An Autumn day in Zermatt
2nd November 2009 | James Cove, Zermatt
Conditions up on the glacier are pretty good at the moment. All the lifts are open and there are a handful of people enjoying a few pre-season turns. James Cove is there.
It always seems a bit unusual skiing at this time of year. Zermatt though is actually open 365 days a year as it has a glacier that is ideal for year-round skiing.
Most people don’t even realise it is possible to ski now and those that do are probably working hard in offices saving their pennies for the winter ahead.
Well I’m out in Switzerland with my 10-year old son, Max, for his half term week so it seemed silly not to have a ski.
We got the cable car up mid-morning and not only were there a few keen skiers and snowboarders, a bunch of Japanese tourists and athletes training for the coming season, there was also a bottle of tomatoe ketchup bigger than Max.
It was industrial size. You see many of the restaurants are taking up their stock for the coming winter before the first big snowfalls come down and one side of the lift was full of food.
So what were the runs like?
In a word, ‘fantastic’.We were able to get to the top of the Klein Matterhorn and it was open all the ways down to Trockener Steg. A vertical decent of 880m and all the T-bars and chair lifts were running giving a total of 42km of skiing.
More than enough to have fun.
“The snow is great really grippy and with the winter approaching rapidly it is great to get out and get a bit of practice in,” says a friend of mine, Henry Hardy, who we bumped into by chance on one of the cable cars.
Not that Hardy needs much practice as he runs the respected Summit Ski and Snowboard school in the resort and is a pretty fine skier.
I have known him for a decade now and we always seem to bump into each other when I am in Zermatt.
Now don’t assume that it is like mid-winter at this time of year as it is not. In winter there is 350km of skiing and snowboarding here so 42km is not much, but treat it for what it is and you won’t be disappointed.
And what was Max’s memory of the day?
Yes, you’ve guessed it; seeing a bottle of ketchup bigger than him.