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Zermatt and Cervinia 2021-2022

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I am not sure if early August counts as late last season or early next season. But as last season didn’t exist for most Brits (and plenty of other non-Swiss nationals) let’s count it as next season. Today I “renewed” my annual lift pass (not strictly renewed as old one expired last December) so I am showing confidence that there will be a season 2021-22.



I finally managed to make it back to Zermatt (actually Täsch) and today made it up to the glacier. It was really busy – the usual mix of racers training and recreational skiers but the numbers seemed greater. The conditions were fantastic. The pistes were hard pack but in great conditions. There was blue sky and sun but the temperatures up top stayed cool and the snow hardly deteriorated at all right up to last lift at 1.



The Täsch – Zermatt shuttle also seemed very busy but, oddly, the town seemed fairly normal for this time of year – at least in terms of numbers. Up top most of the language was German, French and Italian. In town there was also little English to be heard. Most noticeable there were none of the Far East tour groups that in a normal year would make a big proportion of visitors.



It will be interesting to see how this all feeds into the ski season and whether, like last year, most visitors are Swiss or German. I would hope the Brits would return in near normal numbers but who knows. It is going to be interesting to see how they handle larger crowds. Mask wearing (in enclosed areas) seems to be closer to universal here compared to the UK. Whether that will work as well with everyone in ski clobber and getting in and out of gondolas and bubbles going up and down on chair lifts remains to be seen.



There are no new lifts or pistes this year. Of course for most of us non-Swiss this will be the first time we get to use the fancy new gondola on the north side of Rothorn. The work continues apace on the “Alpine Express” connecting Testa Grigia with Klein Matterhorn but completion is still more than a year away.

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Fantastic update John, thank you. Great to see a current picture also.

I do worry for the fairly UK reliant businesses like Summit, then again they tend to have a fantastic mixed client base anyway. How did it feel getting on the lifts up to the top? Where they particularly busy - did people wear masks properly?
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We are booked for a short break in late November, Can't wait as I miss the whole skiing thing so much.
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Run28 wrote:
Fantastic update John, thank you. Great to see a current picture also.

I do worry for the fairly UK reliant businesses like Summit, then again they tend to have a fantastic mixed client base anyway. How did it feel getting on the lifts up to the top? Where they particularly busy - did people wear masks properly?


I do wonder how Summit survived with near zero Brits last season. But they have been recruiting for the upcoming season so I hope all is well. We are planning on bringing our granddaughter out next February. She will be 2 by then. Our intention is to get her skiing with Summit. She will never be a Swiss child but we can try our best.



The lifts up to the top were summer busy, which is nothing like winter busy. Mask wearing was close to 100% - and they were wearing them correctly – i.e. nose and mouth covered. I spend a lot of my time in London and at football matches so that seemed unusual.



Notwithstanding that I said the general lifts were only summer busy, the glacier T bar lifts were really busy. Hopefully this photo gives you an idea. This was a week day, not a week end. I guess the built up demand, the cool temperatures (changing now) and the blue sky and sun attracted the Swiss in huge numbers. The main car park in Täsch (at the train station) was full and they were directing people to car parks back down the valley. That really is unusual.

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biddpyat wrote:
We are booked for a short break in late November, Can't wait as I miss the whole skiing thing so much.


I hope things work out for you. The Cervinia lift company (which last season had a season of about 3 days until late Spring) are remaining hopeful. See screenshot from their Facebook page.

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I sincerely hope all goes well. For ourselves quite obviously and everyone else.
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@JohnMo, walking around Zermatt, can you see any casualties of COVID in terms of restaurants, bars etc?

It sounds like the town remained fairly busy throughout the season with Swiss clientele but some hotels and restaurants didn’t open at all.
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Run28 wrote:
@JohnMo, walking around Zermatt, can you see any casualties of COVID in terms of restaurants, bars etc?

It sounds like the town remained fairly busy throughout the season with Swiss clientele but some hotels and restaurants didn’t open at all.


I didn’t really see outside the central areas. But in there everything seemed good. A couple of places have changed but that happens every year. There was the usual summer construction going on. Thankfully conversions or brownfield sites and not encroaching further up the hillside or up the valley. They have also built some impressive looking earth defences on the path between Täsch and Zermatt, which should mean even fewer problems for the shuttle into Zermatt. Parochial but exciting they are building a new hotel on the main road into Täsch very near to us and it is going to have an Italian restaurant (plot spoiler - it will be Portuguese - everything in Täsch is Portuguese).
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Said defensive earthworks above Täsch to Zermatt trainline:

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What is the best airport to fly into to get to Zermatt?
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FrediKanoute wrote:
What is the best airport to fly into to get to Zermatt?


Geneva is the easiest if you are driving (i.e. hire car from airport). If you are going to get the train (which is what most do) there is little difference between Geneva and Zürich. The Zürich trains are nicer/more modern but some of the journeys involve two connections whereas from Geneva it is always only one. The timings are not that different. We almost always do Geneva as it tends to be cheaper.

Milan is not that much different by car but is pretty tricky in the winter (need to make sure they give you winter tyres - Swiss always do - and the Simplon Pass can be tricky - often need to use the land train). It is not a great option for public transport (there is a bus to the train at the Simplon Pass train station but it can be easier just to go into Milan).

If you find you can get cheap Basel tickets even that is not really much different to Geneva/Zürich - but I think I might have only done that once.
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@FrediKanoute, view across lake Geneva from Geneva is very special though, even in a land of special views
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@johnmo thanks for sharing. fingers crossed for next season and hopefully the prices haven't drastically increased to make-up for the lost revenue since early '20. maybe the domestic tourism has minimised any losses. feel free to share any other photos !
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Kj82 wrote:
@johnmo thanks for sharing. fingers crossed for next season and hopefully the prices haven't drastically increased to make-up for the lost revenue since early '20. maybe the domestic tourism has minimised any losses. feel free to share any other photos !


That reminds me I meant to post this.

One of the interesting features of going up top during the summer is that it makes you respect the crevasses in the glaciers. This photos shows the Furggsattel lift. To the right (as you look) are the peaks of Furgghorn and Furggen. In between is a glacier. It is a popular off piste route. You get off the Furggsattel lift and walk up to the Furgghorn and then ski down the glacier to Furgg (way down to the right from where this photo was taken - Trockener Steg). Wonderful route and very low avalanche risk (don’t think I’ve ever seen one - even in the snowmegadon a couple of years back).

Right from early October those crevasses will get covered by snow bridges - fragile and dangerous at first - firmer and skiable later. However those who come early season just don’t always appreciate the dangers. I love doing it but I have always done it with a guide.

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twoodwar wrote:
@FrediKanoute, view across lake Geneva from Geneva is very special though, even in a land of special views


Agreed. We have done both Geneva and Zurich multiple times and Geneva wins it for me every time. There is something comforting about stopping into Nicolas for a bottle of wine to sip on the train, some high margin baguettes at Le Snack and then rushing down to get the train. True the trains are older but they have always been less packed than the Zurich trains for us.....also the views over Lake Geneva are quite something and then rounding the corner at Montreux and diving down the valley towards Martigny is special...Zermatt is only an hour or so away!
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Lovely day skiing up on the glacier today. Temperatures low (we do feel like we are in the foothills of Autumn) but blue skies with bright sunshine and we’d even had a pleasant dusting of fresh snow overnight.

In the interest of SnowHeads I skied over to the border at Testa Grigia to take a couple of photos.

The first one is the construction work on the lower lift station that in just over 12 months from now will be whisking people up from Testa Grigia (highest point in the Italian system) to Klein Matterhorn (highest point in the Swiss system).

The second one is the Italian glacier at the top of what will in a few weeks time be the Ventina piste. You can see that the piste bashers have already been at work getting the top bit ready. They were actually working at the very top bit as I skied over.



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@JohnMo, be interested to know exactly how they get all the hardware up there!
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twoodwar wrote:
@JohnMo, be interested to know exactly how they get all the hardware up there!


Same as the Trockener Steg to Klein Matterhorn lift a couple of years ago. Despite both new lifts being part of the Swiss system the valley on the Italian side is easier to get large construction stuff up. So they rig up construction lifts all the way to the top and use them to cart it up from Cervinia. Some operation.
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Amazing really. Pay pack calculations must be interesting
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Just on the train back to Geneva airport. One thing that excited me on the way out but I had forgot about until this return journey: the modernisation of the Valais railway line has now been completed. So they are running the double decker trains from Visp to Geneva airport - instead of those ancient trains that seemed like refugees from the 50s

OK. “Excited” might be overdoing it. But it is an improvement.
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JohnMo wrote:
Just on the train back to Geneva airport. One thing that excited me on the way out but I had forgot about until this return journey: the modernisation of the Valais railway line has now been completed. So they are running the double decker trains from Visp to Geneva airport - instead of those ancient trains that seemed like refugees from the 50s

OK. “Excited” might be overdoing it. But it is an improvement.


All we now need is a bridge or a travelator at Visp to avoid the mad dash down and up the stairs with 3 sets of skis, a snowboard and 2 suitcases ...
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@franga, too true. Nearly killed a few people with a runaway case on the black slope


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Sun 5-09-21 22:28; edited 1 time in total
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Off to Cervinia mid December after my April 2020 trip got cancelled.
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Quote:

Amazing really. Pay pack calculations must be interesting

Yes I think the skiing is almost incidental. This project is apparently aimed at the summer south East Asian market.
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Speaking to a hotelier in Zermatt last year he said they envisage great demand from Chinese tourists to do day trips from Milan to Klein Matterhorn and maybe even down to Zermatt, without "wasting" a day travelling to Zermatt and spending a night.
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franga wrote:
JohnMo wrote:
Just on the train back to Geneva airport. One thing that excited me on the way out but I had forgot about until this return journey: the modernisation of the Valais railway line has now been completed. So they are running the double decker trains from Visp to Geneva airport - instead of those ancient trains that seemed like refugees from the 50s

OK. “Excited” might be overdoing it. But it is an improvement.


All we now need is a bridge or a travelator at Visp to avoid the mad dash down and up the stairs with 3 sets of skis, a snowboard and 2 suitcases ...


The below is a poster at Visp train station. In English it says: “white, red, white mountain trail walking? Only if you are fit. Mountain hiking is not strolling”.

Maybe they need a similar warning advert for people trying to make their connection at Visp from the main line to the Zermatt line with a load of ski gear.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.

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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
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I think I'll spend next Monday in front of the Trockener Steg and Plan Maison webcams!:

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I know it’s going to vary from year to year but can anyone that has been to Zermatt in mid to late October give me an indication of what has usually been open lift wise? Can you get down to the restaurant at Trockener Steg?
I’ve only ever been in winter.
Thanks
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VolklAttivaS5 wrote:
I know it’s going to vary from year to year but can anyone that has been to Zermatt in mid to late October give me an indication of what has usually been open lift wise? Can you get down to the restaurant at Trockener Steg?
I’ve only ever been in winter.
Thanks


As you say, it is impossible to predict. The maximum amount of lifts and pistes that will be open will be:

1. The summer T bar lifts up on the glacier coming down from Klein Matterhorn;
2. If there is enough snow the summer pistes will be augmented by the pistes running down to Trockener Steg;
3. If there is enough snow the chair lift running from Trockener Steg to Furggsattel (and the pistes running back down from there);
4. The lifts up from Cervinia to access the Swiss areas above will be open;
5. If there is enough snow the Cervinia lift company will open the piste running down from Testa Grigia (the top lift from where one accesses the Swiss system) down to the next lift station at Laghi Cime Bianche.

However, this all depends on snow. There is almost no chance of there being enough snow at the beginning of October and there is almost certain to be enough snow by the end of October. Usually the Swiss lift company sets an “earliest opening of the Autumn area” (i.e. stuff described above) of mid-October and most years they make it (or at least shortly after). But it would not be a shock if it was right near the end before it got opened. This year the Swiss lift company has set an optimistic earliest date of 2 October. They almost certainly won’t make it but, after last year’s relatively weak financial position I think they simply want to open it is as soon as they possibly can – similarly they are keeping the Sunnegga funicular running an extra week until 17 October (and the Findeln restaurants are staying open) to get as many late summer walkers as possible. The Italian lift company close their summer ski season at the end of this week and have a more realistic date of 16 October for reopening them for the Autumn ski season.

I am (hopefully) going to be back out in the week beginning of 2 October. It is mainly for walking and perhaps cycling. However I will be keeping the snow dancing going in the long shot hope of that Furggsattel lift being able to open.
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@JohnMo, thanks that was a brilliant reply with everything I wanted to know, thanks very much
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I am in the process of booking Cervinia for Christmas. Currently hotel options include Compagnoni , Meynet and Astoria. Wonder if anyone knows these and can recommend which one is better for a family with kids. All seem well located but which one is better for the ski school meeting point for example? Also should l look at any others instead?
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I am in the process of booking Cervinia for Christmas. Currently hotel options include Compagnoni , Meynet and Astoria. Wonder if anyone knows these and can recommend which one is better for a family with kids. All seem well located but which one is better for the ski school meeting point for example? Also should l look at any others instead?
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VolklAttivaS5 wrote:
I know it’s going to vary from year to year but can anyone that has been to Zermatt in mid to late October give me an indication of what has usually been open lift wise? Can you get down to the restaurant at Trockener Steg?
I’ve only ever been in winter.
Thanks


Looks like Zermatt are doing their utmost to make the run to Trockener viable from the get go - looks like they've deployed their farmed snow already (there looks like a temp drop coming Saturday):


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Wildsmith wrote:

Looks like Zermatt are doing their utmost to make the run to Trockener viable from the get go - looks like they've deployed their farmed snow already (there looks like a temp drop coming Saturday)


That really is going for it. While it is snowing up at Klein Matterhorn there has been no snow at Trockener Steg yet. You can see that the glacier in the webcam screenshot is still bare ice and doesn’t have a covering of snow. There has been a couple of bands of precipitation come through. But they need to come at night to fall as snow at this time of year. Plus they have been coming from the south west so are relatively warm to start with. However temperatures don’t seem to be getting higher than mid single figures Celsius. So there should be very little melt of that farmed snow that they are laying on the track from end of glacier to the Trockener Steg lift station.
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On the Noza thread, Polo showing forecasting systems agreeing a very cold late Sept
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Whoo-hoo. It is a start.
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