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Domain: Matterhorn Ski Paradise
Date: 20 - 27 December 2008
Our holiday: We chose Zermatt as a substitution for our yearly ski-holiday to the St. Anton. Me, my two brothers and my dad wanted to try something else after having a wonderfull time in there a couple of years.
Website : www.zermatt.ch
Basics : We drove from Amsterdam (Holland) to Zermatt and back, which we will not do again. We didn't anticipate on a drive of 11 hour including transport with car-train through a mountain, parking in Tasch, take a taxi to Zermatt and then take another (electro)taxi to our hotel. As our drive to St. Anton took us an average of 7,5 hours usually, we shall fly next time. Note however that our return-journey was way quicker: we went up early, got the 2 taxi's en managed to catch the car-train by two minutes, blasted through Germany and were home in about 8,5 hours .
Lift system : The system is really not as bad as commented on the web, it's quite good in fact. The lifts are mainly new and there are usually a couple of ways to get to the main ski-area's (excluding the peaks). The Gornergrat-train adds a really classic and luxury feel to the area. The connection to Cervinia is horrendous however: we had to choose between two very, very long drag-lifts on the glacier (cold!) and waiting > 30 minutes for the gondola. Skiing in Cervinia wasn't too special either so I'd recommend you to stay in Zermatt.
The terrain : Zermatt had the best, most varied and extensive terrain I've ever seen. It's truly huge. The three/four main area's all are great to ski on, the pistes that connect them are not crowded and even better. Because of the high altitude of the mountains, pistes are very long. It's not for the fainted hearted though: the piste grading is inconsistent and the only really beginners-pistes are high up the mountains.
The snow : The snow was great. Due to the enormous amount of snow that fell in the Alps early and mid-December, the snowcover this time of year was allegedly the best in years.
Off-piste : Only tried a bit of next to the piste, so can't comment on that.
The resort : There was a James Bond-type of atmosphere in town. It's looks really charming and very, very upmarket. There were dozens of watch-stores, a lot of designer-clothingshops and the people seem to wear those luxury goods too. It was nice though, although we missed a bit of the Austrian skiing/apres feeling. Hennu Stall and Papperla-bar were nice, but couldn't match their opponents in St. Anton.
Food : I certainly didn't loose any weight this week. We had dinner in our hotel nearly every night (which was good, for a change) and the mountain restaurants were fantastic. I'd recommend Stafelalp (Schwarzee) which had really good food and service and Othmar's SkihĂĽtte (Sunnega) which specializes in Alaskan salmon and other fishdishes. Also went to the famous Chez Vrony and while the food was good, it's overpriced.
Accommodation : Stayed at a hotel next to the Matterhorn ski lift. Good service, fairly good rooms but not cheap.
Costs: Zermatt has to be extremely expensive by anyone's standard. While a beer is reasonably priced (about 4 CHF on average), hotel, skihire and the skipasses are very expensive. We spend at least 3000 euro per person in total.
Conclusion: Zermatt is a great place and I can highly recommend it. The skiing area is huge, the atmosphere is one of a kind and the food exceptionally good. If you can afford it GO!!!
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