Zermatt around the lake has to be one of the best in the world. Very easy as the station is under the airport and only one change at Visp. You also get to ski all of the last day if you book the last flight out of Geneva, making 7 full days of skiing or 7.5 if you arrive early enough on the Saturday! Looking out over the lake to the mountains is second to none.
As before, I stayed in the Beau Site hotel for one of their Ski Week packages. This includes ski hire, ski pass and half-board. I book my own holidays as you get far better deals than via a tour operator and the benefit of much better food than staying in chalet accommodation packages, especially if you are a single traveller and even better when as a couple or family.
There is a large choice of accommodation form apartments through to five star hotels or even a six star hotel at Riffelalp. The choice will accommodate every budget.
You can hire skis independently if you wish to and I can recommend the ski hire shop right by the Sunnegga lift station, run by English John. It is small, friendly and BIG on quality of service.
The weather was perfect sunshine and temperatures that were not too cold or warm with the snow holding up well all the way down to Valtournenche car park. This longest run can be skied in 17 minutes from the exit of Klein Matterhorn to Valtournenche including the little chair lift, albeit in good conditions. Does it make your heart pump - undoubtedly ! but the exhilaration and the reward of the most perfect espresso at Enzo's cafe it is worth the effort.
The whole resort was skiing well with plenty of long runs and the possibility to get into Italy, enjoy lunch and back to Sunnegga for plenty of afternoon skiing in the sunshine.
Fresh snow arrived during the week, opening up powder skiing possibilities at high level. The best of which was in Cervinia, although we were too late to book a guide to ski under the cable car stations, we watched the lucky ones. The snow was so light when skied, large rooster tails flew up at each turn, visible from a long way away! By lunch time the whole of Cervinia's off-piste was completely skied out. Having made our own contributions to this we skied back to Zermatt after lunch at Bondadini.
A great week? Certainly, and more snow than a lot of other resorts that week, certainly Leysin, which had so little snow, a report and photo appeared in a local paper, showing a lot of brown grass and a small patch of snow!
Go again, absolutely! and I am, at the end of March - can't wait!
February 16, 2011
Geoff Gubb from United Kingdom
Just returned (Feb 2011) from my first ski trip to Zermatt. Had superb weather and considering the lack of snow the pistes were v good. The blacks are easy peesy, or perhaps my skiing is getting better! Bit of a mission getting to the slopes but soon found our preferred way up, and down, and no complaints from me there. Yes, the lift pass is expensive but with hindsight consider it not bad. Stayed at the Matterhornblick Hotel which I'd recommend. It's a B+B but plenty of places to eat nearby and only yards (down a short stair case) from the bus stops to the lift stations and the main street. My single room was the biggest I've had anywhere, well equiped, very clean as was the hotel overall, and was just over stlg500 the week. Papperla Bar is mad and enjoyed it, though couldn't do every night, 2 was enough! The train transfer from Geneva was easy and a lovely trip. Booking well in advance, and without asking, we got up-graded to first class which added to the holiday. Would I go again? Yes.
January 27, 2011
Fred from Australia
The first time I went to Zermatt was as a boy in 1968. We started going back there 10 years ago; we'll be there again in February. Zermatt has come a long way in that time.
It's one of my favourite places in the world. This will be my 6th time there. So quiet, so peaceful. I love the resort and adore the Matterhorn side of the piste. Up there with St Moritz and Aspen for world's best.
January 18, 2011
Andy from United Kingdom
Well, it's interesting to read so many conflicting reports, having been to Zermatt for the first time!
I would say I agree with many of them - good and bad!
I have skied all of the "big" European resorts and a heck of a lot of little ones and also in Utah. I feel I have a better frame of reference than someone who solely returns to Zermatt every year and has done since they started skiing!
Firstly the bad:
-The lift-links to the top of the Klein Matterhorn area are a little outdated, I'm sorry to say, and a bit of a joke. In a resort where the ski pass costs approx 30-50% more than a lot of other major resorts, I would not expect to wait over an hour at a middle station for a cable car that kept breaking down.
-For the price (approx £300 for 6 days) I expect more than I got. I feel that at least £120 of the pass must have been for the view of the Matterhorn, as it certainly wasn't for the quality of the lift system!
-If you want to ski to Cervinia (one of the big selling points, as it opens up the area massively) you have two choices: either a cable car (with huge queues) or two painfully long and slow T-bar lifts from Trockener Steg. Not good enough, frankly, for the price of the lift pass.
-Another bad point is the "car free" aspect of the village. It isn't "car free" at all, it's full of annoying little electric taxis and delivery vans that drive dangerously close to pedestrians on sheet ice. Keep a close eye on yourselves and your children, as they are hard to hear coming!
-Also, for anyone who likes lively apres-ski, stick to Austria. They know how to party! Zermatt was good fun and relaxed for apres, but I prefer the germanic mental-ness of Austria to be honest (Although the gluhwein in Zermatt is better than Austria!).
-My final bad point are the runs to the village. They are mostly little more than ski-ways and often get congested and full of toboggans. There are vast flat areas to get through and they are frankly just irritating at the end of a day's skiing.
Now for the good:
-The off-piste is easily accessible and good for intermediates. However, the yellow routes are over-used and can be fairly flat. Get there early after fresh snow.
-The fOOD! Everything we ate was excellent quality and surprisingly good value. There are a few truly excellent mountain restaurants and it's worth booking in at Chez Vrony, Zum See and Chalet Etoile (Cervinia) as they are all excellent eateries.
-The village: absolutely beautiful.
-The views: fantastic.
Overall, I wouldn't put anybody off going to Zermatt (indeed, I'm going back in a few weeks, hoping for a bit more off-piste when it's quieter). But, please, don't expect to get there and be greeted with perfect lifts and the "perfect" resort.
January 05, 2011
Ian de Haan from United Kingdom
I have been skiing in Zermatt since 1988, when I first learnt to ski. Since then the lifts have improved to the point where they are probably the best in the world.
The mountain restaurant certainly are the best and there are a lot of them. he Trockenersteg has been fully refurbished and offers excellent self service food of the highest quality, whilst adjacent there is the superb Italian restaurant.
The yellow marked runs are a delight to ski, but it helps if you are fit and capable of skiing varied snow conditions, but when there has been fresh snow, you can have the most amazing deep snow under your skis.
On fresh snow days, I have skied from the Furggsatttel chair to town in fresh untracked snow, also to Cervinia in fresh unpisted snow, in fact, just about everywhere in untracked snow, sometimes up to your waist in fresh snow.
The skiing area is vast, when you ski into Valtournenche. Try skiing the run without stopping except for the little chair lift over the col and then all the way to the bottom without a break ! When you go with a guide and start to ski the off piste, the whole area changes again and becomes far larger still, with routes into the Monte Rosa a must.
Even in other more purpose built resorts, the lifts take a long time to get anywhere - The Three Valleys for comparison - so to say that the lifts to get to Klein Matterhorn take too long is a misconception and like any other resort, a little organization goes a long way. It is certainly one of the more stunningly beautiful resorts to ski in and when you cross over into Cervinia and Valtournenche, the scenery is completely different but still stunning.
Food in Cervinia or Valtournenche is wonderful and what you would expect form the best Italian restaurants, whether on the mountain or in the village. The Matterhorn restaurant in Cervinia is certainly one of the best there.
Coffee here is an absolute must !
Contrary to other comments, the pistes are well marked, and very well maintained. If they close the top lifts, it is because it has become far too cold to be safe, just as they do in any other ski resort.
Swiss ski resorts are different to most others it is true, they are simply the best. I go to Zermatt three or four times a year and i have never been disappointed even in seasons when there has been poor snow conditions due to the snow making they have being so good.
Prices, well no more costly in fact than skiing in France, unless you want to spend a lot of money and then you can certainly do this with ease, just as you can in any other ski resort in the world, but they don't have the mighty Matterhorn towering over you the whole time either !
If you like stunning skiing, stunning scenery, the worlds best restaurants and the worlds best skiing, go to Zermatt at least once in your life to see what you are missing for the rest of your life !
November 27, 2010
millsy from United Kingdom
Anyone who doesn't like this place (Zermatt) isn't a skier, more a 'punter' who considers skiing to and from the door as essential. All the ski in/out convenience in the world doesn't compensate for Zermatt's huge lift served vertical (nothing like it in North America), fabulous fuel stops, reliable snow (+ huge glacier) and variety and extent of terrain. Couple this with a picture postcard village and the Matterhorn looking at you for the duration of your stay and it makes an attractive proposition. Yes, it has become huge business over the last decade and some of the 'cutesiness' is a little contrived but put this to one side and be objective. If convenience is a priority, stay stateside and enjoy your great snow and limited vert and short runs, if you want to visit a real mountaineering/ski town where summer is taken as seriously as winter, check out Zermatt!
November 01, 2010
Sarah Buxton from United Kingdom
So the visitors from North America didn't take to Zermatt. Dare I suggest that this is a ski culture thing? I have skied in Europe and North America. Zermatt has history, a quirky lift layout (because there's a lot of big mountains around it -doh!), nice restaurants on and off the mountain, fab hotels and high prices. It's a proper town. It takes a long time to get there, but there isn't room for an airport any closer! The train is part of the trip. It runs to the nanosecond. We go for the ski testing weeks in November. A great way to limber up for the season for a couple of days. No queues, cheaper room rates too! Don't go if you like the Tesco/Walmart version of skiing. Me? I love ski-in ski-out accommodation, reasonable prices and all the convenience of French purpose built resorts, but that still leaves room for the pleasures of a trip to Zermatt.
March 28, 2010
Graeme Dunbar from United Kingdom
Have just returned from Zermatt. We are a family of 3 advanced intermediate skiers. Agree that all resorts have good and bad points and Zermatt is no different. Also, didn't have best of conditions with over-warm weather interspersed with low cloud and high winds. This always influences one's opinion to a degree.
The ski area is large if you include the slopes of Cervinia, not so much if you don't. Wasn't blown away by any of the reds and blacks we did, but some have a large vertical (if flat in parts). The yellow ski itineraries were either closed or had very poor snow coverage, so can't comment on them. Piste signage is appalling, with no on-piste indicators of piste number, and only very occasional directional indicators (should be much better considering price of lift pass!).
Some views of course are spectacular, with great photo opportunities. But, at the risk of being controversial, I wonder how much the presence of the Matterhorn persuades people that the on-piste skiing is actually better than it really is?
Biggest downside of the resort (Zermatt) is getting to the slopes then up the hill, especially if you need to get high for good snow. This seriously eats into your skiing day, even with the decent electric ski bus service and the modern and recently improved lift system. Getting into Italy is torturously long unless you are at the lift before 8.45am, difficult with youngsters who need their sleep. Also seemed very quick to close lifts in bad weather, more so than in other resorts we've skied, so this can create serious congestion on Gornegrat train and on accessible pistes.
Don't think the resort or the mountain restaurants are excessively expensive. Drinks are cheaper than in the big French resorts and food, though comparable in price, is of better quality overall. Chalet Etoile, in Italy, was superb and great value. Chez Vrony is an institution and the food we had there lived up to reputation (expensive but very good).
We liked Zermatt centre, had quite a buzz about it, and good for a stroll after skiing or after dinner. The old town area is fascinating, with many wooden buildings several centuries old.
We stayed at the Beau-Site Hotel, excellent in every respect and strongly recommended. Would we go back to Zermatt? Probably, but not in a hurry. As I said, better conditions would have meant better skiing, but even allowing for that, overall the resort didn't 'hook' us as it seems to do others.
March 24, 2010
sandy from Luxembourg
Believe the negative reviews pls!
I had a great week at Zermatt 10 days ago and I am going back next week :-)
March 03, 2010
Michelle from United Kingdom
I can't comment on the negative or positive reports. I can only say what my experience was. Just IMO, since most of the reviews here seem to be majorly experienced skiers. As a newbie, I thought it was a little bit hard but worth putting in the effort to learn as quick as possible. By the end of the week I was skiing reds, whether that means the reds are easy I don't know.
I went last year for the first time; this was my first time skiing and I had an amazing time. I agree, it's not necessarily the best place for beginners. As a kid I did a bit of dry slope which meant I did at least know which way to point down the hill, but without the opportunity of ski school I did lose my teddy at times. But, after a bit of guidance (yes, the locals are friendly and we found an instructor who could give me an hour) there was enough variety to keep me happy, and out of the way of the more experienced people. I went with others who were more experienced and the variety meant we could easily go off and do our own thing, and meet up without going way out of our way.
The snow was perfect, at least for me it was.
Cervinia was definitely worth a visit, and yes, it was cheaper for food over that side.
I thoroughly recommend paragliding, worth every penny, and the pilots were great.
Yeah, stuff was expensive. But if you're there to dine out and drink then you'll be disappointed. If you're there for snow and skiing then you can eat okay and have a great time.
February 27, 2010
Jon from United Kingdom
What is it about human nature that means opinions must be polarised? Something is either heaven or the pits, and the writer alone must be right. So, by way of novelty, here is a balanced perspective on Zermatt from someone with 20 years experience of the resort, and many others across Europe.
Connection. It takes a little under 4 hours from either Zurich or Geneva airports by train with one change, usually in Visp. I’d recommend Zurich as the trains are better, more regular, and the journey more spectacular. From our perspective, the journey is part of the holiday; recognise the Visp-Zermatt section is part of one of the world’s greatest train journeys – the Glacier Express. But then some people genuinely prefer the convenience of a 3 hour coach journey with a pee-stop at Moutier services.
Snow. The skiing at Zermatt is exceptionally high which means it tends to hold its snow well. However, the horseshoe of 4,000m peaks surrounding the resort can often deflect snow fronts, meaning it is comparatively dry. Consequently the best skiing tends to be mid to late season, by which time not only are the pistes well covered, but enough snow has accumulated on the rocky bases of the itinerary and off-piste runs. The Triftji area, the Kumme-Tuftern link and the itinerary runs below Schwartzee tend not to open until later January. Note that most disgruntled reports are written just after New Year.
Skiing. Zermatt is not a good choice for adult beginners, although for children the ski schools and beginner facilities have improved beyond recognition in recent years. There are a few serious black runs (particularly if Trifti-Stockhorn is open), but otherwise they tend to be short links between pistes. For intermediates through to advanced skiers who, like us, prefer speed to buttock clenching, it is up there with the best, especially if you throw in a couple of trips to Italy. We have never suffered particularly from queuing, although if the snow is incomplete and the resort full (ie Xmas / New Year) then it could be different.
Location. Zermatt is a big resort, and the convenience & experience can vary greatly with location. The area around the main street is convenient but busy. Best to stay NW of the river (but not too high) or in Steinmatten. Winkelmatten is much more modern, but quite isolated (although the new Furi-Riffelberg lift has improved the ski connection). Essentially there is nowhere to ski from your chalet, and very few that you can ski directly back. This irritates those accustomed to the big French resorts. Personally, I prefer a few minutes walk to warm up in the morning, and the lure of a bar on the way back.
Charm. True, the main street has been overdeveloped in places, but only yards either side there are some beautifully preserved quarters; check out Englischer Viertel, the area around the English church, and above the Church Square. Much of Steinmatten retains its charm. However, the fringes of the town are very modern, bordering on functional. Once in the mountains, there are some truly delightful mountain restaurants, particularly in Findeln, Zum See, Fluhalp and Stafelalp.
Prices. Zermatt is not cheap, and there is plenty of scope for the careless or carefree to haemorrhage cash. With a bit of care, it can be reasonable, and from experience, far more so than the big French resorts. Ask around, check out review sites (eg tripadvisor.com), watch where the [value conscious] mountaineers go, read the menu before you enter, and avoid anywhere the clientele wear mink. There is a huge variety of excellent places to eat at UK prices or below. Among our favourites include (in rough price order) the Julen Schaeferstubli, Swiss Chalet, Stockhorn Grill, Pizza Roma, Sparky’s & the North Wall.
In conclusion, you can find bigger resorts, more convenient, less developed, certainly cheaper and closer to the airport. But Zermatt’s combination just works for us, as it does for thousands of others, who come back year after year. Everyone is different (thank goodness), so see if it appeals and works for you.
Oh, and there’s a pointy mountain I’ve run out of space to tell you about.
February 27, 2010
Bozorgzadegan Abbas from Iran, Islamic Republic of
Is there anyone to invite me to Zermatt for alpine ski? I've read resort reviews and eagerly would like to see and skiing there! I am 63 years old and no more time for such an experience!!!
[note from the editor: this post will stay on the site for a short period as it is not a resort review]
February 22, 2010
Josage from United Kingdom
I’m glad some of the reviews of Zermatt here are so bad! Means the place is free of all you moaners so all the more space for me! As far as I’m concerned Zermatt is heaven.
A few facts to counter what other negative reviewers have said:
Expensive: yes, but no worse value for money than a dreadful chain coffee shop in a big city such as London.
“50 – 60 SF for a mediocre plate of Pasta”. Sorry but that’s plain wrong. The main courses at several Zermatt restaurants are very tasty for around CHF 19 – 30.
“surprisingly new and commercial touristy feel” . Maybe (partly because the place has quadrupled in size since 1950) but there is plenty of rustic old world charm if you go to the right places – and anyway I’m sure most of us want ‘modern’ in our hotel/chalet accommodation. You can’t have it both ways.
As regards the slopes at Zermatt. Many of the ‘harder’ ski runs (eg Stockhorn) are closed until late season due to the climate which is quite specific to Zermatt. That is no fault of the Zermatt ski authorities. Most guidebooks do warn that the Stockhorn slopes are closed until later on in the season.
One thing I do agree on is that signing and naming and the piste map are poor.
“travel [transfer time] is obscene” That is totally subjective. The train connections from Geneva and Zurich are very efficient, and wonderfully scenic. The train up the valley from Visp can not be any faster. If it was the Swiss alpine mountain experience would not be what it is.
I do agree that the buses (note spelling) could be better and the taxis can be a bit intrusive – but again you can’t have your cake and eat it.
February 18, 2010
Steve from United Kingdom
I've just spent two weeks in Zermatt. It's an odd place, on the one hand picturesque (the majority of buildings being wooden) and still true to its farming roots, on the other, a high street that gets as busy as the Champs-Élysées in spring, lined with expensive watch shops. Do people really spend £100,000 on a wrist-watch? But walk 25 metres off the high street and all the crowds disappear and you can find the charm that made Zermatt popular.
The skiing is not for beginners. A good resort for good intermediates. Be prepared to put in some leg and stick work every now and again. Snow cover wasn't brilliant despite heavy snows in the Alps, some pistes were grassy and left open. At morning rush hour be prepared for a 30min + wait to go up the mountain. Get up early and avoid it. There is currently a problem with the Matterhorn gondola, it keeps breaking down, (sometimes it can be stationary for 20-30mins) still you can enjoy the scenery. The cable car that goes to the top station (Matterhorn Paradise & Cervinia) can be very busy. I waited for over an hour in a queue of hundreds of people to go to the top, it was highly unpleasant.
The mountain restaurants are expensive but some of them are extremely good. £15-£20 for a single course with beer is the cheapest that I found. Try the restaurant at Stafel, red 52, for fine dining in sheepskin chairs. At village level try the Swiss Chalet for a traditional setting and great cooking. Eating fairly frugally but enjoying a three course meal every other day, I spent £400/wk, if you're a big drinker that figure could easily double.
It can take a long, long time to get to where you want to be on the mountain; the Zermatt & Cervinia lifts are slow and there can be some lengthy walks to lifts on the Zermatt side. The multitude of electric taxis in Zermatt became annoying, and due to their silence, quite dangerous! Invest in a pair of the readily available studded rubber crampon type things that go over your boots, brilliant for getting about safely on the often extra-ordinarily icy roads and for mountain walks. There are some lovely winter walks at Zermatt with welcoming restaurants and hunters lodges to refresh you. I found the Swiss to be, without exception, extremely friendly, welcoming and helpful.
There is a lot of investment taking place into improving the lift system and access across the mountain.The lift pass is very expensive probably for this reason.
So, an amazing location but not the best skiing experience I've ever had. I returned home with mixed feelings. It's a very beautiful place and the people are lovely. I had one day of great skiing without lengthy queues, enjoying the long pistes either side of the Swiss/Italian border but for me the series of long delays getting up the hill fairly ruined the skiing experience. It was brilliant to have a good look at the Matterhorn and to be able to ski below three of its sides but some of my favourite memories are from the winter walking rather than the skiing. If they can speed up the lifts and do something about that terrible cable car to the top station it will be sensational.
February 16, 2010
Ken from Australia
Our family spent a week in Zermatt in the first week of February. It was our first visit and we were overwhelmed by the size of the resort and the fantastic network of lifts and pistes. We rented an apartment with views of the Matterhorn and therefore were able to self cater. There are a number of supermarkets in Zermatt and their prices were reasonable and appeared no more expensive than in other parts of Switzerland, except meat from the local butcher was quite expensive.
It snowed the day before we arrived, so the conditions were quite good, and you could find lots of powder stashes on either side of the highway width pistes. We had blue sky days 5 out of 6 which provided great visibility and excellent views of the Matterhorn and surrounding peaks.
Conditions did get a bit icy on some runs late afternoon towards the end of the week, but, overall, given the cold temperatures the snow condition remained very good throughout the week. Lift prices by Australian standards are quite reasonable - adult, including Cervina, is about 405 franks for 6 days and even 16 year olds attract the child rate which is about half this amount.
Sure the restaurants and cafe's were expensive, although we did find a cafe above a bakery in the main street where you could get pasta and other light meals for about 10 franks, together with great coffee and service.
Zermatt is a picture postcard Swiss village and is what we imagined a Swiss ski resort would be like. Our family enjoyed our week immensely and would definitely return.