Zermatt, CH: July 2010

For the last couple of years, we’ve wanted to take the kids to Europe. The stars and our schedules finally aligned this summer.

After a week in Paris and a visit to the Normandy beaches, we headed to Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn and the largest summer ski area in the Alps.

Zermatt is a no-car town — all the vehicles are electric. After a short ($30!) taxi ride, we arrived at our apartment. I’ve been to some ski resorts, but haven’t had a view like this from my room.

The next morning, Zoe and l left the apartment at 7:30. Summer skiing takes place on the Klein Matterhorn at 3900 meters.

The glacier is open for skiing from 7 am-1:30 pm with 2,000 feet of vertical. Nothing really challenging, but enough pitch for some sweet high-speed cruising. We skied for three hours straight.

On the way down, Zoe announced that this was her best day ever. I don’t know about that, but it was definitely a Top-10 day. The Alps are a very special place, and skiing with the Matterhorn in full view is truly impressive.

10 comments on “Zermatt, CH: July 2010

  1. Jason, are you ready to shoot yourself because you won't be going back when it’s in full operation? The trail map looks convincing.

    Here’s a Zermatt overview from Ski-Europe.

    How did it feel to be back in the “old country?” I saw your comment about the cost of the taxi — were things in general prohibitively expensive?

  2. Wow, that is some spectacular mountain scenery, looks like a great trip. I assume you rented gear rather than lugging skis and boots across the Atlantic?

  3. James – as you can see by the trail map the place is huge, but it is mostly intermediate. Believe it or not, snowmaking towers cover most of the mountain.

    The apartment cost 300 per night. It was a 2 bedroom brand new unit. I’m sure during the ski season the cost is double. Food was very expensive. A diet coke 4.00 per bottle, small pizza 20.00..The swiss franc is par with the dollar. Prices in France were much more civil, really no different than here..

    I have mixed feeling being back. It’s nice being able to communicate efficiently. I found most people in France spoke english and were happy doing it. The Swiss just don’t speak that much english, that said we still had a great time and got by..

    Jeff … we rented equipment, the cost was 90.00 for Zoe and I. My lift ticket was 78.00 Zoe’s was 39.00..

  4. Go Jason Go! Great pics to see at this time of year. Those glacier pics are killer. We posted a few of them in the forum. Hey …how many days have you made turns in July?

  5. Wife and I visited Saas Fee a few years back—same region as Zermatt but supposedly much less “commercialized” than Zermatt. We found the Saas-Fee village to be absolutely perfect–a small little wedge sandwiched between huge peaks without the feeling of being taken advantage of price-wise. A totally pedestrian village with very limited golf cart access roads. Went over Thanksgiving and got slammed with about 2 feet while we were there. Because it was technically “out of season” and mid-week, they kept the mountain closed so they could do avy-control. Wife and I spent countless hours in the chalet playing cards with the bombs echoing through the valley. Was almost as much fun as skiing!

    They did open the mountain our last day there, but I could only go 1/2 day and it was mobbed. Was amazed at the mess of several hundred people lined up at the T-bars with no lifties. Chaos!

  6. Just like any ski region, you need to pick your dates and resorts carefully. Go to a high-profile place during the holidays or anytime from early-Feb to mid-March, and you’ll regret it.

    Oddly enough, the Euros never picked up the North American custom of organized lift corrals, so queues can get NYC-subway-during-rush-hour ugly when it’s crowded. I’ve only gone to the Alps at the end of January or the last two weeks of March, and it’s always clear sailing then.

  7. All the lifts at Zermatt have turn stiles .. just like at a subway. you place your lift card in your left side pocket and rub up against the sensor to open the gate..

    I was considering going to Saas Fee too. But I wanted to see the Matterhorn..

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