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Zermatt and Cervinia 2019-20

 Poster: A snowHead
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The road up the River Visp valley from Visp in the Rhône valley leads up to Stalden. There it splits. Left it goes to the town and ski resort of Saas Fee; right it comes up to Zermatt. Last Thursday the road from Stalden to Saas Fee was closed because of the snow. They got it open again but now it is again closed “until further notice”.
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From tomorrow Cervinia opening up more slopes down to town from Plan Maison and also opening up the link from Laghi Cime Bianche (the Ventina - number 7) down to town. So you will be able to ski from Klein Matterhorn at 3800 metres down to Breuil-Cervinia at 2000m. One of the most lung busting runs around.
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Great stuff, and it seems there is a lot more snow promised in the next week.
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Looks like the stuff coming tonight from the south is not going to make it over the ridge. Cervinia might get a decent bit still. They really have done well. From a selfish point of view that is fine by me as in mid winter I like going over to Cervinia. Much more sunshine.

The weekend is still looking hopeful.
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JohnMo wrote:
Looks like the stuff coming tonight from the south is not going to make it over the ridge. Cervinia might get a decent bit still. They really have done well. From a selfish point of view that is fine by me as in mid winter I like going over to Cervinia. Much more sunshine.

The weekend is still looking hopeful.


JohnMo, what do you describe as mid-winter (out of curiosity)?

Cheers
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Kj82 wrote:
JohnMo wrote:
Looks like the stuff coming tonight from the south is not going to make it over the ridge. Cervinia might get a decent bit still. They really have done well. From a selfish point of view that is fine by me as in mid winter I like going over to Cervinia. Much more sunshine.

The weekend is still looking hopeful.


JohnMo, what do you describe as mid-winter (out of curiosity)?

Cheers


I meant the weeks either side of the shortest day on December 22. Zermatt is mainly north facing (the easier slopes around Sunnegga and Gornergrat being the exceptions). Cervinia is mainly south (strictly south west) facing. So when the days are short but the sun is shining it can be a lot more pleasant over in Cervinia. It can really chill the bones around New Year spending a day in glorious sunshine in Cervinia and then at about 3 o’clock crossing the border back into shade.
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Level 4 snow hazard just issued by Meteo Swiss for Zermatt for tomorrow morning and the weekend. It doesn’t look that dramatic on GFS but I think that is because the snowfall is lasting a long time rather than being short and sharp. Strong winds as well. So a weekend to keep the skis in the locker. Once again the storm is coming from the south so if Zermatt is getting over a metre then Cervinia will really be getting dumped on.

The temperatures are rising a bit - going from moderately below average at present to moderately above at the weekend. But the snowline is staying below village level so all good stuff up on the slopes.

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We're out from Saturday for a couple of days, so crossing fingers for it not to go [i]too[i/] large. The 12z main GFS run looks to me like it's got a massive precipitation spike on Sat night/Sun morning (unsupported by any other members), so maybe Meteo Swiss are just covering themselves in case the main run is onto something and the others have missed it.

But it definitely looks like it's calming down from Sunday morning. Worst case we'll hole-up in a cafe somewhere on Saturday snowHead
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@ChrisWo, Best of luck.

Are you in Zermatt or Cervinia? Looking at the forecast winds I suspect the link might not be open all weekend.

Zermatt is going to be more sheltered from the southerly winds lower down. But because they don’t open much in November that really only means Trockener Steg down to Furgg.

Cervinia is going to get the full brunt of the winds which look strong all the way down to town.

Interestingly the best place to be might be Valtournenche, where the snow has also been amazing. It opens this weekend and is even opening the run down into the lowest lift station (very unusual for opening weekend). It faces more west than Cervinia and has a huge southerly rock wall sheltering it. One problem is that the link from Cervinia into Valtournenche might also be closed because of the high winds.
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Quote:

Are you in Zermatt or Cervinia?

Valtournenche Cool
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ChrisWo wrote:
Quote:

Are you in Zermatt or Cervinia?

Valtournenche Cool


snowHead snowHead snowHead great choice. I really love Valtournenche. Massively underrated in my opinion. Just stay there. Enjoy the fantastic pistes down from the top - plus the side piste will be fantastic if you like that. Enjoy the great food and I insist you have at least one glass of the local red. And certainly enjoy that lovely run through the trees from Salette down to Valtournenche.
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Thanks for the tips! We've stayed there once before in early season, but I don't think the run down was open. But I remember it being a very pretty little village once you got off the main road. And I generally love the skiing (and eating) in the area, so all good.

If you have any recommendations of places to eat in the evening then I'm all ears - I can only remember a pizzeria on the main road from last time, which was good, but I'm happy to branch out.
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@ChrisWo, I am afraid I am a quasi-resident of Täsch so as far north from Valtournenche in that area as it is possible to be. As you probably know the lift station in Valtournenche is north of the village so even when you ski down there you do not see the village.

My favourite places to eat during the day are the restaurant to the skiers left just before Salette and basically anywhere heading down from Salette to the Valtournenche lift station. Given the winds I would go for the latter.
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If the snow remains abundant, Is there a chance they would open the Stockhorn area early this season? Say mid January?
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If the snow remains abundant, Is there a chance they would open the Stockhorn area early this season? Say mid January?
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Ptspeak wrote:
If the snow remains abundant, Is there a chance they would open the Stockhorn area early this season? Say mid January?


That would certainly be the sensible thing to do! Just can’t see them doing it. Even in the mega snow season a couple of years ago they did not do so. So annoying. Timetable says 26 January so 26 January it will be. If you have touring skis you could skin up from Grünsee from piste 26 just up from Gant (actually the restaurant is now called Ze Seewjinu but everyone still calls it Grünsee because that is the lake next to it). Beware however some skiers were caught in an avalanche early last season on another not yet opened itinerary near there). An unopened itinerary is a good place to go for off piste but all the normal caveats re avalanche risk still apply.
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My wife and I are going to Valtournenche from 15 to 21 December. I have not decided yet if I should rent a car. What do you think?
Would I be too restricted (or tired) having to take the bus/transfer to Cime Bianche or Cervinia every day for skiing? I could also use the car to go for restaurants, shops and maybe even take one day in another Val D'Aosta town. Cons are that I am not really used to driving in snowy roads neither know if I should (and how to) use snowchains. Is it easy to park in Cervinia?
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@JohnMo, that’s what I thought. I’m coming from the USA on two separate weeks, mid January and early March. My plan is to go to Verbier in January and zermatt in March. In light of the differences in early snow, i considered receding that, but will probably not. It’s a long way off and I’m flexible. Thanks for the input.
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@gustavofgt, Parking should be fine at Cervinia in December. Not sure about chains, as I've never used them before either....
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gustavofgt wrote:
My wife and I are going to Valtournenche from 15 to 21 December. I have not decided yet if I should rent a car. What do you think?
Would I be too restricted (or tired) having to take the bus/transfer to Cime Bianche or Cervinia every day for skiing? I could also use the car to go for restaurants, shops and maybe even take one day in another Val D'Aosta town. Cons are that I am not really used to driving in snowy roads neither know if I should (and how to) use snowchains. Is it easy to park in Cervinia?


Parking should be fine in Cervinia, but you can just as easily start your day from the gondola in Valtournenche and just ski over to Cervinia. When you factor in the drive up to Cervinia and the slightly longer walk from the car park it’s not that much faster than beginning the day from Valtournenche if that’s where you’re already staying. Access to the gondola is very convenient from the car park, which is only a one minute drive from the center of the village.

Hard to say whether a car is required. Are you staying at a hotel? I would expect that they’d be able to shuttle you to the gondola given how close it is. Otherwise town bus is certainly an option though I’m not sure the frequency in the morning. In general we’ve always had a car, because it’s cheaper to just do that than other transport from the airport.
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Winds closing higher lifts on both sides today. On Swiss side nothing is open above Trockener Steg. Not nice for those there this weekend but the storm is giving us a lot of snow. The Föhn is making that rain down in the village.

Interestingly they have opened up Schwarzsee today. Nice to see but not many people braving the conditions to “enjoy” it.
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@gustavofgt, I am certainly not an expert on Valtournenche given that I am based on the Swiss side. My experience of it is limited to frequent skis down to it and only once have driven through it after an off piste trip. So my comments are based on what I have picked up about the place over the years.

Where are you flying into? Turin is closest but Milan is not much further. I understand there are coach transfers from both but there seems a lot of dissatisfaction with getting the info. You can get a private transfer of course but that is expensive. By far the easiest way to do it is by car. If you rent a car make sure you specify winter tyres. I understand Italian cat hire does not automatically give you winter tyres (for understandable reasons). The road up to Valtournenche and Cervinia is a really good road. The chances of needing to use chains (provided you have winter tyres) is very low. However if you do not know it I would only do it in the light. Mountain roads in the dark when you don’t know the roads are scary.

Having a car also helps when you are there. The base lift is 1km north of most of Valtournenche and there is a big car park at the base lift. If you want to go to Cervinia the shuttle bus runs at intervals of either an hour or 90 minutes depending on time of day. Yes you can go over by ski lift but it is four lifts: a fast gondola; a really slow chair lift; a fast chair lift; and finally a long button lift on an exposed ridge. That is quite a lot of lifts before you even start skiing. There is plenty of parking in town because all the Italians drive there.
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What’s the experts thoughts on the current dump? Looks like it’s mainly rain in Valtournenche and Zermatt, is this going to wipe out some of the last couple of weeks snow at low levels?

I’m off to Cervinia for a second time for new year and hoping to do much more of Zermat (My lad was in ski school last time which restricted me somewhat but he’s done two more weeks with school since) and the Valtournenche valley run which was closed last visit.
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I am new to this forum and wish to thank everyone for the helpful information. Especially, the link to the current open slopes. Having never been to Zermatt, but with reservations that cannot be changed, for Dec 15-18, should I expect there to be sufficient snow for me to enjoy some skiing at that time? I have yet to find a good ski forecast website.

Thanks!
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Raptor23 wrote:
What’s the experts thoughts on the current dump? Looks like it’s mainly rain in Valtournenche and Zermatt, is this going to wipe out some of the last couple of weeks snow at low levels?

I’m off to Cervinia for a second time for new year and hoping to do much more of Zermat (My lad was in ski school last time which restricted me somewhat but he’s done two more weeks with school since) and the Valtournenche valley run which was closed last visit.


It shouldn’t be too damaging. It has been snow above the lowest level of most of the runs (Furi in Zermatt, Plan Maison in Cervinia and Salette in Valtournenche). The one place I would have some concern about is the run from Salette down to Valtournenche. That usually wouldn’t be open at this time of year. It was ambitious to open it today but you can understand it given the amount of snow there has been on the Italian side in particular. However the Föhn and the rain will have tested it. It is snowing overnight and they have snowmaking all the way down so fingers crossed.
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@drmattwill, welcome to the forum. There are plenty of good forecasting websites, but none will predict snowfall in or over the next month. You might get an inkling of general trend a week or ten days out but really there's no accuracy until about 3 or 4 days out.

Zermatt offers skiing 365 days a year so you've a better chance for your dates than most places. You will definitely be able to do some skiing and most likely a lot of skiing, but doubtless someone here will be able to give you a general account of what it tends to be like at that time of year. I know cervinia has had a lot of snow in last while and has been skiing down to the town at 2000m as I understand it.
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@Raptor23, @drmattwill, you selected well. This storm is putting down a serious base. No doubt temperatures will drop, powder will follow and the sun will come out for your trips!
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BobinCH -

Here Here! I've not ever seen the findeln cam look like this in November....I suspect Zermatt will have a spectacular December.
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@JohnMo @8611 @RobinCH @Brothergrimm This is excellent feedback. Your comments indicate I need to do some homework. Finfeln, Furi, Plan Maison, all seem like places I need to become familiar with. A goal of mine is to ski into Italy (Cervinia). May I assume such a plan is reasonable? This may sound silly, but need I carry a passport? I always have a copy on me.
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Not only is it reasonable but it has to be done for good value delicious food and coffee and a few superb long gentle runs down. In theory you should bring your passport but I think you'd be fine without it, unless you got hurt, had to go to hospital and then home from the Italian side.
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Looking at the webcams this morning it is snowing extensively with more to come during the next week by the looks of it! Conditions should be great for early season skiers.
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Jaolchhu4 wrote:
Looking at the webcams this morning it is snowing extensively with more to come during the next week by the looks of it! Conditions should be great for early season skiers.


It is looking goood this morning. That said it’s always nice to see the town with a thick blanket of snow and that’s been wiped out. It looks like we will get two more days of minder weather at 1620m and then it starts up cool of as we move into next week.
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Never needed or indeed taken my passport to ski into Italy over the last 15 years visiting Zermatt.
Snow down to Findeln is indeed as deep as I remember it at this time of the year@drmattwill, you will be able to enjoy excellent skiing. Unless the short term forecast the day before you leave is adverse, ensure you buy the International pass, so as to enable the trip over. The bad news is that you will be spoiled for all other Ski resorts after visiting Zermatt. It is not cheap, but it is excellent.
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If you like a good lunch, (I do, but many dont), this is without question the best resort in the world according to many guides. It certainly is the best I have been to. Findeln is worth knowing for a lot of the best of them. Findlerhof, and Chez Vroney, would be right up there. It is difficult to get a bad place though. We make lunch our main meal of the day, and go (relatively) cheap and cheerful at night in town.
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We drove up to Cervinia today, because the link between Valtournenche and Cervinia was still shut (same for link to Zermatt). It was light rain as we left Valtournenche, but that turned to show a few hundred metres up, as it was snowing a bit in Cervinia.

Lots of snow overnight. Cars left overnight in the telecabine car park needed digging out. Resort reporting 60cm up top, and I could certainly believe that. The pistes were in good condition, and the off piste was a shade heavy but pretty good...maybe a bit too much snow unless you had a lot of gradient.

The problem today was visibility. Complete cloud cover for most of the day, and pretty flat light. Though in fairness you could at least see quite far (not like skiing in the cloud, just cloud above and below). That made venturing off piste a bit of a lottery, though the (closed) run under Pancheron was drawing a fair few people and seemed to be pretty stable. You can tell the via was bad because resolute the pistes being empty, Chalet Etoile was rammed Laughing

The sun came out for a little bit late on (about 4pm), and we managed to get up Bontadini where the snow was a little bit lighter off piste. And the pistes were really nice once you could see them properly!

Tomorrow looks a bit more promising, and we're hoping that Red 7 opens up making the Cime Bianchi a very appealing option snowHead
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Thank you @albob @dougcachinis @JohnMo for your help. I've decided to rent a car. Will make sure to specify the winter tyres.
I am comming from Turin and was going to take a bus from savda (http://www.savda.it/). Don't know about people's satisfaction, but their website is a bit outdated and confusing. I even tried to buy the ticket online a week ago, but (fortunately) it was occurring an error in the payment process.
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RobCrock wrote:
Hi , we are heading to Zermatt for 4 nights over Xmas , (son is there for the season instructing) and I'm looking for restaurant recommendations on Christmas Day (evening) , not looking for 'fine dining' but great food / atmosphere for my wife and two 20 year olds. Much appreciate any local advice.


Finding a bad restaurant in Zermatt is as difficult as finding a cheap one. I am not really a foodie and we tend not to go out for evening meals. However when the (adult) children and their partners are over our family tradition is to go to Cafe (aka Restaurant) du Pont. We always have snails followed by fondue but the other typical Swiss stuff looks good as well.

Wherever you go I wouldn't leave it too late to book. Everywhere is very busy over Xmas and New Year. The German speaking lands typically have their family dinner on Weihnacht (auf Englisch: Christmas Eve) but that doesn't mean Xmas evening itself is any less busy in a ski resort. Some of the restaurants might not be available to take bookings this week as the season proper only starts this weekend. But if they are not, they will certainly be around from next week.

https://www.restaurant-dupont.ch
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heading out to cervina tomorrow, woop woop, hope the conditons are good. Quick question, while I know at the moment avalanche risks are high, are there palces where we can just pop off piste and have a pootle about? or is it one of those resorts where off piste is not available, ( ie no itenaries)
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@biddpyat, Be careful - as you say the avalanche risk is very high. It is currently at 4. There is a lot of heavy snow up there, waiting to come down. Even the pistes are not completely safe. We've had a couple of avalanches onto pistes in Zermatt in the last couple of years (thankfully outside of operating hours) and there was that horrible fatal one just over the Rhône valley at Crans Montana last year.

Unfortunately Cervinia does not have itineraries. I think that is true of Italy generally. I think they are a Swiss and Austrian thing.

Be careful just following people's tracks. There will be a lot of people skiing just off the top of piste 7. But the crevasses there will now not be visible and the snow bridges might not have strengthened up sufficiently yet. Similarly you will see people coming up lift C in Cervinia and lift f in Valtournenche and heading off skier's right down unopened pistes 24/59/62 in Cervinia and piste 5 in Valtournenche. But just look at what is to their right: steep slopes laden with heavy snow that comes down every year. There is a good reason they will probably not be open.

Where you will see people skiing off the pistes and the danger might be more acceptable to you (I am not out so can not assess) is areas between the pistes coming down from Theodulpass (6, 46, 47), around piste 37 and around pistes 15 and 6 in Valtournenche.

Have fun but stay safe.
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@biddpyat, You can get a mountain guide cheap enough and and airbag even cheaper in the Bureau des Guides or whatever the equivalent is. I wouldn't risk it yourself as there has been an unprecedented level of snow.

You should read the comments on the latest wepowder forecast, lads very excited about Cervinia albeit it seems its warming up so may very well not be worth the risk for you. Suspect you will know more or less immediately if you try a bit of side piste off the top lift, if its treacle don't bother.

https://wepowder.com/en/forum/topic/271016
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