Z for Zermatt

A ski domain at its zenith

Claude Hervé-Bazin
Pascal Gertschen | Marco Schnyder
Winter 2023-2024

To describe Zermatt and its ski area it’s easy to cite superlatives. But nothing’s really better than diving into its sea of powder snow to revive that zest for life.

In the Zone! Tucked deep in the valley, close to the Matterhorn but far from the world’s tribulations, Zermatt has always maintained a certain aloofness and one of the most stunning Alpine panoramas: 23 peaks at 4,000 m+ if you count the ones in immediate proximity, 38 if you also include those of the neighbouring Valais Alps. From the very accessible Allalinhorn (4,027 m) to the Zumsteinspitze (4,563 m), to the highest point within Switzerland, Dufourspitze (4,634 m). More than a postcard, it’s a way to zero in on the spirit of the mountains.

Zoom! This is where the ski domain unfolds over 360 km of slopes that zap you from valley to valley, from glacier to glacier, from perfect view to perfect view, from one country (Switzerland) to another (Italy). There are no Zoll (customs) signs here, just large fields of fully white, binational snow — practically guaranteed by the world’s highest altitude — waiting to be zig-zagged across without interruption. Some incredible runs await: 17.9% black, 61.4% red, 20.7% blue… including a zappy 25-km run along the Matterhorn from the Mountain Glacier Paradise gondola stop (3,883 m). A global record that guarantees zestful memories!

Zirkus! To ease your dive into this white circus, an intricate web of lifts (54) awaits: chair lifts, gondolas, cable cars, an Alpine metro, and the legendary zug (cog train) from Gornergrat Bahn, which is celebrating 125 years of loyal service this very year. On the other side of the technological spectrum, the newly inaugurated Matterhorn Alpine Crossing now makes it possible to cross the mountains sky-high through six connected lifts, in a gorgeous 90-minute journey.

Zeitgeist! Zero pollution, zero noise, and a zillion memories… Zermatt is certainly keeping with the times. It’s
difficult to find anything more zen, more contemporary, more comforting that this iconic ski resort that’s all chalets and no cars, where optimism reigns.