Editor Watts back in Zermatt

23rd March 2017, by Dave Watts

Rush hour on White Hare

Rush hour on White Hare

As regular readers of WTSS will know, Zermatt is my favourite resort in the Alps. And, as in most seasons, I am spending a week here in March.

The first two days (Monday and Tuesday) were brilliant sunshine with excellent snow above 2000m (there’s a lot of terrain here above that level).

So I slipped into my normal routine. Catch 8am train full of commuting workers up to Gornergrat, arriving at 8.33am at over 3000m. After five minutes admiring the views, ski down the completely deserted, immaculately groomed pistes above Riffelberg.

At 8.50am we caught the first Giftlhittli chair back up those slopes. Then it was down the excellent, long, away-from-all-the-lifts, Kelle red run (again deserted and perfectly groomed) down to Gant to catch the first (9.10am) cable car up to Hohtälli at almost 3000m.

The cable car to Hohtälli on our second ride at 9.40am – delightfully quiet

At the top we admired the views letting the ten or so others from the cable car disappear before setting off down my favourite piste in Zermatt – the varied and lovely White Hare, which heads ends up back at Gant after a descent of over 1000m vertical. And yes, it was completely deserted – we had the whole run to ourselves.

After two more laps on the cable car and deserted White Hare, people began to arrive from their slumbers. By now it was 10.30am or so and we had had two hours of glorious isolation amid wonderful scenery on hard but well-groomed pistes.

Monday saw us lunching at Furi and Tuesday at Riffelalp – both excellent in their different ways. Not cheap (around £20 for a simple main course, the same again for a half litre of house red wine) but good quality and very friendly and efficient service.

Wednesday and Thursday saw a warm front appear, meaning fog and cloud low down. It also meant that the Klein Matterhorn area suffered from extremely high winds (50mph or so) and clouds. So the lifts there closed and Italy was out of bounds; we felt sorry for the poor people staying in Cervinia.

But the upper slopes on the Swiss side around Gornergrat and Rothorn were sunny and excellent, if a little breezy in places. And a smattering of new snow on Wednesday night meant some great fresh powder on Thursday.

Tomorrow promises much the same weather and sadly our 7.15am First Track event up the Klein Matterhorn area has been cancelled because of the forecast high winds.

The view at 7.30am on Monday from the Zermatt Lodge living room

We are staying in the luxurious Zermatt Lodge apartment with stunning views run by Mountain Exposure. As well as a huge living room, spacious bedrooms, all with en-suite facilities, the Zermatt Lodge has an outdoor hot tub and indoor sauna and top-notch catering – more on that in a forthcoming blog.

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