Friday, 29 January 2016

Activities on offer this winter season in Zermatt

Activities on offer this winter season in Zermatt

For those of you who know Zermatt, you will already appreciate a lot of what it has to offer. The charm of the traditional Swiss chocolate box village, with an abundance of gourmet restaurants; coupled with arguably one of the greatest ski areas in the world, surrounded by the 38 four thousand meter peaks. However, even if you have been coming to Zermatt for years, there is always something new to try and experience.

“First Track” – For those serious about their riding, and fans of the early hours

As a skier or boarder, there is arguably no better sensation than riding an area of untouched, fresh snow. As ski resorts become busier and busier, that experience can be harder to come across. The team at Zermatt Bergbahnen appreciate this, and have offered a solution to fulfill your desires!

“First Track” gives you exclusive enjoyment of the sun’s early rays and virgin pistes within the Matterhorn ski paradise, allowing you to carve the first tracks in the snow before the day’s skiing officially starts. The descent is followed by a hearty buffet-style breakfast at the restaurant Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.

“First Track” is available every Wednesday and Friday throughout the skiing season, and departs at 0740 from the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise lift station. Prices are as follows. Adults CHF 42.00; Children 9-16 yrs CHF 33.50; and Children under 9 yrs CHF 16.50. (must have a valid ski pass)

Moonlight Descents – Great for a romantic evening or unique skiing and culinary experience

So you have now experienced being the earliest skiers on the slopes with “First Track” – now is the chance to go to the other end of the scale, and be the last riders on the mountain. Moonlight descents occur only when there is a full moon (two evenings every month), but if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Zermatt for a full moon, this is certainly not to be missed!

Dress up warm, as you’ll be heading into the snow-covered, magical mountain world of the Rothorn. Enjoy a Traditional Swiss Fondue in the cosy Restaurant Rothorn and prepare yourself for the thrill that awaits. The moonlight is so bright that visibility is almost as clear as day time, with the light even casting your shadow on the slopes!

Moonlight descents meet at the Sunnegga lift station at 1845. Prices are as follows. Adults CHF 60.00; Children 9-16 yrs CHF 48.00; and Children under 9 yrs go free.

Tobogganing – The number one recommendation for families

Spent the day on the slopes but still looking for more from the mountains? Tobogganing is a great way to round off the afternoon, enjoy some of the greatest views Zermatt has to offer, and access parts of the mountains inaccessible by skiing.

Head up the lifts as the skiers and boarders are coming down, for a quaint and unique experience of the mountains. Great routes coming down from Sunnegga as well as Furi, passing traditional hamlets and a range of mountain restaurants as you go. Tobogganing is a great activity for young and old alike, and brings the family together regardless of their abilities or fears on the slopes!

Toboggans can be hired in most of the sports shops throughout Zermatt. Trips are every Tuesday and Thursday, and meet at 1930 at either the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise lift station or Sunnegga lift station. Prices are as follows. Adults CHF 11.00; Children 9-16 yrs CHF 5.50; and Children under 9 yrs go free.

Air Zermatt – One for the thrill seekers

Air Zermatt has been operating in the region since 1968, and has built up their reputation known for reliability and speed. Predominantly as a mountain rescue and material transport service, Air Zermatt also offer tourist flights for the thrill seekers.

If skiing or boarding alone is not enough of an adrenaline rush, heliskiing has to be given a try! Fulfilling two wishes at the same time, experience a helicopter ride surrounded by 4000m peaks, passing the Matterhorn and landing on one of the high altitude landing sites. Then comes the descent down virgin slopes, through the stunning high alpine glacial landscape – always safely under the watchful eye of a local mountain guide.

For those who fancy the great views and thrill of a helicopter ride, but aren’t comfortable with the extreme skiing that follows, sightseeing flights are also available. More information on offers and prices are available at

For more information on activities and offers available in Zermatt - visit or

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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Legendary Lauberhorn Race Weekend 15 - 17th January 2016

The Jungfrau region is buzzing this week in anticipation of the legendary Lauberhorn world cup alpine ski race! This is a unique event and the Swiss are really working hard to showcase this stunning area and event. As I come from Great Britain you simply do not get this kind of event in Britain, it is simply unique, the eagerness and excitement that you get from speaking to local people in the towns and villages in the area makes you excited to be in a place where you can experience a simply special event that is steeped in history and prestige. 

So lets have a quick overview of the event itself with some facts and figures; 

  • First International Lauberhorn Race held in 1930
  • Starts on the Lauberhorn mountain, located between Grindelwald and Wengen.
  • The Lauberhorn downhill race is the longest on the FIS world cup circuit. 
  • The course is 4.48 Km (2.78 miles) long with competitor times being over two minutes.
  • The are three different disciplines over three days, combined, slalom and downhill.
  • Over 30,000 Spectators expected attend over the three days.
  • 1st place in the downhill awarded 110,000 CHF (£76,100).
Along the world cup course itself there has been a frenzy of activity in preparation for one of the biggest sporting events on the Swiss sporting calendar, grandstands, TV towers, food & drink stalls being erercted and most importantly safety fencing for the race track itself! With over 30,000 spectators expected nothing is being left to chance, with typical Swiss efficiency everything is starting to fall into place nicely!

The race is one of the crown jewels in the FIS international calendar and is deemed to be one of the toughest tests a downhill racer can face. The course starts from the top the Lauberhorn mountain with some extremely challenging sharp turns as it winds down the mountain to the finish area in Wengen. Along the way there are some iconic turns and jumps that push the competitors to their limits such as the Hundschopf jump (pictured), which can only be described by an average skier such as myself as a cliff! It is quite incredible how the competitors take this jump at high speed. 

As the racers progress down the mountain they will typically achieve speeds in excess of 90 mph, with Johan Clarey setting the speed record in 2013 after he went through the speed trap at 100.6 mph. This is the longest and fastest track on the circuit after all!

The build up begins on Tuesday 12th January with the first training runs commencing at 11:30! The official opening of the International Lauberhorn races is on Thursday 14th January at 17:45 in Wengen, with the much anticipated drawing of the numbers commencing at 18:15. Keep your eyes on the skies this week as the Swiss air force will be flying around practising for the air displays that will be happening on Saturday. 

After the Race!

Once the racing is over people don't simply head home, there are multiple apres events happening in Wengen and Grindelwald, with ticket holders having access to the world cup village where there is live music and entertainment starting at 7pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If you are staying in Grindelwald many bars are holding Lauberhorn race after parties! Its not only in Wengen you can meet with friends and other spectators to discuss the day's events!


A full race program, details regarding training runs, and the race itself can be found here

For tickets please visit the official website;

If you have never seen the Lauberhorn race before then watch this video, with former world cup downhill skier Graham Bell giving a great POV of the track itself. 

It's not too late to come out and enjoy this amazing sporting spectacle! It's a once in a lifetime experience!