We just got back from a long weekend skiing in Zermatt, Switzerland, and I am already aching to go back. Aching literally – my body is quite sore from all of the skiing! Our four day trip involved two and a half days of skiing, two rounds of Settlers of Catan, and lots of après ski. We experienced near perfect ski conditions, two beautiful sunny days, and surprisingly empty pistes. It was such an incredible weekend in Zermatt; I honestly fall more in love with the place every time I visit!
A Couples Getaway
We planned this trip with our friends Fliss and Brian as a pre-Valentine’s Day ski weekend, and it turned out to be an even better weekend than I expected it to be. Skiing in Zermatt is always fun, and it’s extra fun when we get to enjoy it with friends. The weekend was meant to be filled with skiing, après ski, and chilled nights at the flat; we managed to accomplish those pretty well, and even veered from our plan a bit for some extra fun!
After a rather nerve-wrecking drive up the mountain late at night while it was snowing, we arrived in Täsch, our base for weekends in Zermatt. Täsch is the village closest to Zermatt and it is incredibly easy to get between the two; a shuttle runs every 20 minutes and takes about 15. We went straight to bed on arrival, eager to start skiing the next day.
The next morning, the boys ran out to the grocery store and started on breakfast before Fliss and I even woke up. We quickly ate, jumped on the train, and headed into Zermatt to pick up our skis from the rental shop. We rented from Skiset – the prices were great, the service not so much! Once we had our skis, it was time to start skiing. We spent our first day skiing at Sunnega, our second at Gornergrat, and our third doing a mix of the two. If you’re familiar with skiing in Zermatt, those names probably make sense to you; if not, here’s a handy map.
Skiing in Zermatt (& Après Skiing, too!)
Our days started on piste and ended off piste at one of Zermatt’s many après ski bars. After a good first day of skiing at Sunnega, we took the funicular back down to the bottom and went for a few drinks at Cervo. We found a perfect seat and sat listening to live music and admiring the mountain views.
The second day wasn’t as glamorous. Our intention was to go to the Igloo Bar after a long day skiing at Gornergrat; however, extremely windy conditions forced us to end our ski day early, much to Sean’s disappointment (I think he’d keep skiing in an avalanche if he had the choice!). Instead of heading home early, we parked ourselves at the Brown Cow Pub for some drinks. Then, on the last day, we went for a marathon of après ski – wine at Chez Vrony before skiing down, drinks at Harry’s Ski Bar right after returning our skis, and some more at Time Out, the sports bar, while watching England play in Six Nations. It was the grand finale of our trip, after all!
Old Favorites & New Favorites
The majority of the weekend was spent sharing our favorite spots with Fliss & Brian, or rather Sean’s family’s favorite spots that have now also become ours. From our go-to après ski bars mentioned above to Cafe du Pont, our go-to fondue restaurant, we pretty much covered the best of the best. However, we now owe a huge thanks to Fliss for introducing us to a new favorite spot, albeit accidentally.
On our third day, Fliss wanted to stop for hot chocolate at a restaurant we had skied past many times. They had sheep skins on the seats and blankets to wrap up in and she figured it was the type of place that would know how to make real hot chocolate. She was right – and so began our discovery of Chez Vrony. The restaurant is everything you could want from a mountainside Alpine restaurant – the chalet feel, the coziness, and the friendly staff which include the owners themselves. We did not eat there, but we did return later that day to enjoy a bottle of wine alongside stunning views of the Matterhorn. It’s most likely now going to be a spot that we visit every time we are skiing in Zermatt!
Until Next Time…
Sean and I make it out to Zermatt every year at least once (well, three years running for me), but it would be great to go out with friends more often! I think the four of us all agree that it was a great ski weekend and that we all pretty much left better and more confident skiers than when we arrived. In the end, Fliss was the only one to end the weekend with a clean record – 0 falls compared to my two, Sean’s faceplant into the snow, and Brian’s epic fall & recovers.
It’s been a long journey to get me feeling confident in my ski legs after a broken arm incident nearly 15 years ago. However, after this trip, I finally feel like I’m getting there! In fact, this is our first ski trip that has not somehow led to me crying on the mountain out of pure exhaustion and frustration. I can only hope this confidence carries over to next season…or that we can squeeze in one more ski trip this season – and a couple more visits to Chez Vrony, of course!
P.S. I mentioned in our 2017 Travel Plans post that we want to improve our photography this year. The stars can be pretty incredible in Täsch so I knew I wanted to capture them, and we gave it a go this trip. With a full moon & clear skies after a incredibly cloudy and windy day, we managed to get our first ever stars shot. Of course, there are still many ways we could improve – but we’re quite proud that you can see Orion’s Belt in this photo!
Planning on skiing in Zermatt soon?
Sean’s been visiting for years and is pretty much an expert on the place, to an extent. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below and he’ll be happy to pass on his knowledge!
8 thoughts on “Skiing in the Swiss Alps”
Hi there! My husband and I are looking into going to Zermatt to ski over Christmas this year. We were thinking about getting an Airbnb and we wanted to know what your recommendations are regarding best areas to stay to be close to the gondola as well as to have a good social scene. Also, since you’ve skied there quite often, which type of pass would you recommend getting? It looks like there’s quite a few options on their website. Thanks for your help!
How fun – Christmas is such a great time to visit. We are going at New Years this year! If you are staying in Zermatt, you can stay pretty much anywhere – Zermatt is small enough that the walks to all of the lifts will be manageable, even in ski boots. There are three lift stations and you’ll probably want to start at each of them at some point, so you really can stay anywhere. The buses are also free and go to all of the lift stations if you don’t want to walk.
In terms of ski passes, I recommend the full-day domestic pass, unless you’re planning on skiing into Italy frequently. You don’t need to have shuttle included on your ski pass if you’re staying in Zermatt, only if you stay in one of the villages a bit further out. If you wish to ski into Italy at some point, you can always upgrade on that day to an international pass. Also, not sure if you’ve already seen this, but we have a blog post on Zermatt’s best apres ski spots, if you’re looking for the social scene!
HI! My husband and I will be traveling to Zermatt (staying in an airbnb in zermatt) for a few days at the end of march/beginning of april for the first time. He is a more experienced skier and I am a true beginner. Any recommendations as far as ski rental, ski schools or the best place for each of us to start skiing so we can do at least a little together. Also any advice on bars/restaurants, other activities and spas would be so appreciated. Basically anything you can tell us would be a huge help. Thank you so much!
Hi Amy! So exciting – you’ll absolutely love Zermatt! We always do lessons through Summit Ski School and have always loved it. They’re the British ski school in Zermatt so everyone speaks incredible English and they’re one of the more affordable options. We’ve also heard good things about Stoked but haven’t used them ourselves.
For ski rental, Bayard is the best for premium rentals and their customer service is great (they’re the most expensive, though). We usually go to one of the Skiset locations if we’re looking for a budget rental, and Dorsaz Sport is a good mid-range option. All three have different price levels depending on what you’re looking for.
Whenever we go, we always spend our first day skiing at Sunnegga, which is a great ski area for beginners and advanced skiers. That’s where Summit usually does their lessons as well. Gornergrat is another great area for beginners as there are a ton of blue (easy) runs and a red that go down to the same lift so you can always split up and meet at the bottom if that works best for you guys!
For restaurants, we love Chez Vrony and Alder Hitta on the mountain (both are in the Sunnegga area), Cafe du Pont for fondue in the village, and Cervo and Harry’s Ski Bar for apres ski. Also, the Brown Cow is a great pub-like spot that does incredible chicken wings. We also have a post on Apres Ski in Zermatt if you want to learn more about those places!
Hello! My boyfriend and I will be there next month (November). We are staying in Zurich and were trying to research the easiest way to get to a ski resort and the best option for day skiing. Thank you!
Hi Kourtney! Sorry for the delay – hope I’m not too late getting back to you. Unfortunately, many ski resorts will still be closed or won’t have a ton of snow since the season hasn’t really started yet. I’m only really familiar with Zermatt, which is a 3.5 hour train ride from Zurich. Not great for a day trip; however, it’s a really lovely place to visit so if you can stretch it and spend a night there, I’d definitely recommend you check it out.
Awesome post with great info! I’m planning a trip and wondering if you know if there’s a pass that allows you to jump from resort to resort? Or would we have to book each one separately? Thanks so much in advance!
Hi, I am looking to go on a solo trip skiing to Zermatt for a long weekend in a few weeks (end of November). Do you think it’s worthwhile doing (as Zermatt is quite expensive) and do you have any recommendations of places to stay/restaurants/bars to eat at? Are people generally friendly? Just general tips would be appreciated, it’ll be my first solo ski trip! Thanks in advance!