Sports & Outdoors

Skiing in Zermatt, Switzerland

World famous for the skiing and snow conditions, there’s plenty of opportunities for all abilities to take to the slopes in Zermatt.

With year round skiing available, Zermatt’s numerous slopes, well-maintained ski areas and diverse skiing options makes it an ideal destination for a skiing holiday.

Skiing in Zermatt, Switzerland

Noted as one of Europe’s best all-round ski resorts, Zermatt has numerous ski areas with plenty of slopes which makes it perfect for both beginners and the more advanced. 

Add in the remarkable mountain scenery, restaurants and charming villages across the area and it’s easy to see why Zermatt is such a popular destination for ski-lovers.

Where is Zermatt?

Zermatt is in southwest Switzerland, close to the Italian border. The town is surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the Swiss Alps, including the Matterhorn, making it popular with skiers, walkers, and mountain bikers. 

Skiers in different colored jackets skiing down a snow-covered mountain.

Driving to Zermatt from Calais

Zermatt itself is mostly car-free, with electric buses, cable cars and trains used within the village when needed. However, there is ample parking nearby, and as everywhere within the resort is within walking distance, this shouldn’t be a deterrent. 

Similarly to driving to other ski resorts in France or Europe, driving to Zermatt from Calais will give you the chance to travel at your own pace, either maximising your time the on the slopes or enjoying the staggering scenery.

The A26 via Reims, Troyes & Dijon

Taking the A26 from Calais is the quickest way to get to Zermatt. The drive will take around 9 and a half hours, and the route includes tolls on the A26 and as you approach the Swiss border.

Although relatively long, the route takes you directly through Reims and past Troyes and Dijon, all of which are wonderful places to stop and spend a few hours, or even days exploring.

Skiing year-round in Zermatt

Like the reliability associated with Val Thorens when it comes to snow, Zermatt is somewhere guaranteed to deliver when it comes to skiing opportunities. As Switzerland’s only year-round ski resort, it is also one of two glaciers in the Alpes to remain open daily. The resort is divided into different areas depending on the season, so you’ll have maximum freedom to book as and when suits you.

Ski resort bar with blue beanbags overlooking the Matterhorn

The three main ski areas

With 360km of slopes (excluding the numerous off-piste options), Zermatt provides skiers with some of the most extensive terrains in Europe. 

The resort is divided into three main sectors, with a fourth area across the Italian border in Cervinia, all of which are connected by an easy to navigate lift system.

Klein Matterhorn-Schwarzsee

Schwarzsee is the start of many of the descents on the Matterhorn and for the Matterhorn Glacier Trail. In the winter, you’ll have direct access to the ski pistes which are often extremely quiet. The area also has cross-border links to Cervinia, a trip which is especially popular in summer where skiers will often breakfast in Switzerland and lunch in Italy. 

If you want to experience all the joys that the slopes have to offer, Schwarzssee is the place. You’ll be able to ski under the North Face of the Matterhorn, starting under the Hornli ridge and travelling on some of the area’s most well-maintained slopes. When you reach the end of your run, the Hornli 6-seater chairlift will take you back up to the start, so you can get ready to go again.

If the snow is good and you fancy going off-piste, you can follow a similar route, and head through the beautiful Schwarzee trees as you ski down the mountain.

Sunnegga-Rothorn

Capture the Matterhorn from its ‘best side’ on the Sunnegga-Rothorn slopes, which highlight the breath-taking scenery perfectly. If you fancy a photoshoot yourself, Rothorn has two photo points that you can use on one of your runs by activating it with your lift pass.

As well as having a wonderful beginner area, Rothorn also has some of Zermatt’s marked freeride trails, which are secured against all alpine dangers. Perfect for giving experienced skiers the chance to enjoy the full powder snow experience, the trails are also very negotiable for inexperienced free riders who want to learn the art of off-piste skiing.

Gornergrat-Stockhorn

Skiing around the Gornergrat area is generally quite relaxing but offers spectacular views of the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountain peaks. Well connected, it’s very easy to spend a morning in Gornergrat before skiing down to Furi and taking the connection to the Klein Matterhorn side of the mountain. 

While Stockhorn also has some free-ride trails, the area’s highlight has to be the Triftji Bumps. Ideal for more experienced skiers who fancy a challenge, in previous years this area in Zermatt has held an annual ‘Bump’ competition for both amateurs and professionals.

It’s worth noting that if you’re thinking of giving the Triftji Bumps ago, you’ll need to perfect your ‘bump’ technique before you start!

Ski schools in Zermatt

Little girl in a red ski suit snow learning to ski holding out her hands to a ski instructor

Regardless of your age or ability, if you want to improve your skills, or get the most out of your skiing holiday, it can be a good idea to spend a few days in ski school. Luckily, Zermatt has plenty for you to choose from depending on what you’re after.

Matterhorn Diamonds Ski School

Having been skiing in Zermatt for over a decade, the guides who teach at the Matterhorn Diamonds Ski School know the slopes inside out. The school exclusively offers private lessons so that they can tailor sessions exclusively to pupils needs and maximise the amount of lesson time.

Stoked Swiss Ski and Snowboard School

Offering private and group sessions, the Stoked Swiss Ski and Snowboard School was Zermatt’s first private school of its kind. They offer lessons for adults and children from 4 years old and have a unique beginner offer that combines ski or snowboard lessons with equipment rental. If you are travelling with children, the school has a Kids Ski Race every Friday which presents all participants with a medal and gift at the finish.

Prato Borni Ski & Snowboard School

Founded by local ski instructors, the Prato Borni Ski & Snowboard School offers private lessons in both summer and winter for children and adults. All sessions are tailor-made to fit each individual’s needs and take place on some of Zermatt’s most beautiful slopes. Because the instructors know the region so well, this is also a great place to pick up some insider tips for any future visits.

Schweizer Ski & Snowboard School

With over 200 multilingual instructors, there’s plenty of opportunities for both children and adults to learn at the Schweizer Ski & Snowboard School. There are classes aimed at both total beginners and those with a little more skiing or snowboarding experience. Again, as most of the instructors are locals, they’ll be more than happy to recommend any hidden ski slopes or areas in the region for you to try.

The interconnected resort of Cervinia-Valtournenche

Skier in a red jacket skiing the pista da sci a Cervinia near Valtournenche

One of the largest ski areas in the Alps, Breuil-Cervinia Valtournenche Zermatt stretches over three valleys, and two countries: Switzerland and Italy. Using routes like the Colle del Theodulo, it is possible for visitors to ski from Zermatt to Cervinia and back again on the same day.

While the Swiss side of the mountain is marvellous, there’s also plenty to recommend a trip across the border. In Cervinia, the slopes are most suitable for intermediate skiers, with some harder options available, and the 8km Ventina ski run is rumoured to be the longest in Europe.

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If you’re itching to get on the slopes, why not start planning a trip to Zermatt with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle? No matter what season, there’s plenty of skiing for you to enjoy when you arrive.

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