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Zermatt and Cervinia 2019-20

 Poster: A snowHead
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@biddpyat, I'd echo what others have said about needing to take safety-conscious decisions, particularly given the amount of snow that's fallen, how wet that snow is, and the warming temperatures. There was a lot of evidence of point releases yesterday on sunny slopes, and one or two slab releases too. And as @JohnMo says, there are also areas of glaciated terrain - I personally wouldn't touch the stuff at the top of red 7 (because I have no idea what lies underneath), but it got entirely tracked out over the course of Monday Shocked

Having said that, there aren't any marked itineraries, but if you assess the risks as being acceptable then there are plenty of places that you can just pop of the side of a piste or cut a corner or two. You'll see a lot of tracks around the place just alongside the pistes - in fact given how poor the vis was this weekend and how quiet the resort was, I was really surprised how much had been skied out by Monday pm. Plenty left though...@JohnMo picks some good places.

You will need to stay relatively high though. The fresh snow that fell over Fri-Sun was quite heavy and wet. The rising temps have turned it to thick gloop lower down (there's some nice off piste around the home runs in Cervinia, but it was borderline unskiable on Monday). The top lift in Valtournenche and the cable car up to Plateau Rosa were both happy hunting grounds for us.

We're back home now ( Sad ), but the good news for all of you planning on going out some time this season is that the base is looking in fantastic shape. We've been out quite a lot in December for the last 10 years or so, and I've never seen as much snow as there is right now. Shaping up nicely... snowHead
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Thanks for the updates and info people. I've got 4 days in Cervinia(staying in Valtournenche)from Saturday, first time in the area. I'll drive up to Cervinia for days we go over to Zermatt, is parking straightforward enough?
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@alasdair.graham, yes, there's a decent sized car park area at the base of the gondola/cable car station. The entry is a little bit weird as you have to turn left at the lift station and drive away and round and approach from what feels like behind, but it's fairly well signposted.

Note that you can also ski over from Valtournenche if you want, though I guess you'd have to head back from Zermatt a little earlier to make the connection home.
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ChrisWo wrote:
@alasdair.graham, yes, there's a decent sized car park area at the base of the gondola/cable car station. The entry is a little bit weird as you have to turn left at the lift station and drive away and round and approach from what feels like behind, but it's fairly well signposted.

Note that you can also ski over from Valtournenche if you want, though I guess you'd have to head back from Zermatt a little earlier to make the connection home.


I don’t think that is the case. When you are coming back from the Swiss side to Italy you have to get to Testa Grigia (either by skiing down from Klein Matterhorn or taking the two T bars up from Trockener Steg). From there there are two ways back. Either ski down to Theodulpass and into Cervinia that way. Or head down the Ventina (piste 7). If you were going back to Valtournenche you would simply take the 7 initially but keep to skier’s left the whole time. That would take you to that very short chair lift (marked g) that lifts you into the Valtournenche bowl. From there you ski home. The time to get back would not be much different to the time to get back to Breuil Cervinia. Chair lift g keeps running much later than the latest time recommended for coming back from Switzerland - it is the only skiing way back for those from Valtournenche skiing in Cervinia.
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Photo below from Warren Smith’s Ski Academy Facebook page. Cervinia pistes looking particularly tempting.

Several bands of snow coming over for more of a top up. And temperatures on their way back down. Lighter stuff up top and maybe even some of the precipitation down in the villages being snow.

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You do need to allow a little extra time if returning to Valtournenche rather than Cervinia as you are dépendant on at least 1 lift (2 if the run to Valtournenche village is shut) whereas Cervinia you’re pretty much guaranteed to be able to ski all the way down. You could stay at the cafe at plateau Rosa or in the ice cave at Klein Matterhorn till 7 or 8pm in March/April and return to Cervinia easily enough in the light, not so for Valtournenche due to reliance on lifts.
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Raptor23 wrote:
You do need to allow a little extra time if returning to Valtournenche rather than Cervinia as you are dépendant on at least 1 lift (2 if the run to Valtournenche village is shut) whereas Cervinia you’re pretty much guaranteed to be able to ski all the way down. You could stay at the cafe at plateau Rosa or in the ice cave at Klein Matterhorn till 7 or 8pm in March/April and return to Cervinia easily enough in the light, not so for Valtournenche due to reliance on lifts.


That’s certainly true, though as JohnMo says, both of those lifts run later than the rest, especially the gondola back down to town. And assuming the town run is open, even if you were to miss closing time of the lift to the Valtournenche bowl, the consequences are not nearly as problematic as missing the connection back from Zermatt. The lift is only 200m long and gains only 35m of altitude. I regularly see people hiking up it even when the lift is running (presumably to be able to claim a continuous ski from the top of Klien Matterhorn all the way to the base of Valtournenche?). Though I will admit, given my level of fitness, even if I found myself in that situation, I’d probably choose the other not terribly consequential alternative of skiing back down to Cervinia and taking a 15 min taxi back to Valtournenche.

All of this to say, I wouldn’t stress too terribly much about missing this connection. At least not in the same way people worry about making it back from Zermatt.

Going back to the original question about starting the day in Cervinia when going to Zermatt, I will say, we never bother with that while staying in Valtournenche. We find it just as easy to start from Val. You’re basically choosing between gondola-chair-chair-button lift-ski to Laghi Cime Bianchi cable car vs drive 15 min-gondola-gondola to Laghi Cime Bianchi cable car. The difference in time I’d say is negligible and I’d rather make the journey with skis on than have a 15 min drive at the front and back end of the day.
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Bit by bit, ahead of the Swiss side main opening on Saturday, more gets opened. The Swiss have opened up piste 70 which gives direct access down to Furgg. Tantalisingly it is also the piste that gives access to the excellent itineraries 67 and 68. Ha’way lads you know you want to open them. The Italians have opened up the Pancheron pistes. The lift has been open for a while but you have had to go skier’s left over to Plan Maison. Now you can go skier’s right and enjoy that really nice area down there.
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A beautiful sight. All areas open. Lots of pistes not yet opened - they will not open them until Xmas week. No home runs on the Swiss side open nor any of the itineraries. But that is normal in opening week. Gorgeous day out there today with fresh snow in town. There is a decent storm coming through tomorrow with the temperatures staying low so should be more snow in town.

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Are runs to Furi open?
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Raptor23 wrote:
Are runs to Furi open?


The run from Schwarzsee round the north side of the mountain to Furi is open - and has been for a few days. But Furgg to Furi is not open. That run is very high avalanche risk. In any case it is a black and they don’t tend to open blacks until a bit later.

The frustrating one is Riffelberg down to Furi. That is not open. It was not planned to be open. I really don’t understand that. There is certainly more than enough snow. Did the same thing last year - although the snow was nowhere near as good this time last year.

The difference in approach between the Italian side and the Swiss side is stark. Italians: anything we can get open we will open. Swiss: this is our schedule of opening and we will stick to it.
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Quote:

The difference in approach between the Italian side and the Swiss side is stark.

This is why we end up returning to Cervinia year after year early season - most of the time they seem to own up what they can, rather than what they planned to a few months ago. Although to be fair there are still days where it feels life they could go further...
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ChrisWo wrote:
Quote:

The difference in approach between the Italian side and the Swiss side is stark.

This is why we end up returning to Cervinia year after year early season - most of the time they seem to own up what they can, rather than what they planned to a few months ago. Although to be fair there are still days where it feels life they could go further...


So Cervinia now mostly open for season?
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Doccam wrote:
So Cervinia now mostly open for season?


Certainly is. The blacks are not open. Nor is the Cieloalto lift (small area south of main Breuil-Cervinia lifts). But the latter is opening on Wednesday.
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Flat light and snow all day on the Italian side of the area, decent accumulation over the day and maybe 4-6inches on top of the perfectly groomed slopes by the day's end. There is tons of snow, all pistes have full cover and the few runs that aren't open look like they will be soon. A few sharks and streams lurking off piste still so I haven't ventured anywhere other than in-between pistes as don't know the area at all.
Nobody around at all today so guessing the weekenders either stayed at home or went elsewhere.
Enjoying the snow and runs on my first visit to the area, lots of long, cruising fast pistes, not discovered anything very steep or difficult yet but I'm guessing the Zermatt side will have more to offer in that respect? Two days left to find out
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The steepest stuff on the Cervinia side is off the Pancheron chair. Make sure you have coffee in Pit Stop!
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alasdair.graham@hotmail.c wrote:
Enjoying the snow and runs on my first visit to the area, lots of long, cruising fast pistes, not discovered anything very steep or difficult yet but I'm guessing the Zermatt side will have more to offer in that respect? Two days left to find out


Always hard to know what anyone else counts as “difficult” but there is not much steep stuff open yet. None of the blacks on the Cervinia side are open. As noted by @OTS above the steepest stuff is off the Pancheron lift but those runs are not yet open. The top of the Ventina (piste 7) is steep but is very wide and so in good snow should be easy.

Over on the Zermatt side again the blacks and the itineraries are not yet open. Piste 70 coming down skier’s left from Furggsattel is open and is steep in parts but I would not say it was that difficult.
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Sad to hear of a snowboarder falling into a crevasse on the Theodulgletscher on Saturday and passing away in hospital shortly after being rescued. By the sounds of it, he left the marked piste and tried to enjoy some powder. As always, a sad reminder of how dangerous the mountains can be.

Keep safe everyone!
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My wife and I are planning to visit Zermatt this coming weekend (Dec. 8-9). Does anyone know if they plan to open more lifts and pistes by then? It's our first time. Excited!
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Fingers crossed but we can't be sure. It would be nice to see the rest of Gornergrat, Schwarzsee and Blauherd / Rothorn open up.
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So sad news about the snowboarder, we actually stopped and watched the rescue attempt for a couple of minutes late on Saturday afternoon, I actually thought and hoped they were doing some sort of training, can't of been more that 15-20 meters from the piste, they were pulling up buckets of snow from the hole, I didn't hang about for long but there was plenty stopped watching what was going on. Today there was fresh tracks on the other side of the rope very close to where the incident happened. This is the first I've heard the news, sobering stuff considering I was jumping into the powder today in various places.
Rest in peace.

There is tons to go at if you are just here for a weekend.
Quite a few of the closed runs were fully pisted today but still fenced off, cannons working full blast on other areas so looks like more will be opening imminently.
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Beautiful conditions out there today. The photo below is from Fluhalp looking up piste 19 as it makes its way down from Rothorn. The snow is lovely: crisp and cold. Because the Frau is with me we were just out walking today. It is very quiet but those who had chosen to come out this week were being rewarded. Interesting to see that the (still closed) itinerary 10 from Blauherd down to Findeln was being heavily skied.

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well we got there wednesday and it snowed and snowed and snowed ! It was mostly flat light, so we didnt even consider off piste! however, on friday our last day. In flat light I mistook the poles on the side if piste 1 to valthournache and as the piste took a corner, I did't, ended up doing an eddie the eagle over the edge, hit deep snow and tumbled about 20 feet down the side, soft powder made it hard to get back up on piste, and I was in a lot of pain getting back to valtournache, turns out I broke two fingers, my wrist, and dislocated my elbow. Saturday was a blue sky day as we drove away, I will have to go back again sometime to see where I fell off piste.
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@biddpyat, Really sorry to hear that but equally pleased it wasn't worse. As the discussion above about the fatality at the weekend shows it can be a dangerous hobby we have. Like you my "near misses" have come in poor visibility. Today was blue sky, perfect ski snow and almost empty pistes but when we got back down to Sunnegga (most northerly end of Zermatt) there was a poor guy being loaded into an ambulance. Accidents can happen at any time.
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I know how lucky I was, I stopped tumbling after a few feet but it was a long way down, also I was schussing as I thought it was an uphill approaching, nope that hill wasn't on the run. I feel like a total idiot. I have to say the bar owner at the bottem of the gondola ( when I got down) was very helpfull. I was in such a grump when there were blue skies on the day we left, first day I saw the matterhorn. we will return in march, and then we will hopefully ski it all. I have to say though out from flat light, the snow was amazing
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Hey guys,

Group of 9 persons going from Bergamo Airport to Cervinia, in late January.

What's the best transfer company to get some quotations? Or any private contact you might have.

Thanks in advance!
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nunex wrote:
Hey guys,

Group of 9 persons going from Bergamo Airport to Cervinia, in late January.

What's the best transfer company to get some quotations? Or any private contact you might have.

Thanks in advance!


Hopefully someone will have some info for you. I have never done it. These are the recommended companies from the tourist office:

https://www.cervinia.it/en/estate/breuil-cervinia-come-arrivare

From a quick look I think it will cost about €1500 return. You could hire a 9 seater for a week for half that price (but be sure to specify winter tyres). The road up the valley to Breuil Cervinia is good. But of course if there is a mega storm going on driving yourself might seem like a really bad bet.
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If you decide to hire a 9 seater and self drive, make sure you specify cross border travel (usually an extra fee) and don’t forget the Swiss motorway vignette at the border.
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Grachen wrote:
If you decide to hire a 9 seater and self drive, make sure you specify cross border travel (usually an extra fee) and don’t forget the Swiss motorway vignette at the border.


I think he/she is going from Bergamo (Milan) to Cervinia. So it would be Italy all the way.
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JohnMo wrote:
nunex wrote:
Hey guys,

Group of 9 persons going from Bergamo Airport to Cervinia, in late January.

What's the best transfer company to get some quotations? Or any private contact you might have.

Thanks in advance!


Hopefully someone will have some info for you. I have never done it. These are the recommended companies from the tourist office:

https://www.cervinia.it/en/estate/breuil-cervinia-come-arrivare

From a quick look I think it will cost about €1500 return. You could hire a 9 seater for a week for half that price (but be sure to specify winter tyres). The road up the valley to Breuil Cervinia is good. But of course if there is a mega storm going on driving yourself might seem like a really bad bet.


I'd say you'd get three individual cars for about €300 if that was viable. The road to Aosta is very good, motorway or major road the whole way. As Johnmo says the road up to Cervinia isn't bad as they go, I don't remember any windy precipice hairpins. Car is useful in case of wind induced lift closures and the need to travel down the valley to Pila to ski (one hour each way).
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JohnMo we came down the run in your photo around 1 pm yesterday so may have passed you.
What a stunning Ski area, absolutely beautiful, I've skied in an awful lot of places but I think the Zermatt side of the area is the most breathtaking I've ever been to.

Someone is going to tell me the Dolomites are on a par I'm sure, we have a few days in MDC(or is the Sella Ronda where it's at?!)later this month so we'll see.
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I would appreciate some friendly advice from experienced Zermatt skiers.

Background
I will be skiing in Zermatt late next week for the first time. It is difficult to assess my ability, but consider myself between a beginner and intermediate. I have skied twice this year on very small local slopes in Indiana (yes, we have some) to prepare for my trip and have done so about 20 times in my life. My biggest trip was to Vail 10 years ago, where I did all the beginner runs and could easily navigate most (not all) of the intermediate slopes. I have a lesson planned on day one in Zermatt.

Advice
After hearing of the death last week and various accidents posted here, and given my ability, what advice would you give me? A youtube video of the trip to Cervinia got me a bit nervous as the piste looked rather narrow (but I could not assess the steepness). I would enjoy going to Cervinia and back and enjoy as much of Zermatt as possible. Please send me your advice.

Thanks in advance for you help.
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Hi drmattwill,

Zermatt is more set up for intermediate skiers to be truthful but you'll find some areas offering fantastic skiing for beginners. I'd initially stick to the Gornergrat, Sunnegga-Findeln areas for the first couple of days. They are gentle and undulating runs and great to find your feet on.

https://www.zermatt.ch/en/Lifts-pistes/Panoramakarten-Facts/Piste-map-Winter-panorama

Use the link above and click on the .pdf to look at the areas. Depending on how many days you are skiing a trip to Cervinia is a wonderful idea and its not difficult in the slightest. Sadly the fatality happened just off the piste and I wouldn't suggest heading off-piste up there unless you are with a guide and are a competent skier.
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Just to add to the previous post, if your budget stretches to it, perhaps try and set up another session with an instructor later in the week with the specific aim of heading over to Cervinia? The skiing over there is lovely and from your description of your skiing level you will be able to manage it no problem, but I think it's only fair to say that one way over requires you to ski a fairly steep, though very wide piste initially, whilst the other involves skiing a fairly benign (in terms of steepness) but narrowish pass through to the Italian side. If you are anxious about either of those prospects then it might be better to do so with a guide/instructor. Once over I doubt you will find the pistes themselves beyond you.
That said, there will be plenty on the Zermatt side to keep you busy but it is a nice add-on to be able to ski two countries in a day, even if just for the novelty!
Have a good time!
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JohnMo wrote:
nunex wrote:
Hey guys,

Group of 9 persons going from Bergamo Airport to Cervinia, in late January.

What's the best transfer company to get some quotations? Or any private contact you might have.

Thanks in advance!


Hopefully someone will have some info for you. I have never done it. These are the recommended companies from the tourist office:

https://www.cervinia.it/en/estate/breuil-cervinia-come-arrivare

From a quick look I think it will cost about €1500 return. You could hire a 9 seater for a week for half that price (but be sure to specify winter tyres). The road up the valley to Breuil Cervinia is good. But of course if there is a mega storm going on driving yourself might seem like a really bad bet.


Try Taxi Cervinia - they are transferring a group of 8 of us for €430 return from Turin
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Thanks for all the contributions regarding the transfer into Cervinia!
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Scotsgirl and Run28. The info is greatly appreciated. I look forward to more good advice.
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Drmattwill, taking the train to Gornergrat gives a very nice selection of cruising wide pistes with great scenery. Also from the very highest point of the area, Kleine Matterhorn down the glacier to Trockener Steg is wide and not very steep at all, and an amazing cable car ride up. Just make sure you keep within marked runs.
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I would agree with everything others have said. Cervinia and Valtournenche probably have the greatest quantity of easy, cruising, undulating runs that will be a fit for your skill level, so it’s definitely worth planning at least a day over there. (Not to mention the fun of having breakfast in one country and lunch in another while traveling only by lift and ski.).

But I’d also say you’ll have plenty to keep you busy in Zermatt as well. In my mind Gornergrat is definitely the best sector to start in. You can either take the train all the way to the top, or take the Matterhorn Express and switch gondolas at Furi. Doing laps on the Gifthittli lift is a great way to warm up and start out your ski trip.

Once you have more confidence, skiing the Red 39/41/42 back down to Furi will give you a good measure of your comfort on the reds of Zermatt. There are a handful of narrow stretches on that run but they aren’t terribly steep. Alternatively you can do the 29/26 down to Gant and then head up to the Sunnega sector from there.

In terms of measuring whether you are ok to head over to Italy, as mentioned by others, the top of the Ventina number 7 is a bit steep, but it’s also quite wide. If you are able to negotiate the reds from Trockener Steck down to Furgg, you shouldn’t have any problem at all.

One final note for point of comparison, in general I don’t think the intermediate slopes in Zermatt are any more difficult than what you would have encountered in Vail. The reds in Zermatt are equivalent to the Blues in Vail (and I’d argue the ones in Cervinia and Valtournenche are even easier). There is obviously variance within each category, but the one huge difference is that in Vail some of the Blues may not be groomed each day, whereas in Zermatt/Cervinia/Valtournenche, everything is groomed every day.
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Can anyone confirm that the large car park behind the plan maison gondola is still free. We did a package last time but I’m driving from MXP this year and our accommodation is just off the red that comes from cielo alto back to the town and don’t fancy trying to get the car all the way there.
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