Schwarzsee - Black Lake
The Schwarzsee cable-car takes you up high to nearly the foot of the Matterhorn. There is a pretty little lake here of the same name (means Black Lake). This was the only reflection pic I got from our visit in 2003 so I have to include it - a tiny chapel by the lake is reflected in the clear water. The Chapel of the Holy Mary of the Snow was built by three grateful Italian climbers who, whilst fearing for their lives in a terrible storm at Schwarzsee, pledged to erect a chapel to the Lord if they survived.
So I decided to give skiing a go to see why everyone raves about it. I must say it was a painful and humbling experience, especially for one who has no sense of balance and is slightly afraid of heights!
There are 3 big ski schools in Zermatt which all looked like they offered the same services. I am not trying to do a promotional thing for anyone, just want to share my experience. We went to the Swiss Ski and Snowboard School. They were extremely efficient and friendly at the office when we went there to confirm our booking done over the telephone two weeks before hand. Additionally, my husband did his shoulder in on the first day of the course... and they refunded him the fees in full no questions asked and no forms to fill - they just handed us the money after we showed them our receipt and told them what happened.
I continued the course with a bunch of other beginners, and I was the worst! But the instructor was really patient and good (he was close to 60 I think but a tough old man, so no worries about the macho ski instructor thing going on there...). More than anything, you need someone to "force" you into trying something that you don't think you are able to do. They're good that way... knowing your limits and abilities better than you do.
We started on a 3 day course, and then decided to add on later because it was just so much fun. During the week, they took us to different ski fields. (Stick close to the instructors because some learners actually got off at the wrong stop).
Proud to say that I managed to ski down a blue run with the instructor on my third day! If I can do it, then anyone can, trust me. This is basic info for beginners - advanced people please move on because the info here could be embarrassing!
We rented our equipment from Slalom Sports (again, am not promoting them, I'm sure other sports shops have excellent service as well). The staff were knowledgeable, professional and friendly. During the week, we must have gone back about 4 times to change boots, return skis, re-rent them, etc. and they couldn't have been happier to help. Their prices were reasonable and we didn't need to "persuade" them to consider re-rentals as add-on days, etc. as you may do in some other ski resorts who are out to make money.
I rented the wrong size boots not knowing how tight they were supposed to be. I could hardly walk in them, but people kept saying that "they've got to be tight". Hurt really bad the first day. Then got them changed at the shop to one size larger - slightly better - but still hurt like crazy on the slopes. Third day, changed boot model altogether (no more of that modern buckley boots, but went with some really old-fashioned ones) and they were perfect! So perfect in fact that we bought them off the shop for CHF30 at the end of our trip!! Who cares if they were ugly, they were comfy and will be good for the next couple of seasons as I get better at skiing!
Moving to the left agin, taken from Rotenboden.
One advantage the train offers is the option of getting on or off the train at any station as you head in one direction.
Breithorn is 4164m and K. Matterhorn is 3883m.
Rotenboden is the next station on the way down and permits more views of the Matterhorn, with a small lake as a mirror to the peak. The small lake is the Riffelsee.
If you look at the Klein Matterhorn peak, the one that is snow free, it is posible to see the top station of the cable car from Furi to Trockener Steg to Klein Matterhorn. From the last station you can visit the Glacier Palace.
To help maintain Zermatt's original character,roads are kept exclusively for electric vehicles, such as electric bus,electric taxi or even horse drawn carriages.Very environment friendly,huh;) If you like to walk,you can just walk around Zermatt,it's envionmnet friendlier I guess;) I have tried the bus, it cost me 2.50 sfr. for one way trip from Zermatt train station to Schwarzsee cable car station.
glacier grotto at "Klein Matterhorn"
Visit the highest ice pavilion in the world at an altitude of 3810 m. above sea-level.
Admission free. Open from 09:00 to 15:45.
Experience the mystical world below the perpetual ice with its ice sculptures and exhibition about glaciers, geology and the rescue service in Zermatt.
There is also an icebar in the grotto and a lot of icesculptures. Don't miss it if you plan to go to "Klein Matterhorn".
But remember take warm clothes with you the grotto at an altitute of 3810m.