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Zermatt

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Headed to Zermatt for two weeks.  If we got a guide for a day, how much of the mountain (Zermatt/Cervinia) could we ski thereafter without a guide?  I'm assuming the guide could give us a general idea/feel of the stuff we don't actually ski with the guide.  

 

It seems Zermatt is having a good year snow-wise; any suggestions on what part of the mountain to hit-up?  How is the off-piste on the the Italian side?  Looks gentle but with inviting fields (webcams) considering the good cover?  How much of it, if any, can you ski without a guide?

 

Anybody know what the meteorological/geological phenomenon that keeps snow out of Zermatt, is called?  Been watching the satellite images, and it seems a pocket forms, and apparently its not just this year.  Is there a part of Zermatt (stockhorn?  Gornergrat?) that gets or holds more snow than other parts?  

 

Any recommendations on guides?  (Been out west a number of times; been to Ischgl a few times; skiing with 3 riders that live in the Rockies; familiar with backcountry)

 

Cheers.

post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galtur View Post
 

Headed to Zermatt for two weeks.  If we got a guide for a day, how much of the mountain (Zermatt/Cervinia) could we ski thereafter without a guide?  I'm assuming the guide could give us a general idea/feel of the stuff we don't actually ski with the guide.  

 

It seems Zermatt is having a good year snow-wise; any suggestions on what part of the mountain to hit-up?  How is the off-piste on the the Italian side?  Looks gentle but with inviting fields (webcams) considering the good cover?  How much of it, if any, can you ski without a guide?

 

Anybody know what the meteorological/geological phenomenon that keeps snow out of Zermatt, is called?  Been watching the satellite images, and it seems a pocket forms, and apparently its not just this year.  Is there a part of Zermatt (stockhorn?  Gornergrat?) that gets or holds more snow than other parts?  

 

Any recommendations on guides?  (Been out west a number of times; been to Ischgl a few times; skiing with 3 riders that live in the Rockies; familiar with backcountry)

 

Cheers.

I rode zermatt last year for only two days. Awesome place. Perhaps I just didn't find much in the time I was there, but the slopes weren't very intimidating/challenging. They have loads of terrain, but it seemed fairly easy. Granted, I'm sure a guide could help you find sweet spots.

 

I don't have much to say about it really due to the time I was there, but get to the peak ASAP. It gets crowded and you can stand in lift lines for quite a while. Especially the tram. Definitely take the longest run down, nothing in the world can compare to it. You can blast down and there's quite a few fun snow drops along the way. Nothing too huge, but a couple drops that are fun to pop off. 

post #3 of 8

When talking about the long run I think they may be talking about the run from Piccolo Cervino, Plateau Rosa down to Valtournenche on the Cervinia side. Nice relaxed skiing and about 20km. No guide needed.

 

You definitely need a guide to find some of the best off piste runs on the Zermatt side. Try this one.

 

Quote:

The Schwarztor is Zermatt’s answer to the Valley Blanche. Under good snow, this is one of the best descents in Europe.Begin from the Klein Matterhorn and make a long traverse to the col between Castor and Pollux. This is best done as a ski tour (1hour from KM) or as a heli drop. Then descend the crashing glacier all the way down to the Gornergletscher. North facing with stunning scenery. Then follow the Gornergletscher eventually reaching Furi. - See more at: http://mountaintracks.co.uk/blog/off-piste-guide-zermatt#sthash.nYZXSN7Q.dpuf

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the pointers.  The link to mountaintracks.co is the kind of thing I've been looking for.  Thank you.

post #5 of 8

My pal and I are flying over soon, land this Saturday, and have 5  nights booked at Zermatt, then 3 days in Villars.

 

Any quiver recommendations based on the snow conditions there ?

Me -> 5'9", 175 pounds

 

I will be bringing DPS Wailer 112RP in case there is any chance for deep stuff.

 

But what about for my main ski ?

I also have Kastle MX78 and LX92.

 

I feel most confident / nimble on the MX78.

Or would the added width and slightly softer flex of the LX92 be a better choice ?

 

- Andy

post #6 of 8

I was in Zermatt last week, by far the best skiing my 4 lifetime Euro trips.

 

Quote:
Anybody know what the meteorological/geological phenomenon that keeps snow out of Zermatt, is called?  Been watching the satellite images, and it seems a pocket forms, and apparently its not just this year.  Is there a part of Zermatt (stockhorn?  Gornergrat?) that gets or holds more snow than other parts?   

According to Fraser Wilkins  http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/  it's fairly straightforward.  Most winter storms come from the Atlantic.  They have to cross several sets of mountains before they get to Zermatt. Sort of like North American storms having to cross the Sierra or Cascades and Utah before they get to Colorado.  But also like Colorado, Zermatt is very high, rarely gets rain and preserves snow superbly.  Sometimes the storm tracks are unusual.  Just as many North American storms bypassed the West Coast and hit Colorado this year, the biggest Euro storm this year came from the south and hammered Italy, so Zermatt benefited from being on the Italian border.

Quote:
Is there a part of Zermatt (stockhorn?  Gornergrat?) that gets or holds more snow than other parts?    

Klein Matterhorn/Cervinia get more snow than Gornergrat/Rothorn.  But they also have less steep terrain and more wind/lift closures.  Stockhorn has the reputation of best snow preservation, but it was never open on the days when I was skiing Rothorn or Gornergrat.  The 2 sunny days were Tuesday when we went to Italy and Wednesday when we hired a guide for the Schwarztor mentioned in TQR's post.  There was an avalanche on Stockhorn Wednesday, which some of our group observed while skiing with off piste guides.

 

  Quote:

Perhaps I just didn't find much in the time I was there, but the slopes weren't very intimidating/challenging. They have loads of terrain, but it seemed fairly easy. Granted, I'm sure a guide could help you find sweet spots.

I really disagree with this.  Vast ungroomed advanced sectors were scoutable from the lifts, and during my week there was lots of powder as an added bonus.  From my TR's below, you will see that some commenters thought I was pressing my luck with avalanche potential.  But most of this skiing was in sectors along or near to marked yellow "skiroutes," which are not groomed but allegedly subject to avy control.  Nonetheless if you don't like doing your own route finding, hiring an off piste guide on the first sunny day will surely make you more confident about where to ski after that. 
 

Quote:

I will be bringing DPS Wailer 112RP in case there is any chance for deep stuff.

 

But what about for my main ski ?

I also have Kastle MX78 and LX92.

 

I feel most confident / nimble on the MX78.

Or would the added width and slightly softer flex of the LX92 be a better choice ? 

It's not practical to be swapping out skis in a vast area like Zermatt.  Even when you're skiing as much powder as I had last week, you will also be on piste, and the pistes tend to get packed fairly hard by skier traffic.  So the 112mm skis will not be fun on the pistes and the 78's less than ideal in the powder, especially if it's exposed and wind affected. Skiing in the Alps was a key motivation for me buying the Blizzard Bonafides, an amazingly versatile ski at 98mm.   I don't know how versatile the LX92 is, but it's in the width range I would want in the Alps.  My second pair of skis were Black Diamond Verdicts because I needed the AT setup for the Schwarztor.  If you don't have AT, you can get rentals at the Yosemite shop in Zermatt like Liz did.

 

TR's with lots of pics:

Feb. 9: high overcast with sunny breaks, skied Rothorn and Hohtalli: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=11340

Feb. 10: bad weather day on Gornergrat, Zum See lunch: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=11348 

Feb. 11: sunny, skied Klein Matterhorn and a pristine deep powder run down to Plan Maison in Italy, Chalet Etoile lunch: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=11349 

Feb. 12: sunny but cold and windy up top, skied Schwarztor with guide: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=11353

Feb. 13: snowy day, started Gornergrat, moved to Patrullarve, Chez Vrony lunch: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=11354 

Feb. 14: overcast powder day, skied all 3 sectors, got up higher when clouds lifted late, missed last lift out of Gant and had to hike out: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=11355 

post #7 of 8

Wow.  I had this burning desire to visit Zermatt/Cervinia before your trip report, and after reading your exhaustive day-by-day report, I am now possessed.  Thanks for all the great photos and the run-by-run account.  I am in awe of the vast terrain and the alpine environment there and hope to experience it myself one day.

post #8 of 8

My pal and I just got back from 5 days skiing at Zermatt ( and 3 days in Villars ).

Zermatt was just superb and it will be tough exceed the quality of this trip !

We had 4 days of perfectly blue skies and 2 days of great pow to test our NooB pow skills.

There are 4-5 ski "areas" and very well linked.

Not many black runs, but no complaints, as much variety and stellar scenery.

 

We stayed at the very nice Schlosshotel very near the main train station and Gornergrat station.

Flight, car, hotel, lift costs were on par with a North American ski trip

The only sticker-shock is the cost to eat / drink, but hey, life is short.

I had some of the best meals there though.

 

I could see a west-coast skier used to so much pow NOT liking Zermatt, or European skiing in general.

But I LOVE the overall package / culture of a euro ski trip  ( both my parents are Austrian so it is in my blood ! )

 

 

- Andy

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