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Zermatt, Switzerland

It’s all About the Mountains in Zermatt

In Zermatt, it has always been about the mountains. Whether people scale them, ski down them, or simply gaze at them, the mountains are the centerpiece for life in this village of 5,600 people. Zermatt is home to the Matterhorn, one of Europe’s most recognizable peaks, and draws visitors from around the world.

Zermatt is a scenic, car-free village with a medieval center and provides a great base for some of the best skiing in the Alps. Three main ski areas, the Sunnegga, the Gornergrat, and the Klein Matterhorn, offer world-class excitement for every level of skier.

The ski areas surrounding Zermatt provide 250 kilometers (156 miles) of trails with 71 lifts to transport skiers. Zermatt is not the best place for beginners but is a haven for intermediates. Fifteen trails are designated for beginners and are located for the most part in the Klein Matterhorn and Gornergrat regions. About 50 percent of Zermatt’s trails are best for intermediates and offer a variety of terrain from wide-open trails to scenic, pine shrouded forest trails. Twenty-eight percent of the resort’s trails are designated for experts but there’s excellent off-trail skiing at Zermatt, as well.

Snowboarders are welcome in Zermatt and are happy to find an excellent new terrain park and half-pipe close to Riffelberg, as well as a park on the Klein Matterhorn. Those who enjoy other winter sports activities are on cloud nine here and it’s not just the altitude. Non-ski winter activities include ice hiking, ice climbing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, ice skating, and sleigh-riding, among others.

Fun excursions include the Glacier Grotto, the world’s highest ice museum with its blue, frozen sculptures. A cable car lifts visitors to the top of the Klein Matternhorn to explore the unique glacial caves. Another popular day trip is a visit across the border to Cervinia, Italy. The town also has spectacular views of the Matterhorn. The Alpine Museum in Zermatt is also fun for winter sports lovers.

Elevation statistics for Chamonix’s Ski resort areas.
Ski Area Top Elevation
Rothorn 3103m/ 10,240′
Gornergrat 3405m/ 11,236′
Klein Matterhorn/ Schwarzsee 3820m/ 12,600′
Breuil-Cervinia (Italian Side) 3840m/ 12,672′