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Zermatt and Cervinia 2019-20

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Buy the full pass, its worth it assuming you can use it. I have always been able to use in over 6days skiing.

Chalet etoile ( fish soup!) and also Bontadini over in Italy - restaurant though, not self service.

The long run down from Klein Matterhorn to Valtouranche is one of the longest downhill ( except for a200 metre chair), that you are ever likely to do.
Skiing id rather more exacting in Zermatt. Cervinia pistes are lovely and leisurely by comparison.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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I completely agree. The international pass is well worth it. There are lots of great cruising runs in both Cervinia and Valtournenche. And it also makes for a great story to have breakfast in Switzerland, ski over to Italy for lunch and then back to Switzerland for dinner (Or the inverse!).
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
While we’re on the topic of restaurants, and in the absence of much to speak about as far as snow conditions, how would people rank their favorite restaurants across Zermatt/Cervinia/Valtournenche?

For me I think it’s would have to be the following:

Swiss:
1. Chez Vrony
2. Zum See
3. Stafelalp (though haven’t been since the fire)
4. Findlerhof
5. Cervo
6. Fluhalp

Italian:
1. Chalet Etoile
2. Bontadini
3. Foyer des Guides
4. Principe delle Nevi
5. Chez Gabriel

Overall top 3:
1. Chalet Etoile
2. Vrony
3. Zum See
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Overall top

Findlerhof
Chalet Etoile
Chez Vrony
Fluhalp
Bontadini
Zum zee
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Overall top:

Findlerhof
Chalet Etoille
Zum See
Blatten
Fluhalp

We used to like Stafelalp but its lost its charm...food has gone downhill in our view. Vrony I like but again feels a bit corporate compared to Findlerhof.
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@Run28, interesting. We were going to try stafelalp, but could be 2x Franz und Heidi’s!
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twoodwar wrote:
@Run28, interesting. We were going to try stafelalp, but could be 2x Frank und Heidi’s!


This might just be our view on the place...that said I do love the location. Haven't been to Gandegghütte for years either, used to be my favourite rosti on the mountain but always hear fairly rocky reviews now.

The one I'm keen to try this year is Aroleid Kollective in Furi - heard only good things.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Mon 30-09-19 14:15; edited 1 time in total
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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@Run28, my wife and daughters have banned Gandehutte due to not being able to run out to it, without poling. Needless to say we are not touring skiers.
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Russeh wrote:
I'm currently looking forward to my first visit to Zermatt this coming March. Just doing a little homework now on the resort and ski area, not sure if the Italy side ski pass is worth it? I had my first taster of real off piste this year, looking at doing more of that in Zermatt.

Tips/Advise welcome!


You have had some good advice from others. I would certainly concur with the advice to get the international pass. It is more money but unless you are on a really tight budget it is certainly worth the extra to experience the full area. I see in a later post you mention the crossing being closed by wind. Absolutely this happens. I would say two things. First the new lift on the Swiss side has improved things. Second the closing is not as frequent as you might get the impression. Those who have been unlucky tend (for obvious reasons with which I sympathise) to discuss the issue more than those for whom it was not an issue.

The only additional point I would make is as regards the highlighted part of your post. The off piste is much better on the Swiss side. The Italian side does not even have itineraries (I don’t think Italy does generally - they seem to be a Swiss and Austrian thing).
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@Russeh, also I have to warn you, that Zermatt is seriously addictive in my experience. We tried to go every other year. we wanted to try other top resorts. However I have to report sadly that hopeless addiction has set in. The only way I can go elsewhere is if I have been, or am indeed going to Zermatt that season.
snowHead
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On the subject of addiction, 'missing the snow' post in the Piste thread is very worthwhile. Almost makes me want to book a Crystal holday!
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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.
twoodwar wrote:
@Russeh, also I have to warn you, that Zermatt is seriously addictive in my experience. We tried to go every other year. we wanted to try other top resorts. However I have to report sadly that hopeless addiction has set in. The only way I can go elsewhere is if I have been, or am indeed going to Zermatt that season.
snowHead


Couldn't agree more. I've been visiting for 25 years+ and nowhere can beat the resort is my view...I try to go elsewhere...enjoy it....but its just not Zermatt.
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A reminder to all to look at my post on Zermatt discounts in the resorts thread. 20% off 6 days or more passes, if booked from tomorrow. This lasts till the end of October. Payment upfront though, pretty obviously.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
twoodwar wrote:
A reminder to all to look at my post on Zermatt discounts in the resorts thread. 20% off 6 days or more passes, if booked from tomorrow. This lasts till the end of October. Payment upfront though, pretty obviously.


I've got a note in my diary to get my two weeks booked up tomorrow. Great spot from you @twoodwar.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Run28 wrote:
twoodwar wrote:
@Russeh, also I have to warn you, that Zermatt is seriously addictive in my experience. We tried to go every other year. we wanted to try other top resorts. However I have to report sadly that hopeless addiction has set in. The only way I can go elsewhere is if I have been, or am indeed going to Zermatt that season.
snowHead


Couldn't agree more. I've been visiting for 25 years+ and nowhere can beat the resort is my view...I try to go elsewhere...enjoy it....but its just not Zermatt.


Quite agree. Like many on this forum, I have skied many European resorts over the last 40 years and now where comes close. I too go elsewhere, enjoy it, but again, it’s not Zermatt. Great skiing, great scenery, great restaurants and a great village.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@JohnMo, yeah not really on a budget so will get the full pass. I think i read somewhere on here that they only open the link if they know they can keep it open for the rest of the day, not sure how true that is.

Really looking forward to it. I'm actually going on my own, my wife doesn't want to do skiing this year so i though right i'll go somewhere i've never been and probably wont get to go to Zermatt until she's a stronger skier. It does look like a very pretty place, i mean it doesn't bother me but the only negative i can see on paper the ski area is fragmented a little. I'm staying near the funicular which i think seems to be the best place to be for access.

The two lifts up the matterhorn side, is one a gondola? how long does it take to get up from there, i've heard the cog train takes like 40 minutes Shock

Thanks @twoodwar yeah i've spotted your post, going to take advantage of that!
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I'm looking at Summit for off piste instruction, is there anyone else thats worth considering?
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Russeh wrote:
@JohnMo, yeah not really on a budget so will get the full pass. I think i read somewhere on here that they only open the link if they know they can keep it open for the rest of the day, not sure how true that is.

Really looking forward to it. I'm actually going on my own, my wife doesn't want to do skiing this year so i though right i'll go somewhere i've never been and probably wont get to go to Zermatt until she's a stronger skier. It does look like a very pretty place, i mean it doesn't bother me but the only negative i can see on paper the ski area is fragmented a little. I'm staying near the funicular which i think seems to be the best place to be for access.

The two lifts up the matterhorn side, is one a gondola? how long does it take to get up from there, i've heard the cog train takes like 40 minutes Shock

Thanks @twoodwar yeah i've spotted your post, going to take advantage of that!


The Gornergrat train takes about 40 mins to get to the top (ish). The Sunnegga funicular takes about 6-8 minutes to get to the mid point. Then the bubble and cable car to Rothorn takes about 15/20 or so. The Matterhorn express to Trockner takes about 30 mins then the new 3S lift takes about 10 or so to the top.

You have lots of options.
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Russeh wrote:
I'm looking at Summit for off piste instruction, is there anyone else thats worth considering?


The Summit guys are fantastic in my view and our family will use them every year we visit Zermatt. Then again you can’t go wrong with Stoked as a second option.
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The area is not really fragmented at all. Once on the mountain you can access everywhere by lift and piste skiing. The train is slow but great. You only take it once to go up. Do that all the way to Gornorgrat at least once, and sit on the right of the train going up for the best views.
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Run28 wrote:
Russeh wrote:
I'm looking at Summit for off piste instruction, is there anyone else thats worth considering?


The Summit guys are fantastic in my view and our family will use them every year we visit Zermatt. Then again you can’t go wrong with Stoked as a second option.


I certainly agree re Summit - really good company and instructors seem to be consistently good. The only caveat I would make is that @Russeh is looking for off piste and Summit can not do off piste instructing on the glaciers. To be fair to them they are very explicit about this on their website and point you in the right direction if you do want to go on the glaciers. If one is looking for instruction rather than guiding there are plenty of non-glacial off piste areas.

When I last used them a couple of years ago Stoked only had one off piste guide. He was very good mind.

Most of the off piste guides work for Zermatters. While it is pot luck who you will get they are all very professional and most are really good.
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Back to the snow meanwhile.. Latest GFS shows a nice temp drop from the 11th with possible precipitation after this. A long way out obviously, but hope is what this thread is mainly based upon.
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twoodwar wrote:
Back to the snow meanwhile.. Latest GFS shows a nice temp drop from the 11th with possible precipitation after this. A long way out obviously, but hope is what this thread is mainly based upon.


Tomorrow night is looking quite hopeful. First photo is the GFS runs, all showing a nice spike for Wednesday night/Thursday morning. The second photo is the Meteo Swiss radar projection for rain early hours of Thursday morning. Not much in the way of follow up but temperatures should stay sufficiently low to keep hold of that high up. I think if it comes off we’ll mark that down as the season’s first snow (the stuff that came and melted in September doesn’t really count).

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@JohnMo, above 2000 metres?
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twoodwar wrote:
@JohnMo, above 2000 metres?


I always find that hard to interpret. Certainly if you look at the projections for the Gornegrat weather station (at 300m) it is not expected to drop below zero in the near future while Zermatt at 1600m will still be touching double figures during the day. So while at 2000m it might look quite nice on Thursday morning, I think you're going to have to get closer to 3000m for it to hold on for the season. Fortunately that is OK as the only opening planned for later this month (on the Swiss side - the Italians are more ambitious) is the (mainly) glacier skiing down from Furggsattel to Trockener Steg. Trockener Steg is at 3000m. So while that snow will not be enough to open up those runs it should be a help. They also have snow making from the end of the glacier to Trockener Steg so they can now get those blasting away. Sadly the Trockener Steg webcam has been down for a couple of weeks now so you can't check on it.
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@JohnMo, could you please give more detail about the planned opening eg is there a link - I can't find anything on the website, only from 1st Nov? Thinking of visiting Zermatt around 16th and wondered what (skiing) might be open!
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Wildsmith wrote:
@JohnMo, could you please give more detail about the planned opening eg is there a link - I can't find anything on the website, only from 1st Nov? Thinking of visiting Zermatt around 16th and wondered what (skiing) might be open!


It is a good question. There is no easy link and, to a large extent, you need to know the area and how they usually do the opening. This is a bit hypocritical, given that I will be out from 23 October for 10 days or so, but I would not be mad keen on going all the way to Zermatt on 16th November purely for skiing (I will be skiing but will be doing a lot of walking with non-skiing wife). If anything, I’d prefer to head to Cervinia, which puts more effort into early season than Zermatt and, from there you can ski all the Swiss pistes that will be open.

Here is my attempt at an explanation of early season and where you can find the info. First download the piste map (winter panorama) pdf from this page so that what I am saying has some chance of making sense. Really annoyingly, the most recent version of the lifts doesn’t have the numbers on the lifts any more so I’ll have to describe them.

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

In about the middle of the map you should find the lift station Trockener Steg. Access is open to that all year round. From there is the lift to Klein Matterhorn (described as Matterhorn Glacier Paradise on the piste map. That gives you access to the summer pistes (mainly 83 and 84) and the lifts alongside them.

For winter, you need to look at the winter timetable which you can download here:

https://www.matterhornparadise.ch/en/Current-news/Timetable

As you can see the lifts up to Klein Mattehorn (aka Matterhorn Glacier Paradise) are open in November (ignoring the maintenance closure as it is before your potential visit). The ski lifts up on the summer ski area (which stays open in November) are described as Skilift Testa 1 and Skilift Plateau Rosa. The skilift described as Gandegg are the ones that run alongside piste 73 and piste 80.

The main other ski area that will (should) be open on your proposed date is the one described as Furggsattel. That is the lift that runs from Trockner Steg up to Furggsattel. It gives you access to pistes 71 and 72, which are superb pistes, and potentially a little side piste action. As you can see from footnote 10 that lift will open from as soon as 5 October if there is sufficient snow. There almost certainly won’t be by 5 October. But I would put money on it being open by the end of October. It is mainly on a glacier (so any snow that falls stays at this time of year) plus there is snowmaking from the glacier to the lift station plus they store snow up there to cover that glacier ski area early season.

But that is your lot on the Swiss side! As you can see the main opening date is 30 November when in principle all areas (with the exception of the Stockhorm itinerary area) are open. In practice a small number of pistes do not open until Xmas week.

As you can see from the Zermatt timetable Cervinia opens from 26 October. That is also the date given on the rolling banner on the Cervinia website and at the bottom of the lift price pass page here (which also gives Valtournenche as opening on 23 November).

https://www.cervinia.it/en/inverno/tariffe-stagionali

However, what they do not commit to is WHAT will be open. Certainly the lifts up to Plateau Rosa will be open. So if you were on the Italian side you would have access to the Swiss stuff I described above. They will almost certainly have piste 7 open from Plateau Rosa Test Grigia down to Laghi Cime Bianche. The top bit of that is on glacier, they have good snowmaking and it is all above 2,800.

Beyond that you are in the lap of the snowgods. They will hope to open the set of three lifts from Plan Maison up to Theodulpass. Plan Maison is over 2,500 metres and there is excellent snow making. The date on which you will be able to ski all the way down to town is less certain but is probably less important. The lift going up to under the south face of the Matterhorn and the lifts near to the Valtournenche sides will all be later opening – quite possibly not until December.
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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
JohnMo wrote:
Wildsmith wrote:
@JohnMo, could you please give more detail about the planned opening eg is there a link - I can't find anything on the website, only from 1st Nov? Thinking of visiting Zermatt around 16th and wondered what (skiing) might be open!


It is a good question. There is no easy link and, to a large extent, you need to know the area and how they usually do the opening. This is a bit hypocritical, given that I will be out from 23 October for 10 days or so, but I would not be mad keen on going all the way to Zermatt on 16th November purely for skiing (I will be skiing but will be doing a lot of walking with non-skiing wife). If anything, I’d prefer to head to Cervinia, which puts more effort into early season than Zermatt and, from there you can ski all the Swiss pistes that will be open.

Here is my attempt at an explanation of early season and where you can find the info. First download the piste map (winter panorama) pdf from this page so that what I am saying has some chance of making sense. Really annoyingly, the most recent version of the lifts doesn’t have the numbers on the lifts any more so I’ll have to describe them.

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

In about the middle of the map you should find the lift station Trockener Steg. Access is open to that all year round. From there is the lift to Klein Matterhorn (described as Matterhorn Glacier Paradise on the piste map. That gives you access to the summer pistes (mainly 83 and 84) and the lifts alongside them.

For winter, you need to look at the winter timetable which you can download here:

https://www.matterhornparadise.ch/en/Current-news/Timetable

As you can see the lifts up to Klein Mattehorn (aka Matterhorn Glacier Paradise) are open in November (ignoring the maintenance closure as it is before your potential visit). The ski lifts up on the summer ski area (which stays open in November) are described as Skilift Testa 1 and Skilift Plateau Rosa. The skilift described as Gandegg are the ones that run alongside piste 73 and piste 80.

The main other ski area that will (should) be open on your proposed date is the one described as Furggsattel. That is the lift that runs from Trockner Steg up to Furggsattel. It gives you access to pistes 71 and 72, which are superb pistes, and potentially a little side piste action. As you can see from footnote 10 that lift will open from as soon as 5 October if there is sufficient snow. There almost certainly won’t be by 5 October. But I would put money on it being open by the end of October. It is mainly on a glacier (so any snow that falls stays at this time of year) plus there is snowmaking from the glacier to the lift station plus they store snow up there to cover that glacier ski area early season.

But that is your lot on the Swiss side! As you can see the main opening date is 30 November when in principle all areas (with the exception of the Stockhorm itinerary area) are open. In practice a small number of pistes do not open until Xmas week.

As you can see from the Zermatt timetable Cervinia opens from 26 October. That is also the date given on the rolling banner on the Cervinia website and at the bottom of the lift price pass page here (which also gives Valtournenche as opening on 23 November).

https://www.cervinia.it/en/inverno/tariffe-stagionali

However, what they do not commit to is WHAT will be open. Certainly the lifts up to Plateau Rosa will be open. So if you were on the Italian side you would have access to the Swiss stuff I described above. They will almost certainly have piste 7 open from Plateau Rosa Test Grigia down to Laghi Cime Bianche. The top bit of that is on glacier, they have good snowmaking and it is all above 2,800.

Beyond that you are in the lap of the snowgods. They will hope to open the set of three lifts from Plan Maison up to Theodulpass. Plan Maison is over 2,500 metres and there is excellent snow making. The date on which you will be able to ski all the way down to town is less certain but is probably less important. The lift going up to under the south face of the Matterhorn and the lifts near to the Valtournenche sides will all be later opening – quite possibly not until December.



johnmo, would the top of run 6 be opened even if there isn't enough snow to plan maison? if the top 2 sections of run 6 and top section of run 7 are open thats more than enough to keep me happy for a few days !
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Kj82 wrote:
johnmo, would the top of run 6 be opened even if there isn't enough snow to plan maison? if the top 2 sections of run 6 and top section of run 7 are open thats more than enough to keep me happy for a few days !


Hmm, never seen that done. That is a chairlift from Plan Maison up to the next lift station. Downloading everyone via a chairlift would be a nightmare. The snowmaking down to Plan Maison is really very good. So if the top half of 6 was open I would bet that they would manage to run 6 all the way down to Plan Maison even if it was just a strip of artificial snow between the brown/green.
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good point. i was thinking that you could still ski it and then just head back up the new gondola/cable car up to KM to get back over to run 7. i'm sure i seen a summer ski map for cervinia that showed just the top of run 6 open. whether that was actually the case is a different matter of course.
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Kj82 wrote:
good point. i was thinking that you could still ski it and then just head back up the new gondola/cable car up to KM to get back over to run 7. i'm sure i seen a summer ski map for cervinia that showed just the top of run 6 open. whether that was actually the case is a different matter of course.


That new KM chairlift won't be operational until 2021 (the Swiss only one obviously is open). Even then it will link Plateau Rosa Testa Grigia to KM. There will be no link from Theodulpass (i.e. the top of run 6) to either KM or Testa Grigia (there was in a much earlier version of the plan). In theory you could ski down through the pass into Switzerland and down to Trockener Steg, take the new Trockener Steg to KM lift and then ski down to Testa Grigia at the top of Italian run 7! But that is some route to ask everyone who wants to do the top sections of route 6 to do. A million times easier just to crank up those snowmakers.
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It’s definitely worth going across to the Italian side if you can - completely different ski experience to Zermatt (and lift experience). Just be careful that you don’t miss that last chairlift back to Zermatt - they're militant with the lift closing times and you probably don’t want to spend a night in Cervinia (which happened to a friend)!
In addition to Etoile (which is lovely), you could also try Bontadini for lunch (the downstairs section).
Having said all that, there is also more than enough to keep you busy in Zermatt for a week though, and plenty of off-piste! I’d recommend getting a guide.
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@JohnMo, thanks so much for all the info!
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@Wildsmith, latest Gfs shows temp drop and a big precipitation spike on the 15/16th October. Could be the start of Winter. If it comes to pass the top runs could all be skiable, if open.
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twoodwar wrote:
@Wildsmith, latest Gfs shows temp drop and a big precipitation spike on the 15/16th October. Could be the start of Winter. If it comes to pass the top runs could all be skiable, if open.


Last night's precipitation was a damp squib. It came too early and temperatures stayed high. It has left some snow at 3000m but little below that.
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@Run28, @JohnMo, @twoodwar Thanks for the info, can't wait to explore. Probably going to stick with Summit for the off piste tuition, not bothered about skiing off piste on the glaciers so don't need a guide.

@shellskis its the same in 3 valley's, i normally stay in Courchevel so skiing to Val Theron you're mindful of the time as its a very long and expensive taxi ride back if you miss the last lift Laughing
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Run28 wrote:
Russeh wrote:
I'm looking at Summit for off piste instruction, is there anyone else thats worth considering?


The Summit guys are fantastic in my view and our family will use them every year we visit Zermatt. Then again you can’t go wrong with Stoked as a second option.


I'll be in Zermatt last week in January. Is it common/easy to find three other skiers who'd like to do off-piste to share an instructor? Any sort of noticeboard area?
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rdk wrote:
I'll be in Zermatt last week in January. Is it common/easy to find three other skiers who'd like to do off-piste to share an instructor? Any sort of noticeboard area?


Are you a member of SCGB? They have a rep in town throughout the season. Various things are organised (changing of course as per SCGB generally). But one thing that I think is unlikely to change is that they hire a guide to take a group of members out off piste on Thursday every week.

Alternatively the main mountain school (now branded as “Zermatters”) takes out groups. They need to get a minimum of three punters who want to go on the day. You can call, email them or pop into the centre on Bahnhofstrasse. They are very helpful

https://www.zermatters.ch/en/winter/node/72
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
[quote="Russeh"]@JohnMo, yeah not really on a budget so will get the full pass.

If you're not so much on a budget, I would highly recommend getting a guide for the day who can take you to less trodden off-piste areas and you could even try touring if you fancy. http://alpine-exposure.com/about.html I've used Brian before and he was great. I also believe he leads SCGB some days in Zermatt throughout the season, if you wanted a more affordable option.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@shellskis they look good, well priced but honestly, not sure if i'm ready for that. i've done 1 day off piste in perfect conditions Laughing I'll have a think about it, not going until march so got time.
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