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Zermatt (and Cervinia) 2017/18

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Sorry if I haven't posted that link properly, but you'll get the idea from these snippets from the site:

"The Zermatt snowfall record is impressive. One of the great appeals of early season skiing (or skiing at any time) here is the reliable snow.Skiers often dismiss the start of the season saying the snow isn’t good enough and that during the festive period the slopes are too busy.

"Zermatt has over 350km of piste which means that it never feels crowded even during peak holiday times, plus it has great early season snow. In this article we look at historical snow depths to show how good skiing in December can be.

"The Average Snow Depth in Early-December is 159cm

"If you’re thinking about a December ski trip, but to spend Christmas at home then you can rely on Zermatt for early season snow.

"The snow depth in Zermatt at the beginning of the season (on the upper slopes) has averaged 159cm over that last 8 years."
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https://www.matterhornchalets.com/2016/10/18/zermatt-snowfall-snow-record/

mitcva wrote:
Quote:

Base depth records are readily available as are historic snow falls - if you are wanting to book early and are willing to take a chance, at least look at these before you go

I take your point and, as I said, I am pretty sure Zermatt will be fine for my own requirements when I visit soon, as I am strictly on-piste. However, the resort does feature in several "best for early season" league tables, which may mislead some into thinking it tends to have off-piste skiing at that time of year..

And then there is this https://www.matterhornchalets.com/2016/10/18/zermatt-snowfall-snow-record/
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@PaulC1984,

I did research Zermatt's climate and terrain. I am an experienced skier and a hobbiest meteorologist.

I had a short time to decide and a small window in early December to ski. I wanted to go to a beautiful part of the world that I had never been to before and I'm glad I made the decision I did.

I didn't moan about Zermatt. I just expressed what I saw and what I learned, possibility for the benefit of others. I knew Zermatt was not typically a prime off-piste destination. And I knew it doesn't usually shine early season. What I didn't fully appreciate before was how relatively dry Zermatt can be compared to ski areas to its west, north, east, and sometimes southeast. When you book early skiing in advance, it's a roll of the dice. I'm fully aware of that. You just hope to get lucky with a good storm cycle and maybe run into some powder. What surprised me was that nearly the whole of the Alps were impacted with a month long cycle of storm after storm and yet Zermatt was still dry as a bone with brown grass and rock half way up to the summits. My expectations for early season skiing are always low. I'm usually just happy to be on my skis in the mountains. The frustration comes when Austria, which is much closer and cheaper for me, is getting hammered with snow. Even much of the rest of Switzerland has been much snowier than Zermatt. Finding reliable information on historical climate data is hard enough. But even when I found what I was looking for, it didn't tell me just how much Zermatt can suffer while other nearby resorts are getting the goods. That was not easy to figure out in advance.
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The very high average altitude of its north facing runs mean that the snow does not normally melt once it has fallen.

A problem in terms of natural snowfall is that it is sheltered by the 23 4000m peaks that surround it although presumably that also means generally better visibility for skiing ?

The very rocky nature of virtually all its runs and its altitude mean that it needs quite a lot of snow to open up and the snow can be blown off. Presumably it scores well as an early season resort because of the size of its glacier.

I think I read somewhere that the Trifti bumps don't usually open before February.

However it is a superb place to go in April when everything is likely to be open except perhaps the very lowest runs.
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My tuppence worth...

To be fair, I think the early season record typically talked about mostly refers to the ability in a "normal" year to get a fair amount of piste kms open, due to the altitude, glacier and fairly comprehensive snowmaking. It's fair to say some of what's written in magazines etc is ill informed or exaggeration, however consensus definitely points to the fact that much of the off piste in zermatt needs a decent base to have built up, hence later in the season being a better bet for that sort of thing.

There's also the vagaries of the early season weather year on year.

If it's coming from the N/NW as it has mostly this year, austria and northern switzerland are the place to be. However, last year a sustained current from the south ensured zermatt, champoluc et al got pasted whereas this years lucky resorts were mostly relying on artificial strips of snow to stay open. Roll of the dice...

I've been to the area 7 times, 3 of those were wall to wall sunshine, 3 almost non-stop snowfall. One was a perfect mix of the two. March/April are the best I've found for the big off piste itineraries, some of which (Schwarztor, longer descents from above stockhorn etc) are some of the longest and best in the alps.

I hope you go back someday and give it a bash with better conditions!
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Snow now falling nicely in Zermatt and on the mountain. Forcast from pretty much all quarters is for a further 6days snowHead
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The first round of snow was largely a miss. Looks like a coating to perhaps a few cms. The Gornergratsee and Alp Hermetje weather stations are reporting 0cm new snow. This was more of the same, with the Zermatt valley largely blocked from the precipitation.

Fortunately there should be another round later today. Hopefully there is some sort of associated frontal boundary that penetrates further south and creates some lift right over the area. Otherwise there might only be light precipitation again with significant downsloping.
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Good burst of snow overnight. Looks like 10-20 cms on the mountain. Not sure about in town, webcams look like at least several cms. It wasn't a dumping, but it is welcomed. The next one might have more Atlantic moisture and more southerly component to the upper level flow.
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Very cold in Zermatt up on the high mountain today, approaching -30c.

Town still needs more snow. Looking a bit bare.
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Another snowy day. The town looks better with a fresh snow cover. Building the base little by little. It is kind of amazing though that Gornergratsee weather station is reporting 7cm on the day while stations 20km west are reporting 40 - 60cm with heavy snow continuing. I wonder if the Gornergratsee station is in a sheltered location or if the wind is scouring the snow away. There's a lot of moisture (and wind) surging in from the SW. I hope Zermatt/Cervinia can get into some of the really good stuff for a while.
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altaski8 wrote:
Another snowy day. The town looks better with a fresh snow cover. Building the base little by little. It is kind of amazing though that Gornergratsee weather station is reporting 7cm on the day while stations 20km west are reporting 40 - 60cm with heavy snow continuing. I wonder if the Gornergratsee station is in a sheltered location or if the wind is scouring the snow away. There's a lot of moisture (and wind) surging in from the SW. I hope Zermatt/Cervinia can get into some of the really good stuff for a while.


Possibly. It has been very windy today. I never take any notice of those measurements. The webcams have been showing snow pounding away all day and the ski area is looking very good.
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According to the main website, hardly anything on the mountain is open at the moment. Just two or three pistes, with another handful listed as "in preparation." High winds/poor visibility, perhaps? Doesn't seem to have been all that much snow overnight.
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It's saying 126 km/h wind at Rothorn - the webcam shows some roof panels flapping quite a bit!
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You know it makes sense.
Ah, that explains it! I am there on Friday.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Maybe a good day for a slow cosy ride on the Gornergratbahn...
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Radar and webcams showed a good pounding of snow. It all looks windblown at present but once the wind stops that won't be a problem - we don't ski on the roofs and the snow will all be there to be enjoyed. Can't believe I am not out there until 27 December this year after last year's poor start.

Anyway while our thoughts are still on the season start, here is a quick opportunity to turn minds to long sunny days and skiing deep snow on the itineraries and off piste in April. The lineup has been announced for Zermatt unplugged:

Quote:

Kodaline will open the 11th Zermatt Unplugged on April 10, 2018. The Irish alternative rock band is currently working on their third studio album and had canceled all concerts in Europe on short notice. Zermatt, however, stands. Like Kodaline, other world stars will not pass up the appearance at the beautiful festival in the Swiss mountains. Zermatt Unplugged 2018 could be called in good conscience the festival of powerful voices. And as a festival of great singers: Norah Jones, Emeli Sandé, Sarah Connor, Selah Sue and Jessie J are five great artists with unmistakable voices on the Zermatt stages. Also unique are the voices of Jack Savoretti and Jake Bugg, both of whom will per-form in Zermatt on Friday. With The Kooks comes a band to Zermatt that has inspired a whole generation of musicians. Mighty Oaks has a very special relationship with Switzerland. After their concert in Zurich fans in Switzerland quickly became their favorite audience. The main program of Zermatt Unplugged is completed with Hudson Taylor, Amber Run, Brett Dennen, Dabu Fantastic, Blanco White, and Fetsum and Wintershome, who will celebrate the release of their first album in front of their home audience.
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Hello snowheads
I'm stying at Cieloalto in Cervinia next week and I see the slopes there are not open yet. Anyone knows of any predictions about that? Should they open anytime soon? With all that snow this weekend why are so many slopes still closed? I'm pretty new to snowboarding and I still don't understand very much about this slope closure things lol
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PriF wrote:
Hello snowheads
I'm stying at Cieloalto in Cervinia next week and I see the slopes there are not open yet. Anyone knows of any predictions about that? Should they open anytime soon? With all that snow this weekend why are so many slopes still closed? I'm pretty new to snowboarding and I still don't understand very much about this slope closure things lol


I think the storms (welcome as they are) have been very windy. Could possibly be avalanche risk as well.

Almost everything would be open otherwise. You should be OK next week.
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was briefly in zmatt yesterday....lots of snow in the streets. was snowing at the time...fairly festive feel to the whole thing.
sorry i don't have piste intel we are skiing elsewhere this trip.
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PriF https://www.snoweye.com/?resort=it_breuilif,
hi welcome to snowheads. It has probably been due to high winds. see the attached link to webcams, and also go on the local tourist website. A lot of snow around, you should be fine as long as the winds are not too high.
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JohnMo wrote:
PriF wrote:
Hello snowheads
I'm stying at Cieloalto in Cervinia next week and I see the slopes there are not open yet. Anyone knows of any predictions about that? Should they open anytime soon? With all that snow this weekend why are so many slopes still closed? I'm pretty new to snowboarding and I still don't understand very much about this slope closure things lol


I think the storms (welcome as they are) have been very windy. Could possibly be avalanche risk as well.

Almost everything would be open otherwise. You should be OK next week.



A decent amount open in Cervinia today including the link over to Zermatt. Valtournenche is also up and running but for some reason the link over to Cervinia is not open all this week. That link, like the Swiss one, also gets closed by strong winds (it is very exposed on a ridge) but this is actually planned not to be open. Strange. I hope for PriF it opens up next week. I like Valtournenche and think it is underrated as the poor relation of Cervinia.
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Hi - just another quick question.

We are heading to Cervinia on 22 Dec with 3 children (aged 8 and 12). We did the same in 2015 (they were 10 and 6). Last time, we went over to the Swiss side, I think (if I remember correctly) that we skied from Plateau Rosa carrying on to the Swiss rather than take the turn own Number 6 I think which keeps you on the Italian side, skied down to Trockener Stag, got the cable car up the very top (Matterhorn) and came down 85. The children were fine, coped with it well. The only time we got a bit stuck was trying to come up the drag lift (I’m looking at the Piste Map and it looks like X3?) on the way back to Plateau Rosa where we went down run 84 - as obviously we’re a family of 5 and the little one (then aged 6) kept falling off the drag lift.

Am thinking of trying to ski more of the Zermatt side this time (we just did a long morning last time – maybe do a couple of days this time), but worried about (a) whether we’d have enough time to go much further into Zermatt (with children) and get back across to the Italian side and (b) whether the red runs on the Zermatt side are comparable with the Cervinia side and we can avoid drag lifts!

Could anyone advise about timescales and if we have enough time, which route we should take / runs we should try.

Last question – if the link is open in the morning from Cervinia to Zermatt, what happens if they decide to close it off – do they make an announcement somehow? Or if its open in the morning, will it stay open (i.e. if its likely to close, they won’t open it in the morning!).

Thank you!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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@Newbie72,

And here lies the problem with Zermatt - I love it to bits and is one of my favourite resots but compared to the 3Vs or the Espace Killy it feels disjointed.

I would definitely stick to the Trockener Steg (Furgg chair gives you access to some good terrain including the park for rollers and jumps) and Schwarzsee (away from it all feel / trees) sectors - plenty there to keep you occupied.

Please keep an eye on the weather in case they shut the KM cable car - the drags may still be open but I wouldn't take my 10Y and 7Y olds on them, if one of them falls, you're stuck.
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Thank you for the reply - sorry if this is a stupid question but when you say keep an eye on the KM cable car, how do you do that (if you're part way down a run!)?? Are there signs at the other chairlift stations etc?
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Sorry ... what I meant is I would choose a sunny and relatively calm day to do this ... download the Skiguide Zermatt app that shows if there are any closure alerts and whether the links are open or not.
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Fab, thank you!
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Newbie72 it is easiest to answer the last question from your orginal post first. The chances of them opening the lifts in the morning and then closing them later on are infinitesimally small. They sometimes ask you to go back early (not often) by posting signs on the electronic screens at the lift barriers. However, what can happen is that the wind gets up, the lift up to Klein Matterhorn closes (less likely next season when the new lift is open – but not much use to you at present) and you need to take the drag lifts back (X1 and X2, not X3). As you and @franga have said that is not nice for young children. It doesn’t happen that often but it definitely can – and it is a bit more likely early season when storms are stronger than late season.

I think the thing to do is get over early to give yourself plenty of time. If you want to extend further I would say with youngsters everything except the Rothorn mountain is accessible. Lots of people do do that coming over from Italy but it is a hike. I might disagree with @franga about doing Schwarzsee much. The skiing is great but the good stuff is very north facing and at that time of year it could be cold and dark – probably even more so than Trockener Steg down to Furgg that you have already done. Later on in the season when the sun is higher these areas really come into their own because the snow stays in great condition.

I think you should head over to Gornegrat. It has slopes that get a decent amount of sun. The blue and red runs down from Gornegrat (more accurately for you – Gifthittli) to Riffelberg are very Cervinia-like and your children should love them. If they are happy with those reds take them down the reds from Riffelberg to Furi through the trees, which are a bit more of a challenge. All the lift stations have signs telling you the last lift to get back to Cervinia from that station. The timing is generous so leave by then and you’ll be fine.

OK, you need to get to Gornegrat. There are two ways over to Switzerland from Italy. The Plateau Rosa route you have described and the Theodulpass. Plateua Rosa is easier. The entry in from Theodulpass starts with a really sharp, steep turn children might not like (it is easy to get back that way though). Ski down past Trockener Steg as you have done before and on to Furgg. Here you want to get to Furi – there are a number of ways to ski it but to be honest I would just get the lift with your children. So as you are skiing down to Furgg head left to the bubble lift that will have been coming down over your head from Trockener Steg. Make sure you go to the right side of the lift station (otherwise you just go back where you have come from) and get in the bubble lift. Furi is the third stop. Get off there and transfer to the Riffelberg Express (also a bubble lift). That takes you up to Riffelberg where you transfer to a chairlift up to Gifthittli (just below Gornegrat) and the fun begins. I know that sounds a lot but the lifts are all really modern and fast.

Coming back, you can get on the Riffelberg Express down to Furi (make sure you stay on until you are at the higher and bigger lift station there) and transfer back to the Mattehorn Express bubble lift that you got earlier in the day. That takes you back up to Trockener Steg from where you know how to get home.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
That is extremely helpful. Thank you. Will print off and digest (and pray for a lovely sunny day in about 10 days time Very Happy )
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Newbie72,

@JohnMo is right - he knows the area inside out and much better than I. Gornegrat is great for kids (I was just a bit conscious about how long it would take particularly if you were to ski down to Furi BUT the gondola is a much more sensible option). Some lovely blues and reds on that side ...

I would also avoid the Red 52 down to Furi - it's in a lovely spot but in most places it's just a path with a couple of uphill bits too (not fun for little kids).

+1 for the comment re the Theodulpass link (I board and I hate the short run down to get to the lovely wide pistes down to Trockener Steg).

You'll have a blast.
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JohnMo wrote:
Valtournenche is also up and running but for some reason the link over to Cervinia is not open all this week. That link, like the Swiss one, also gets closed by strong winds (it is very exposed on a ridge) but this is actually planned not to be open. Strange. I hope for PriF it opens up next week. I like Valtournenche and think it is underrated as the poor relation of Cervinia.


Well whatever the reason was, it is now the case that the link between Cervinia and Valtournenche is opening from tomorrow (Thursday 14th). Good.
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