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