Zermatt, Switzerland - 5 days
Trip Start Dec 01, 2005
6Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Not that great when I was there. Apparently, it hadn't snowed for 2 weeks, and whilst I was there, there was not a single cloud in the sky. The weather started off colder, reaching about -18 at the peaks. This warmed up to around -10 towards the end of my stay.
The only runs that were skiable were the groomed runs. The groomed trails were quite crusty to start with, but as the sun shone on it during the day, it softened up and made the snowboarding bearable.
The trails are quite long, of varying quality. I found that I tended to go quite fast along these trails because it got tiring turning all the time - so I just went straight. There was sure a lot of skiiers at this resort. I'm not joking if I tell you that snowboarders were outnumbered 20-1
My snowboard's damage that it suffered in La Plagna resurfaced after 5 days. Although there weren't as many rocks, the snow was pretty much like riding over concrete, especially in the mornings.
I spent a bit of time looking for this mythical line between Switzerland and Italy which is said to exist as you cross into another part of the twin resorts. I never did find it :( though everyone assures me there's a line marking the border. bah!
Ok... enough about the snow.
Special mention had to be made here. The train ride between Geneva and Visp/Zermatt was very impressive. The best to sit on the right hand side of the train (facing forward) so you can get views as the train rides beside Lake Geneva. Look out for a chateau on the edge of the lake (beside the railway tracks). The best time to ride is in the afternoon so you can watch the sun setting over the lake - not something you'd wanna miss as it's very cool
Stayed at a YH in Zermatt, costing about $60AUD per night, and includes buffet breakfast and a 4 course dinner. The YH was quite clean and modern - it can't be more than 3yrs old. The attendant was even nice enough to nuke up some left over dinner for me, as I checked in after dinner time on the night of my arrival. Not a bad meal.
Chances are, the view from your room will overlook the Matterhorn (that funny shaped mountain). The place has lots of energy saving features installed too.
Finding the place isn't easy. The map on the website is very brief, and it doesn't tell you about a steep hill you have to climb before you get there. I spent a good hour looking for it because I was too stingy to pay for a taxi :) Local's directions were ok, except I was quite a bit aways at times, and I had to remember too many turns... and sometimes, the accent just killed me and I had no clue what they were saying
I'd highly recommend staying here as the rates at the resort can range from $100-$300/night depending on class of course. It's also one of the most expensive resorts in Switzerland, so yeh, not bad value.
I had 2 Spanish guys staying in my room who had driven in from Barcelona, and were visiting a few resorts and friends they had in Lausanne. Jordi and Ivan were their names, and I spent 1 day skiing with them. The remaining days were spent with Swiss guys, Dennis and his friend (doh, forgot his name). I didn't get a photo either... but yeh, on our last night we went drinking... er... that's about it.
I met this chick, Minnie at the Ice-Dorf bar on one of the mountains. Err... she was the chick behind the bar, and she was cool. I asked to buy some stickers, to do with the Ice Hotel she was marketing, but they ran out of stickers. She took down my details and said she'd send a few personally selected stickers for free ($2 AUD each) to me when they arrived - wicked! I got a small tour around the hotel as well, not something you're allowed to do, so took the opportunity to take a few photos of the place :) I chatted to this guy at the bar, Mattius, a landscaper from Switzerland
There was this bloke at the hostel, Andrey (pronounced Andre), who's a bit strange. He's one of those guys that talks about things, without too much concern for political correctness, or without care for offending anyone. He seemed to have a gripe about grooming schools, where they groom girls to become ladies, to marry rich and stuff. I think his mum was one of those, and just from the way he talked of those schools, he seemed to resent them/her for it. It's so sad...
There was also Vincent, a Korean dude on a skiing holiday by himself around Europe. I can't remember his Korean name (as if you could either!). And there was this american army bloke (airport traffic control) who's visiting Zermatt from Germany where his base is located. He's been travelling for 5yrs in his job, being posted all around the world and loving it.
* Definitely, try to catch a full moon riding on the Gornergrat train
* Try the one and only crepery in Zermatt. It's small and cute. No stools, just stand at the counter and enjoy your meal!
* Ride on every single kind of cable car/gondola/train in the whole resort. Every little ride is a bit different. Being squash in a cable car can rehash memories of peak our Tokyo if you're lucky.
* Help 2 elderly ladies carry their heavy luggage up a steep slope all the way to their apartment door. It scores brownie points for your country.
I caught an earlier train back from Zermatt to Geneva, just so I could look out the train while there was still sunlight. Unfortunately, a low cloud was hanging over the whole lake, so I couldn't see the sun setting again. Even this little setback couldn't stop me staring out the window in a trance, for practically the whole 3.5hr trip to the airport.