Zermatt is a paradise for skiers, it is not a secret! The town is full of them during the winter season. While, summer is mainly for hikers and climbers, the lovers of winter sports can find something for themselves even during summer season. Zermatt offers a great summer ski experience on the glacier of Klein Matterhorn at the altitude of 3883 meters. This is the largest and the highest summer ski area in Europe! The total length of pistes is 21 km, which is not an impressive amount but trust me… The experience is unforgettable. For more information visit Zermatt information website.
Buying a ski-pass
It is very easy to buy a ski-pass. You can buy it at any cable car station, tourist office or simply via smartphone app. I recommend to buy them either from a tourist office or simply from the box office at the cable car station. All staff speaks in three languages, German, French and English so if you speak in one of those languages at least on a basic level you should not have any problems! Ski-passes are quite pricey, but children up to 9 years old go free and then children between 9 and 16 pay half price. And of course it is worth it! The ski-pass includes journey by cable car from Zermatt up to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise ski resort and all the ski lifts at the resort.
Important fact! The ski area in the summer days is opened from 6.00 in the morning until 13.00 only! After that time the sun is too strong and simply
melts the top layer of the glacier.
Ski and kit hire
We came a little unprepared. We did not take our skis or boots. Simply because our car is not big enough to fit everything in. This is the beauty of being low income, common family. Anyways, we had our ski jackets and trousers. So we have decided to rent skis and boots. In Zermatt, there are plenty of places where you can hire a kit.
Some cheaper that others but all certainly offers great selection of good quality skis, snowboards etc. We have decided to choose the one which is next to the cable car station, so we did not have to carry the equipment too far. The shop opened at 8.00 in the morning while the ski resort was already opened for two hours. We measured all the equipment day before skiing, we could either take it with us or leave it in the shop and pick it up on the day of skiing. So we went for second option. We were staying in Tasch, the village next to Zermatt, so it would be too difficult to carry all the heavy stuff back and forth with moaning children. Too stressful! So we picked up our kit on the 8.00 am we the shop opened.
I must say that the cable cars in Zermatt are world’s first class! They will take you nearly everywhere! We took of from Zermatt (Matterhorn Express cable car station) to Trockener Steg. The journey takes around 20 minutes but, to be honest I was so amazed by the views that I have not really timed the ride, so it could be anything between 10 to 30 minutes! Then at the Trockener Steg we left the Matterhorn Express cable cars and change to a different, larger cable car labelled Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. These are amazingly designed engineering masterpieces! The cable cars had heated seats!!! Yes! Heated seats!!!
And the journey was just breath taking! Everywhere I looked I saw these amazing alpine views. I could not believe where I was! The cars are made mainly out of glass so I felt like I was flying 170 meters above the glacier! It was quite strange feeling though, there was no posts in between the stations to hold the lines. We were deeply concern that we could simply fall down. The I could see that the lines of the cable car are leading to a mountain. Literally, inside the mountain! There was no buildings around, just a hole in the mountain! Truly surreal feeling! Then on the other hand the carriage was so comfy, warm and spacious. We could fit all our equipment – skis, poles and rucksacks.
What can I say about skiing? It was awesome! The blue sky, the views, white crispy snow! Just amazing! The resort has a few lifts operating in summer and trust me – even though it is not a massive area at this time of the year you can still find a space for skiing. There are lifts and slopes for all abilities.
The problem occurred when Mr Sting asked “Can I go on that big slope?”. I regretted that I have answered “yes, sure”. My dear husband disappear for one and a half hour! Left me on the slope with two inpatient children who did not wanted to make any effort to move. The slopes are quite long so the children were getting tired very quickly. The altitude did not help them, I think the felt it a little bit.
Eventually dad has appeared and made Froggy to ski intensively, which he was not impressed with. Although, Froggy was very vocal and occasionally refusing to cooperate, brave Mr Sting carried on. Mr Sting the best dad!
We loved the experience! It felt so unusual and crazy! Especially for us! Being in this place! The common family, skiing in rented equipment and wearing kit from Decathlon! Moreover, Mr Sting was wearing a ski jacket bought in 1997 from a Polish brand which does not exist anymore! No wonder people call us weirdos!
Few notes to conclude
- Matterhorn looks so different from this angle, almost not like Matterhorn
- there was lost of professional skiing teams training on the slopes, some slopes were even closed
- skiing in rented skis and clothing bought at Decathlon made us feeling quite amateur. Some of the equipment I saw, I could buy an expensive car for it!
- the queues to the ski lifts were non existent, people could jump in the front of you at any point
- use sun protection cream, A LOT OF IT!!! And reapply! OFTEN! We used sun cream, but still managed to get burned! Mr Sting had burned skin under his beard!