This is the Italian side of the Matterhorn . From the top it is a 10 to 12 km run to the Italian ski resort , Cervinia . It is not that interesting on the Cervinia side compared to Zermatt , and the Cervinia village is quite bland . Trying to get back to Zermatt can be a problem sometimes .. High winds can develop around the Matterhorn and on your way up to the top you may find , when you reach the mid station , that the last cable car has been shut down . This is not what you want to discover at 2:00 pm in the afternoon . That is why you have to leave Zermatt early in the morning .
I'm not so into sports, so can't be of much help here, but I must say, this would be a beautiful spot to hike, and there are plenty of people taking advantage of it.
Even without being a hiker, I really enjoyed our walks in the sunshine, as each time we changed trains there was usually some waiting time.
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.
Equipment: 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!
Snow skiing in Zermatt is well worth the trip to the top. The runs are all day long adventures skiing down the alps and stopping at the many alpine chalet restaurants along the way. The scenery is beautiful and the snow abundant. Dress warm because when the sun is not out a cold chill catches up with you.
Summer ski-ing is possible up on the Kleine Matterhorn area. Bear in mind to get an early start though as it takes a while to get to the top and also the ski-ing is only possible until mid afternoon due to the sun making the snow too slushy.
A small glass of champagne at the end of the day on trail down from mountains.
Actually the glass of champagne was quite expensive.