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29 December 2012 1,495 views One Comment

Around ze town

ZermattBased on a 40ish hour stay I’d say that Zermatt is one of those bubble places that people are passionate about and to which they return time and again. It’s also ridiculously friendly, I met super sociable people in almost every bar. Of course staying in a hostel always helps – everyone’s in casual chat mode and happy to have a beer. But even in some of the nicer hotel bars, and there are lots of those around Zermatt (check out Hotel Pollux with the open fire and beautiful curved oak bar), I got into some good chat with some really interesting people.

On ze slopes

Up at ‘Matterhorn Glacier Paradise’, 3883 metres, is the panoramic view across Switzerland, France and Italy. I’ll have to trust that because it was total white out for me, but the ride up was fun (I secretly enjoy the ski lift fear/ adrenalin rush).
At Trockener Steg the services are so comprehensive it’s like being at a Westfield. This is a really busy intersection of runs so I sat here for quite a while watching the incoming/ outgoing action, reading and not drinking coffee because Switzerland is SO goddam expensive.
If you’re a ski bunny with no children it’s probably normal not to have noticed the non-skiing facilities at a resort. So it was a pleasant surprise as a current non-skier (injury), obviously sans enfants, to find out how much there was to do. A number of the runs are available for walking and sledging. I walked down the run from Schwarzsee. Skiing this Zermattwould take you around 30 minutes I reckon. Three point five hours I was out there..! It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. The snow was really crunchy, the sky was mostly clear, it was mountain-silent, I walked right past the Matterhorn (er, hi), into the tree-line it was Disney perfect, sure the people swooshing past looked mega cool and would make it to après-ski before me, but it was awesome to slowly take in so much wonderful alpine-ness. Along the way I had a couple of little slips, ended up on my arse once, my jeans froze (“shorty got those frozen bottom jeans”), and I confirmed in my head that skiing is better than snowboarding. It’s unlikely that if you’re a skier you’ll ever choose to go walking instead of skiing but I really, seriously recommend it, you get a whole different sense of presence in the mountains, and you still earn the après-ski.

Getting to ze place

This isn’t LonelyPlanet.com or MasterChef so I don’t usually write ‘the journey’ but travelling into Zermatt really is delightful, and so, noteworthy. From Visp there’s a little train that winds through the valley and up into Zermatt, naturally it’s an on time, super clean and bing bong efficient service, and the scenery is three-inch-powder-perfect. You follow the lively, crystal river for a fair while and then, what starts off as hills open up more to mountains. It’s very satisfying and picturesque. There are no cars in Zermatt so you either walk around a lot, crossing bridges and winding around chalets, or get the electric taxis which are about the size and shape of milk floats. Maybe it’s my romantic or eco side but I reckon having no cars is what makes everyone friendly too – you’re all thrown together on the street :)

From Zermatt, it was on to Saas Fee as part of my 2012 Swiss tour, read on… Tschus x

p.s. trail running is tagged in lieu of ski run walking :)



One Comment »

  • lucyjjames » Blog Archive » Saas Fee said:

    […] of a luxury being able to compare two Swiss ski resorts back to back. Zermatt has more runs, is a nicer town and is better connected. Saas Fee is a lot more scenic – […]

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