Zermatt is famed as a mountaineering and ski resort of the Swiss Alps. The name of Zermatt, as well as that of the Matterhorn itself, derives from the alpine meadows, or matten (in German), in the valley. he village is almost completely surrounded by the high mountains of the Pennine Alps among which Monte Rosa (or Dufourspitze), Switzerland’s highest peak at 4,634 metres (15,203 ft) above sea level. It is followed by the Dom (4,545 m [14,911 ft]), Lyskamm (4,527 m [14,852 ft]), Weisshorn (4,505 m [14,780 ft]) and the Matterhorn (4,478 m [14,692 ft]). Most of the Alpine four-thousanders are located around Zermatt or in the neighbouring valleys.
Zermatt is a starting point for hikes into the mountains, including the Haute Route that leads to Chamonix in France and the Patrouille des Glaciers. Cable cars and chair lifts carry skiers in the winter and hikers in the summer; the highest of them leads to the Klein Matterhorn at 3,883 m (12,740 ft), a peak on the ridge between Breithorn and Matterhorn that offers spectacular views in all directions. It is possible to cross into Italy via the Cervinia cable car station. A spectacular rack railway line (the Gornergratbahn, the highest open-air railway in Europe) runs up to the summit of the Gornergrat at 3,089m (10,134 ft). Zermatt is also the western terminus for the Glacier Express rail service connecting to St. Moritz and the MGB (Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn). Zermatt is known throughout the world for its skiing, especially Triftji for its moguls. The high altitude results in consistent skiing continuously throughout the summer.Skiing in Zermatt is split up into four areas; Sunnegga, Gornergrat, Klein Matterhorn and Schwarzsee. There is also a connection to Cervinia and Valtournenche in Italy.
Sunnegga Paradise ski area
The main novice arterial of the Sunnegga area, the Standard, starts at Blauherd, and continues down to Sunnegga. There is a narrow, often busy, novice run down to Findeln, Easy run, which mainly serves the purpose of serving the area’s famous restaurants and terminates at the 4-seat Findeln chairlift. Below this is a beginners area, the Eisfluh. The other main novice run, the Kumme, can be found outside the Rothorn top station, that takes skiers down to the Kumme 3-seat chairlift.
Advanced runs are best found by Fluhalp, which links the Rothorn to the Gornergrat via the Gant Hothalli cable car, and the Tuftern which takes the skier from Blauherd down to Patrullarve. Zermatt does not have many listed expert runs, as such tend to be graded as itineraries. The Rothorn area has several expert runs, but have been poorly used in the last few years due to inadequate snowfall and the area’s propensity to catch large amounts of sunshine.
There are only two expert runs in the area, the longest of which, the Obere National, runs from Blauherd down to Patrullarve. There are off-piste sections off to the left of this run that can prove enjoyable when snow cover is good. The second expert run, the Downhill, is found by taking a left turn at the top of the Rothorn, from which you can find a blue, red and black. This run is actually quite timid – being a simple straight run, and all of these runs suffer badly if snowfall is not plentiful.
Mountain Bike route and much more can be found at http://www.zermatt.ch/en/page.cfm/experience/summer_activities/mountainbike. The routes on this website can also be download to GPS or printed.
The Matterhorn elevation: 4,478m / 14,693 feet
Top elevation (Klein Matterhorn) : 3820m / 12,500 feet
Zermatt elevation:1620m / 5,250 feet
Vertical drop: 2200m / 7,250 feet
Marked pistes: 245 km / 153 miles
Longest ski run (Klein Matterhorn to Zermatt): 14km
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