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Zermatt (and Cervinia) 2016/17

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@chrisb, Since Zermatt is in Switzerland you will need to use Swiss Francs. Some mountain restaurants in Zermatt accept Euro notes, but will give you change in Swiss Francs.

Credit card can be your best option.

Or just get lunch on the cheaper friendlier Cervinia side Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
scotspikey wrote:
Awesome report, with some amazing photos showing some great conditions. One more top up should see me and @Run28, and our gangs an amazing time.

http://www.skiforum.it/forum/showthread.php?t=86326


Thanks for posting this, I'm out to Cervinia on the 7th Jan and it looks pleasingly good Very Happy
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
They will, but you won't get a brilliant rate. If you like coffee, make sure you have one in Italy - it's mediocre and expensive in Switzerland!
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@5RED, @caughtanedge,

Thanks for the replies. I am hoping to avoid needing much in the way of Swiss francs.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
5RED wrote:
@chrisb, Since Zermatt is in Switzerland you will need to use Swiss Francs. Some mountain restaurants in Zermatt accept Euro notes, but will give you change in Swiss Francs.

Credit card can be your best option.

Or just get lunch on the cheaper friendlier Cervinia side Very Happy


I think everywhere in Zermatt takes euros. Even our supermarket in Täsch does - I only know that because my wife accidentally paid in Euros once. However I agree the exchange rate is often poor - same when people use Swiss Francs over on the Italian side. If you don't have the "right" currency it is often better to use a credit card. Credit cards are uusd for everything so it is never a problem in the way it can be for small items in the U.K.

I certainly agree food is much cheaper on the Italian side. I would even concede that, as per another post, the Italian coffee is better. I am not sure about the friendlier bit though. We are a nice bunch this side of the mountain - we just don't throw our arms around as much. Very Happy
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Hey guys flying into Zurich from the USA on 1/13 for a week of skiing and have narrowed it down to Zermatt (first choice) or St. Anton. Had booked then cancelled a hotel in Zermatt but I do need to make a decision in the next few days and book a hotel. I know both areas have snow high up and Zermatt has the glacier of course and Cervinia although the Arlberg Region has a bunch of great ski areas. All of us are mostly on-piste skiers intermediate/advanced. Looking at the upcoming weather forecasts in both areas would anyone recommend either area over the other at this point? Thanks.
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Zermatt gives you certainty gores95. We are off there again this year, also going to Wengen and Verbier on my retirement trip. It is only Zermatt that gives me pretty much no concern. Very Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@gores95, I'm in the middle of making a similar decision, choosing between St Anton and Zermatt. Currently I'm leaning towards Zermatt as at least they already have a decent base at altitude and the recent pics I've seen from Cervinia also look pretty good.
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@JohnMo, thanks for the advice. I might just have a small amount with me just in case (I can always use it up in GVA later in the season), but the good old Halifax Clarity card will come in useful as ever
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@chrisb,
I have a similar situation coming from the USA at the end of January. Chamonix/Verbier/Zermatt. I'm locked in for hotel at Verbier but considered St Anton over Zermatt for the last 4 nights. I have to decide today. I'll guess I'll stick with Zermatt given the altitude and proximity to Geneva.
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Well I went ahead and pulled the trigger for the Alpen Resort hotel starting on Jan 14. I am obviously hoping for some snow between now and then...never been to the Alps so would be nice to see the town white instead of brown! Smile
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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.
Gores95, Raven, hope we get the anticipated snow for you. We're not in Zermatt till Feb 4th. We are though in Wengen and Verbier prior, - Wengen in particular is dodgy at the moment.
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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
So as usual I choose Zermatt over St Anton and see now that St Anton could get crushed in the next week or so. Does anyone see anything similar for Zermatt? I am the kiss of death!! Embarassed
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@gores95, I'm in the same situation. The forecast maps favor Austria for this week but the 7-10 day forecast looks promising for Zermatt and Verbier.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
So of course I am watching Zermatt vs. Arlberg and now that area in Austria is looking at 50cm+ predictions while Zermatt is getting next to nothing? Does anyone have any intel about if the snow will (ever) reach Zermatt LOL? I of course booked my no cancellation hotel in Zermatt instead of St. Anton on 12/31. I wonder if I can call the hotel and ask very nicely to be allowed to cancel at this point? Anyone ever tried that?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Look at the webcams currently gores95, (do appreciate you will probably be asleep over there). Zermatt website says light snow, webcams showing otherwise. We will see what actually fell soon.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Yes the findeln webcam is to me a particularly good indication of new snow at mid resort levels. You must look at the time stamp though.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Looks like Zermatt got a dusting today and if you look on their website there is not much snow predicted through 1/12 which is different from USA ski resorts which almost always overplay snowfall amounts! I have seen on other sites that Zermatt might get 5-10cm out of all of this.

So today I emailed my hotel that I booked my "non-refundable" reservation on 12/31 and asked about me cancelling without penalty. I called first and begged and pleaded and they told me to email them directly which I did. If they let me cancel without penalty does it make sense to you guys to go and book in St. Anton instead? All reports is the Arlberg area will get crushed with snow starting today and last through next week. Any thoughts on this? Thanks.
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@gores95, such a lousy decision that has to be made, especially as its nuking all over the western USA. Every year I go to Europe to ski and it always feels like the same snow challenges. If you can get out for free, I would, it seems like ur close enough timing wise that probabilities of a decent trip are in your favor. I'll say my SA trip a few years ago was just OK snow wise (it was way too warm in February) and I thought the town was OK, but recall that I liked the town of Zermatt better. I understand the other things that can be done at these resorts, but I am mainly there to ski, so when conditions are meh, I just don't enjoy the trip as much.

Im supposed to be in Zermatt, mid-Feb, hoping it finally starts to snow hard again. Not worried yet, but watching closely. Maybe this forecast is right, or at least we can hope.

https://www.j2ski.com/snow_forecast/Switzerland/Zermatt_snow.html
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@gore95

I would echo @Redwine's comments. I had a situation last year where I was able to cancel a hotel booking in Switzerland last Christmas at no cost, but did take a hit on the airfare side as I ended up not going to Europe. But, I ended up skiing powder all week when I rebooked a last minute stateside ski holiday in Sun Valley. True, there's little to compare on the culture side between the two. (For me skiing powder trumped everything else, and no regrets. )But if you can rebook for Austria, that looks to be the better bet for near term snow coverage. This time of year in early January, there will be lodging available.
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The good news is we are flying into Zurich so this makes Zermatt or St. Anton area equally convenient...about the same length train ride either way. I am still awaiting a reply to my email. You guys have any feelings about Zermatt vs. St. Anton in terms of skiing, beauty and the Towns compared to each other? Myself and two daughters we are all I would say intermediate/advanced on-piste skiers. No cliff jumping lol. Thanks.
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Have not been to zermatt in decades, so I'll let others comment on its terrain. St anton and lech has something for everyone. Like it is massive. I hit it in a lousy year, so didn't see real arlberg off piste, but it's there and it's real. The arlberg board is super active and I got a lot of ideas from those experts. Personally loved lech, Steuben, zug and wished I had a few pow days.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I prefer the terrain of St Anton and Lech. Easy to navigate around as well. Even the ski bus connections are simple and frequent. The vibe in the Arlberg is also great and a bit more lively than Zermatt. The town of Zermatt is great. The on mountain food of Zermatt is amazing IMO. My favorite restaurant in all the world is Chez Vrony. Just absolutely love that place!

Although I don't think the off-piste is going to be much to partake of in either locale due to coverage, I really like the off-piste in Lech/Zuers/St Anton/Stuben. In Zermatt you have a lot of very exposed terrain/glaciers to deal with.

I think St Anton/Lech is great for intermediates. Lots of long cruisers. But Zermatt is pretty close on that account too.
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Zermatt probably more beautiful than St Anton. Skiing under the Matterhorn is stunning. St Anton has amazing off piste but the pistes and lift infrastructure are actually quite poor. Best pistes are in Zurs imo. I'm not sure about Zermatt's pistes as I've only skied it from Cervinia but I get the feeling its trading on its reputation a lot. A good example is this forum - there are lots of US skiers on here and they will all have heard of Zermatt, St Anton and Chamonix. But there are scores of other resorts in Europe! Its just these are the ones on peoples consciousness and people coming across the Atlantic will think they absolutely have to visit them in order to experience European skiing. The same way if I went Stateside I'd probably gravitate towards Jackson Hole, Whistler, Aspen. In reality these resorts are just the big hitters, they're expensive but they tend to lose a bit in charm as a result.

Back to your question - if your priorities are piste skiing then fresh snow is less significant, no? But if you can cancel Zermatt penalty free why don't you and keep your options open. You can always book it again? I appreciate you've family so would prefer certainty but you should be able to get accommodation in either resort at short notice, albeit you may have to stay a bit out of town and bus it in to the lifts. I always book my trip at the last minute now when I know where best conditions are, albeit I've young kids so when travelling with them I tend to have different priorities and ideal snow isn't one of them.

If you do change then please wait till three days or so before you arrive before booking your new accommodation as its only then that you'll know what the snow conditions will be like. If Zermatt is going to penalise you (and given its Switzerland, I'd be absolutely shocked if they don't) and the cost is too much then stick with it, there'll be enough snow to ski it and you'll enjoy yourselves.
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Heading back to UK in a couple of hours after a fortnight out here. Compared to most (in the Alps) I think we have been very lucky. The high pistes (i.e. most of them) remained in good shape for the most part (the town runs were awful) and Cervinia stayed in excellent condition. It was very busy last week and by the end of the week the pistes were iced out. But the pisteurs have done a great job of getting them into shape again. The small amount of snow gave a bit of variety yesterday but it was certainly not enough. There was a huge storm last night. I am not sure how much snow it put on the mountains (looks like some) but down here in Täsch its only impact was to scrape off the snow we had from yesterday!

We had our three children and their partners out for a large part of the time. They range from reasonable beginner to advanced. All of them thought it was great. It was a good reminder that the opinion of the once (or at most twice) a year skier can be a lot more positive than those of us who spend a reasonable amount of time in the mountains.

The saddest part was the fact that the valley sides were tinder dry. Therefore the New Year's fireworks had to be cancelled because of the fire risk. If the snow cover we got yesterday had just come a few days earlier it would have been enough to allow them to go ahead.

There is no decent off piste accessible from the piste area left and none of the itineraries are open. But if you can afford to hire a guide there is still plenty to go for.

@gores95, I have read your posts. Really hard call. I love the Arlberg. I am out in Lech with a group of friends in March (hopefully for my first ever experience of heliskiing!). Both places are absolutely fantastic and are excellent for what you describe. Zermatt is only really not suitable for beginners. Cervinia is but if you are staying in Zermatt the ski over can be a bit worrying for a nervous beginner. If you had been making the choice a fortnight ago it would have been a no-brainer to choose Zermatt/Cervinia. Equally at the moment the forecast in the reliable range is looking much better for the Arlberg. But by this time next week it could change. If you do end up in Zermatt you will have a great time. There is a huge area of pistes open and good conditions to be had up high and over in Cervinia. The nightlife in Zermatt is fantastic with restaurants from MacDonalds up to Michelin star, loads of really good bars/pubs and nightclubs. While I love Lech I have never found it that lively beyond the apres ski - maybe I just haven't looked hard enough.
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I'm going to Zermatt in early Feb. Unless you want off-piste, (and I understand you don't), then it will be fantastic. I have never been to St Anton, - I need to , and am sure will go but probably not till they ban smoking in bars and restaurants in Austria. (please let me know if they have!). That is still, as an asthmatic, my major issue with Austria. Austria Apres tends to be a lot of Europop. Zermatt especially the Papperla pub has always been rock and pop covers bands. Big generalisation I know, but my experience over 40 odd years skiing.
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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.
How much snow is needed for off piste and itineraries at this point? I am scheduled for mid-feb, so not overly worried yet, but beginning to be concerned. I certainly understand the cultural aspects of the alps, its what keeps bringing me back from the states. But I also know that I get disappointed when the snow is poor, and the other things to do at a resort don't make up for poor ski conditions. Not that snow issues are limited to the alps, plenty of times with meh snow in the US, but its a much bigger journey for us to get to the alps.
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@Redwine, $64 million question.

Based on the October and November snows I was hopeful the Klein Matterhorn itineraries would be open for Xmas. Nowhere near!

The big itinerary area is Stockhorn/Triftji. That is scheduled not to open before the last week of January. On current snow there is no chance of that happening. Last year it did not open until late February. But a couple of years before that (when we also had poor Xmas snow) it was great in January and it opened up on time.

By mid Feb you would be very unlucky not to have any itineraries open and there is always some off piste to find. But I would be very disappointed for you if Stockhorn/Triftji was not open. For those who like to venture away from groomed pistes it is our jewel in the crown.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
The next 10-14 days seems to offer hope of a couple of decent storms.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
The next 10-14 days seems to offer hope of a couple of decent storms.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Ptspeak wrote:
The next 10-14 days seems to offer hope of a couple of decent storms.


Let's hope so. Earlier today we were coming down the Visp valley on the train with a couple who work at a bar we frequent. At Xmas/New Year we are used to people coming to Zermatt from lower level resorts. But they were saying they had had people in the bar from Verbier - which is really unusual. They also said they noticed people being more aggressive in the bar this year - which they attributed to the lack of the chill out factor the snow in town provides.
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@Ptspeak, @JohnMo, fingers crossed! the best things never come easy.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks guys for all the replies on my Zermatt vs. St Anton questions. At this point still awaiting a response from my Zermatt hotel.
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@Redwine, true the US has snow issues but I've never in 35 years of skiing seen an 8-10 drought stateside. Perhaps 14-15 in Tahoe. If I could cancel and go out west to Jackson or SLC I would, but I can't and am going in Late February anyway. I was sure January would turn around but the latest forecast looks Grimm until very late in the month.
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@gores95,

Firstly both St Anton and Zermatt fantastic. in the short term it looks as though St Anton will have the better snow.

I respectfully suggest that you would get a more all around experience from the Arlberg. there is more variety in terms of areas to explore(NEW FLEXENBAHN AND AUENFELDJET) and in regards to après ski and night life. However if you prefer a more sedate experience(in terms of non piste activities) and very expensive but beautiful lunches on the mountain then Zermatt is your choice. The scenery in Zermatt is simply breath-taking.

But all things considered and especially the way the snow seems to be coming in the short term the Arlberg would be your best bet.

PS off piste skiing will be extremely dangerous anywhere now so I don't think that should be a consideration on any count.
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@mcg, It is of course all about opinions (which is a good thing otherwise we would all be in the same resort) but I find the idea that Zermatt is "sedate" on an evening really surprising. It has a large number and variety of pubs/bars/clubs catering for all tastes. I certainly fit into the "more mature" category of skier (all be it I like late night boozing) but I know a lot of youngsters who go there and have a wild time.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Redwine, that should have read 8-10 week drought.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
yes referring to zmatt as sedate ...thats not my experience - town goes to 3am every night. I'll be there sunday for 3 weeks all this teeth gnashing about snow in this early part of the year is a bit wasted on zermatt - the off piste there doesn't start till later anyway and while its likely to start a bit later than normal....frankly colorado and utah both were looking pretty meh 2 weeks ago. im in utah now and its good but im thrilled to be heading to zermatt again... for a first trip to europe almost anywhere will be a great experience but the previous poster is def. correct about the scenery and the excellent and sometimes pricey lunches.
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@JohnMo, @Brothergrimm, I didn't say Zermatt was sedate, just more sedate that St Anton. The reality is
that Zermatt does not have the après ski on the mountain that St Anton does (heustadl, mooserwirt, KK, taps, etc) or have the
raucous late night stuff in the village. All I am saying is that St Anton is more full on in that regard. I don't think anyone can argue with that. And yes there are places open until 3am in Zermatt also.
But as an alternative more sedate après (which I have enjoyed many times), there is nothing like Blatten, or the like, for some
beers and charcuterie that cannot be bettered.
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@mcg, Interesting. I have never overnighted in St Anton. When I go to the Arlberg we stay in Lech. I will be there early March. One thing for certain is that both Zermatt/Cervinia and the Arlberg are great areas.
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