Travel: Ski With A View In Zermatt

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There is also a well-developed program of options available in the resort designed to complement the snow sports experience – from availing of first tracks, moonlight descents, ski safaris and even Heli skiing. Skiing is, in fact, available all year. While the main season is impressively long and runs from the end of November until April, 21km of pistes stay open throughout the summer months for those who wish to continue throughout.

As a mature resort that has been developing for well over 100 years, Zermatt offers the impressive range of luxury hotels that might be anticipated as well as a as a fully developed array of activities outside snow sports to entertain visitors. In terms of accommodation, for an authentic local experience try one of the Tradition Julen Zermat hotels. There are three of these family-run luxury enterprises, which have been run in Zermatt for over 100 years to choose from, each with a slightly different theme. However, all offer large rooms decorated in the cosy Valais style, extensively featuring alpine wood panelling and furnishings made with locally sourced wool to meet the highest standards of sustainability and respect for the environment. Impressive spa and dining facilities are further complemented by convivial and spacious lounge areas featuring open fires, lending a comforting glowing ambience. (see www.julen.ch for more information).

In terms of pursuits outside the traditional snow sports, in winter Zermatt offers a range of organised activities to try, including ice climbing, tobogganing or joining in on the piste preparation work, for example. It’s even possible to visit the famous black-nosed sheep of Zermatt, whose wool products adorn many of the local establishments. However, our favourite new and unique experience from Zermatt was the guided night fat biking tour.
Wearing a special lamp, participants head off into the snowy darkness with
their guide on “fat” bicycles with extra-large tyres. Following a gentle ascent through the winter wonderland overlooking the lights of the town and then into the night beyond, riders then experience the exhilaration of the descent. Routes are chosen by the guide with a view to fitness levels, experience and conditions, as well as the appetite of the participants. (See www.ski-bike-zermatt.com for more information).

Speaking of appetite, culinary experiences also feature highly on the to-do list for Zermatt. The impressive array of restaurants to choose from, both in the town and adorning the slopes, frequently feature dishes made from local produce, like lamb and beef, and cater to all tastes as well as featuring local specialities. Try Paradies – a great spot to take a lunchtime break from the day’s skiing. There is also a good selection of snow-themed culinary experiences available, such as moonlight fondue at the Gornergrat followed by skiing or igloo and hut evenings.

In summary, Zermatt’s reputation as a top winter resort is well deserved. Definitely a place to find time to visit! Mark Browne was a guest of the Zermatt tourist office while visiting Zermatt.

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