we have scheduled in an extra day to accommodate weather or conditions,
we may find ourselves in Zermatt one day early. If this is the case, or
if you simply would like to stay for another day's skiing, there are a
number of options to consider.
our favorite option is the Schwarztor ski descent. This glacier ski route
is a bit like "Vallée Blanche on steroids". We begin
by riding the Klein Matterhorn cable car to its high 3880 meter summit.
As we exit the lift we traverse the Breithorn Plateau, and round the peak
on the south, Italian, side. Between the Breithorn and neighboring Pollux
we pass through the narrow pass of the Schwarztor and find ourselves on
the wonderful north-facing slopes of the upper Schwarze Glacier. We have
always enjoyed good snow here, winding down through occasionally crevassed
slopes. About 4000 feet lower we drop down onto the giant Gorner Glacier
and finish with an unforgettable roller-coaster of a ride through its
melt water carved canyon of ice and a unique descent of the glacier toe.
of the Breithorn
is one of the few 4000 meter peaks in the Alps that presents a reasonable
ski route all the way to the summit. The south, Italian, side of the peak
presents a smooth if steep slope all the way to the summit. After new
snow, avalanches can be a concern, as can the bergschrund at the base
of the final section. But if conditions are good, it is a fun and steep
ski. As with the Schwarztor, we ride the Klein Matterhorn lift and cross
the Breithorn Plateau. From here the route is usually obvious, climbing
the long slope ahead.
of the Cima di Jazzi
We love the ski descent as much as the name. The Jazzi is a 3800 meter summit located on the high ridge that separates the Zermatt and Saas valleys. To reach it, we first ride the lifts to Blauherd, ski down to Gant, then another lift to Hohtäli, above the famous Gornergrat. Another lift and then another descent finally gets us to the summit of the Stockhorn, where we begin our skinning. We ski east, up the spectacularly beautiful ridge to reach the Stockhornpass. From here easy slopes lead up to the summit. The descent is down the northwest face, to the Findel Glacier and then all the way down to Gant. If there is enough snow, we can continue to Zermatt–if not, we'll download on the lift system.
Italy and Cervinia
the Zermatt valley to the north and the Italian town of Cervinia to the
south, complex systems of lifts reach the crest of the Alps and the Swiss-Italian
border, just east of the Matterhorn. Using these lift we can enjoy skiing
in both countries in a single day. A fine day would include a morning
ascent from the Swiss side, skiing the pistes on the south facing Italian
side. At the appropriate time we would ski down into Cervinia for a fine
lunch. Riding the lifts again to the crest we either ski the pistes back
into Zermatt, or for a bit more adventure, ski the off-piste Unter Theodul
Glacier to the Gorner Glacier and finish as per the Schwarztor.