Chi va piano, va sano e va lontano... (Who goes slowly, goes safetly, goes far)
Don't forget to acclimatize before going on up to the Klein Matterhorn (3'800m). Please bear in mind that you need plenty of fluids and time to acclimatize when you are at an altitude of over 9,840 feet / 3,000 meters.
You will avoid headaches or dizzy feelings.
Warm clothing, a windproof jacket and solid footwear are a must, whatever the time of year. And, of course, don’t forget your sunglasses, sun cream and your cap/hat at these high altitudes.
Because cars are not allowed in Zermatt, only electric vehicles are allowed on the streets. The downside to this is, these electric carts are silent. Drivers generally look out for pedestrians and will ring an attached bell to warn those around them, but keep an eye on your surroundings just in case. It could save you from scrambling down a stairwell or embankment to avoid being run down!
If you're going skiing/surfing off-piste or climbing. Please respect the local regulations and read the avalanche bullettins.
Keep in mind that nature is always stronger than humans, so keep humble.
In case of emergency call 117
Respect the local signs, especially if you are skiing on the glacier.
Pay attention that crevasses could be hide by a fresh snow cover, so stay on the beaten path... and avoid to dissappear in the heart of an Alpine Glacier.
If you are in Zermatt on a weekday in school term time, just be careful at 3pm when school gets out. The local kids, God love them, are full of the joys of spring and become very boisterous and careless in their enthusiasm. You can be knocked down by a speeding bike or foot scooter very easily as they don't seem to have any concept of riding safely when amongst crowds of people.
Sad but true!! I could never understand why a person who travels great distances only to dine at McDonald's. For some odd reason people find comfort in going to McDonald's when they're abroad. People in our group were all excited to see a McDonald's in Zermatt so they can get their fix of Big Macs and French Fries.... It's a piece of home, I guess. I much prefer to dine at a restaurant unique to the place I am visiting. Honestly, to each his own. :*)
About the photograph
This photograph is not really the McDonald's in Zermatt because I didn't photo THAT one, this one is in Minneapolis — I thought photographing it in Winter gave it the appearance that it could be a McDonald's in Switzerland ;*)
The altitude in in Zermatt can give you a headache, make you feel tired or ill and generally just dehydrated.
Drinks gallons of water, try to get a humidifier put in your room and run a hot bath.
Leave the water in the tub when you sleep.
I was sleeping at 2222 m so, about 600 m higher than Zermatt which really made a difference when I was getting used to the climate/altitute.
If you're hiking or skiing when the conditions for an avalanche are present be aware of you surroundings!! These snow fences are designed to help to keep the snow pack in place but I certainly saw plenty of mountain sides with a big pile of trees at the bottom that were deposited there from an avalanche!
Even though Zermatt is supposed to be a car free town, there are many electricty-powered taxis and vans zipping around. Watch out for these!! They come quite fast on those small roads, so watch out for them and look behind you. Especially if you are a new skiier like me, unaccustomed to walking around in those damn ski boots with half a tonne of skis on your shoulders!
Most certainly winter brings a lot of snow and ice to Zermatt, which makes walking around kind of troublesome. First of all, it has some pretty steep roads, with signs showing the angles and saying "be careful" in German. With all of that ice it can get pretty slippery. I couldn't tell you how many times we fell going up or down steps and on those steep streets, where you can slide for quite a distance before stopping!
While planning for a cable car ride from Zermatt to Matterhorn and back always make sure that you are not accompanied by any child under three years of age.We had our two yrs.old daughter with us. At the ticket counter we were informed that we can only go upto the second stoppage ,i.e.,Trockener.We had no other option as we had already spent the whole day .Actually,at the third part of the ride(from Trockener to Matterhorn)you will have to face a rapid changing of altitude(Trockener:2939m : the cable car point of Matterhorn:3820m.). I am not sure whether at that last part of journey you have to go by a chair-type cable car rathar than a cubicle- type. But in both cases there is a great risk for children.We went upto Trockener and enjoyed the view of Matterhorn and other peaks from the view point.And obviously enjoyed the food at the resturant. Though Trockener is also at a pretty high altitude,the place is in reality a starting point for skying. I think It is better for a family with young childrten to allocate the day for a better option. But if you are determined to see Matterhorn from a higher altitude than that of zematt then it is worth to go as far as you are permitted. But,please don't cross it. You will get enough of high altitude scenary at the cablecar journey from Furi to Trockener
Mountain weather can be unpredictable - even in the height of summer snow can fall. This was the town of Zermatt seen from our hotel roof sun terrase ....and the month ...it was AUGUST. More snow pics in the travelogue!
So be prepared take clothes for all types of weather!
I always thought that St. Bernard's were fairly docile dogs, after all aren't they famous for rescuing people? This St. Bernard must have been nipping at the spirits in his barrel and a nasty drunk to boot, while inside being protected from the inclement weather, he lunged at another dog giving him a pretty good gash.
We shared a train cars with the beasts on the way back down, the unsuspecting bite victim was in the next car and when we got off the train, the St. Bernard was ready to take another shot at him.
I don't know that these dogs would bite a human but it's probably wise to keep a safe distance, in any event their handlers, who want a fee for posing with them, will keep you at a distance.
It is important to check weather conditions before undertaking any kind of activity whether walking or skiing. If you have a TV in your room there is usually a channel which gives the the latest news on the weather and which ski lifts are open. Remember weather in the mountains can change from one moment to the other rather drastically.The pistes are well marked but do not stray from them and regard avanlance warnings.
On most of the hikes that I went on I saw signs like this one marking the way. But I would be a good idea to have a map of the area for more extensive hikes.