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Zermatt (and Cervinia) 2018/19

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi folks. My friends have decided not to ski for a full week but will do 3 days. In this instance as 2 are absolute or near beginners. And 2 including myself have some experience ( solid beginner or advanced beginner level ), would it be better to split up into group lessons of varying levels or have a private instructor. Which school should I be going for in this instance. I know Zermatt isn’t great for beginners but they want to see the Matterhorn and do the glacier and Bernina expresses and some slight detours in Italy.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
A lot depends on your budget. If it will stretch, I would definitely suggest private lessons - from what you describe two groups with an instructor each. If you only have a limited amount of time on the slopes this will get maximum benefit/improvement in the time available. All the schools are pretty good, the old Swiss Ski School (now called Zermatters) used to have a reputation for a lot of old gnarly instructors and not many English speakers but that is a bit in the past now and they are as good as any others now I suspect. Summit was the first 'British' school in Zermatt and has a lot of native English speakers. Either of those would be fine I'm sure but here is the link to details of all the available schools (one or two are more directed at Russian clientele but that will be obvious when you look at their sites!)
https://www.zermatt.ch/en/ski-schools

It's true that because Zermatt is a village with skiing above it there is little or no ski in ski out for beginners. But assuming a moderate level of fitness the instructors are very good/used to carrying gear and helping beginners on the lifts and so on so it shouldn't be too stressful for your beginners hopefully.
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@gfmozart, I would agree with Scotsgirl's summary - and based on family experience within the last couple of years, I would probably tend to prefer Summit, who are more likely to come up with bright young instructors who could provide a combination of instruction and 'guiding', given that you've got a fairly limited time.
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@gfmozart, basically what the others said. I always feel a bit guilty saying use Summit because it feels like Brits sticking together. But they are a good school and the ease of language and understanding of limited ski background of most Brits is really useful. Someone like Zermatters really come into their own when going off piste or touring where their local knowledge and expertise is essential.

I don’t think Zermatt is too bad for absolute or near absolute beginners. The area down from Sunnegga to Findlen is where the early beginners start and that is excellent for that. Just up from Sunnegga is Blauherd and that is the top of some really nice blues that those who have mastered Findeln can enjoy (there is one steepish bit but there is a chicken run that allows you to avoid it). Then over on Gornegrat the blues down from Gifthittli to Riggelberg are also good beginner slopes. The problem comes for those who have mastered those, the leap up from those to the reds tends to really spook nervous skiers. There is not really an “easy red” sector.
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Hi there, can someone in resort (Zermatt, Cervinia or Valtournenche) kindly give an update on skiing conditions, snow levels and temps. Will be over there in a few days time Skullie.
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Cold! -16 at the top of Gornergrat, no new snow, and hard on the pistes. Stockhorn was good 2 days ago, but is very tracked now. The usual bits of side piste skiing are all a bit hard and lumpy.
So pistes are great if you're wanting to motor round the mountain, but really needs more snow for the itenerets.
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I would agree with @teapea. The cold really is biting. The good thing about that is that it is keeping the snow in superb condition. Pistes are hard packed but even where they are smooth there has been no thaw/freeze so you can get a grip.

I am more positive re the itineraries. I went down the Stockhorn ones today. Yes they are very chopped up but because the snow is so good I still find them an enjoyable challenge. Likewise they itinerary from Blauhers to Findeln has become a mogul field, which I like doing.
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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!
Today was really cold....on the first run at 845am snot started to feeze inside my nose... interesting!

Snow conditions:

First day of 3 today.

Gonnerrat absolutely perfect hard packed piste conditions, real pleasure to blast and get the edge dug in.

rote nase freeride area - still plenty of decent snow and powder turns to be had up there. Need to hunt it out, it's hard work and your rewarded with a handful of short gliding turns. Note: the chopped up stuff is soft so still rideable.

Sonegga - mostly good to excellent up top. Bit icy in parts get worse the lower you go. Some powder to be had in the trees, bit again you really need to hunt it out

The resort is empty!

Note: rumour has it the Italian side/connection was closed due to wind, I gather the same will apply tomorrow.
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Thanks for the update all. Fear not for I shall summon the Zermatt snow god by performing a silly dance whilst eating toblerone and pointing at an image of the Matterhorn. Fresh snow on it's way soon for sure.
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skidm wrote:
Thanks for the update all. Fear not for I shall summon the Zermatt snow god by performing a silly dance whilst eating toblerone and pointing at an image of the Matterhorn. Fresh snow on it's way soon for sure.


GFS is suggesting a welcom top up on Sunday. While beginning of Feb is still outside the reliable range it is certainly looking hopeful. Except for tomorrow temperatures are staying low.




LittleBullet wrote:
Note: rumour has it the Italian side/connection was closed due to wind, I gather the same will apply tomorrow.


Today they opened up the border but then the wind got up so there were signs on the boards asking those from Cervinia to go back over (there would have been similar notices on the Italian side). But the Klein Matterhorn lift was closed so those returning to Italy had to do so by the T bars. That would have been horribly cold.
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We (group of three) got that t-bar about 3pm. Bitterly cold is an understatement. It also continuously stop started several times and eventually the piste basher drivers and ski doo guys told us lift was stopping and we had to ski back to zermatt or cervinia. Luckily we were close to the route for cervinia where’re we are staying and avoided a €450 taxi fare or an over night stay in zermatt. Lesson learned is to not underestimate what would appear to be light enough winds. They play havoc with the lifts
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Roughly what wind speed causes lift closure?
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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
Based on today 35km/hr
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Was in cervinia one time and the lifts were closed due to wind 2 days out of four. we were all bemoaning it, then they opened up above valtourneche. Managed to get up before they closed it again after half an hour and the winds up there were absolutely unreal. Never seen the like of it. Stripping the piste of any snow dust such that you couldn't see your skis at times. Respected their decision after that.
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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 Swiss-Italian link is high and a windtrap.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Sneachta2013, they would always get you back over - provided you get to Trockener Steg at the time shown as “last lift back to Italy”. They would use the skidoos or the piste bashers to ferry people up to the border. It is a few years since they have had to do that and last time was over on the Italian side.

@skidm, there is no hard and fast rule - partly because it is the gusts that are the problem rather than the average speed. But as speeds get above 50 km/h there starts being a risk. Today the speed at the ridge which separates the two countries was 80 km/h. It is very unusual to have to ask people to go back. If they think winds might get up later in the day then they simple don’t open the link. The sudden increase in the wind today was not forecast. It just shows how forecasting Alpine weather is so tricky. I was skiing on Rothorn and Hohtälli today (i.e. the far north of the area - the border is the far south). On the top of Rothorn the flags were not moving at all. But you could look south and see how the winds were whipping up the snow over the ridges.
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John mo. We were all on the second of those very long drag lifts from the bottom of the trocken steg going towards the Theodulpass. The drag lift kept starting and stopping on numerous occasions once for up ten minutes with snow and wind battering everyone on the lift. Eventually guys on skidoos came along but offered no lifts. They merely gesticulated to us to ski down back towards the trocken steg. Luckily one in our group realized that we were very close to the start of the red slope (no 46) at theodulpass and were able to traverse across to it on foot while carrying skis and poles.....extremely unpleasant and exhausting. The skidoo guys gave no indication that they would have given us any assistance. In any case we eventually ‘thawed out’ and got back to our accommodation in cervinia in one piece. One puzzling thing from the whole experience though was the stopping and starting of the drag lift. Can anyone explain. Is there an auto stop/start feature on them linked to the wind speed as someone at our hotel said...?
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Hello! I'm going to be in Saas-Fee the week of 16.02. This is our 3rd year in a row visiting Saas-Fee and have yet to make it to Zermatt. This year I'm determined to make a day trip. I know the logistics are a bit of a nightmare. I was wondering if there's anyone on the ground in Zermatt (English speaking) that would be willing to show me around the mountain. I'm a decent, but not great skier. As a reference, I've done all the marked runs in Saas-Fee. My off-piste experience is limited. Happy to buy beers in appreciation.
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@goweje, hi, we are going to Saas for the first time this year, after doing the opposite to you, i.e. Zermatt only and only looking at Saas signs when the train goes through Stalden. We wont be there till the first week in March this year, however by logistics do you mean getting to Zermatt? If so it looks pretty easy to me, simply buy a rail ticket, get the bus from Saas to Stalden bahnhof, then the train up the hill into Zermatt. You only have to walk over the road to get the train up to Gornergrat, ski that area for an hour or so, then make your way over to Sunnegga, and Findeln for lunch, (Findlerhof recommended). Ski down to the village, come out of the Sunnegga statiom, a short walk up the hill to the Bahnhof and back to Saas. Piste map is pretty reasonable. You should have a great time. Appreciate you posting, if you find any wrinkles in the travel as it would help us! Sure you will have a great time snowHead
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and another thing, more on thread, the snow potential is looking extremely good over the next week. Piste conditions will be excellent @goweje,
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@twoodwar, how good? Zermatt always seems to be in the middle of a snow doughnut. Enough for fresh tracks off piste?
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Snow forecast (I know. I know) showing over 1M from Tuesday pm to Sat. That is quite close, though, and its significantly more than has been forecast recently. the itineries are already open, therefore a decent base, and if this comes to pass it should be decent for all offpisters. Very little wind (10-16kph) forecast also so it should be a decent even cover. Lets see.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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must punctuate beeter Puzzled
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and check spelling
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Conversely the zermatt website forecast gives snow only on Friday and only one snowflake on the graphic. Wepowder 29cm. Bergfex 50cm. Who knows Confused
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SF for Zermatt is forecast porn so I'll keep on salivating over that until clear evidence to the contrary snowHead
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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.
Zermatt site never forecasts snow, until its snowing! I prefer the ridiculous optimism of snowforecast Toofy Grin
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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 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
The BBC has forecast no rain for Liverpool, in the next hour, when its raining and continued to. Forecasting is a bit like Economics, both a science and art.
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You know it makes sense.
To be honest @hd, the Zermatt site is now showing more snow at various levels than it has for a while, this is positive. I only have 5 weeks till i'm there therefore have been checking the forecasts for the past 2 months Embarassed
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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I got my last skiing in on Saturday as the non-skiing Mrs arrived on Saturday night and so we have been crampon and snowshoe walking these last couple of days. The low temperatures have continued to keep the snow in good condition- the north facing Stockhorn itineraries were just fantastic (if rather chopped up unless you headed away from the marked route and onto off piste proper). The more south facing Rothorn itineraries were a bit more scratchy. Bit of a niche interest maybe but the snow on the snow shoe walks is great. There was a nice little fall of snow last night. At Furi (lowest ski area before home runs) it seemed to be about 4 inches on the fence posts so would be more on the higher slopes.

There looks like a similar top up coming on Wednesday. Looking at the GFS ensembles from Friday there is an amazing amount of disagreement between different runs. However you’d be disappointed if the weekend didn’t deliver significant fresh snow.

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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Despite the sunshine today the wind at the top was quite strong and we couldn't get over to Cervinia. Going try again tomorrow. Spent the day around the schwarzsee(sp soz) and Furi area. Was good on piste although there were a few icy patches here and there. Gave the ski routes a miss until later in the week.
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Any schools to recommend or places for rentals in zermatt?
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JohnMo wrote:
However you’d be disappointed if the weekend didn’t deliver significant fresh snow.

The disparity continues. SF 1m+, pretty much every other forecast now 20cm at best Confused
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Have to say that the disparity between snow forecast,(automated, therefore without bias, however also without human thought), versus touris office, ( presumeably some local knowledge and thought), has never been greater in the short term. 60 cm on snow forecast to and including the 1st, 2cm on the website. Lets see who is closest!
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hd wrote:
JohnMo wrote:
However you’d be disappointed if the weekend didn’t deliver significant fresh snow.

The disparity continues. SF 1m+, pretty much every other forecast now 20cm at best Confused


I don’t think it is a disparity. It is simply that “forecasts” take one run and runs themselves mainly come from ECM or GFS. I follow GFS simply because it is on my home page. Look at these runs for the weekend. They are still all over the place (but all looking encouraging). Any forecast will be picking up one of those runs (or one of the ECM runs) so it is not surprising they show huge varieties.

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We all know what we are hoping for at least
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twoodwar wrote:
2cm on the website

Now 7cm! Woohoo!
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hd, -Less chance of last years avalanches at least. Everyone will be able to get there on time.
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5-15cm tomorrow according to this evening's avalanche bulletin
Quote:
Weather forecast until Friday, 01.02.2019
Südföhnlage: During the night, precipitation sets in in the west and south, intensifying during the day. The snowfall limit rises at night in the west temporarily to 1200 m and drops during the day back to low altitudes. In the south, it snows continuously down to low altitudes. In the northeast it remains mostly dry, but whitening is rather rare.
snow
The following quantities of snow fall above about 1200 m until Friday afternoon:
westernmost Lower Valais, main Alpine ridge from the Gotthard area to the Ofenpass and south of it, western Jura: 15 to 35 cm
Friborg and Vaud Alps, remaining Valais, Mittelbünden, other Engadine, eastern Jura: 5 to 15 cm
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Great first day. Must have been about 10cm overnight. Loads of untracked stuff under the Rothorn cable car. A fair few sharks, and my new board has suffered a few consequences Sad but plenty of fantastic turns. Clouded over again late afternoon so hopefully some more overnight snow.
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