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Zermatt (and Cervinia) 2017/18

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
cervinia888 wrote:
I am planning to hit Cervinia in early March. Does anybody have experience of the snow conditions at this point in the season. I usually go late January and early February.


Cervinia, like Zermatt, is very high. Generally I think that is good (although there are some interesting contrary views on this thread). One issue about being high is that the top is glacier and below the glacier is rocky. Therefore the off piste and itineraries are best when it has a full covering of snow. For example the best of the Zermatt itineraries donít even plan to open until late January when the snow cover will be sufficient.

By early March the snow cover will be great, everything will be in full swing and there will be plenty of off piste. Even if the weather is warm, the height now is a real advantage because the snow stays in good condition all day long. However, Cervinia is fairly south facing (strictly more south west facing). This means that if is very warm even Cervinia might start getting a bit slushy. Valtournenche even more so Ė although it is a bit more west facing it is distinctly lower. However the solution is easy Ė just pop over to the Swiss side. The areas closest to Cervinia (Klein Matterhorn and Schwarzsee) are very north facing and even in a warm early March the snow will be good (and the itineraries on those two areas are great). While the link over to Switzerland can sometimes get closed by high winds that happens a lot less in March than at this time of year.
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@Newbie72,

I do Geneva to Zermatt but I would have thought road conditions would be similar. There is absolutely no way I would risk it without winter tyres.
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Thank you, will sort the winter tyres!
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Currently in Zermatt. Snowed today until about 1pm to freshen things up nicely. Pistes very quiet, no queues. Sun out all day yesterday, again this afternoon and predicted for most of the week. Hardly any wind. Couldn't ask for anything more!

Black run 8 was being groomed this afternoon so hopefully open tomorrow.
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Newbie72 wrote:
Another day, another stupid question.

In pulling together all the docs for our trip (we fly on Friday) I have realised that I have (inadvertently) booked a car from the French side of Geneva Airport rather than the Swiss side (as we did previously). Iíve just done a bit of research about the difference (seems the French side is more difficult to find on the way back to drop off the car, don't have the vignette which we'll have to buy somewhere) but the main point is that the French side donít appear to provide winter snow tyres as standard. Iíve just looked up the details and whilst its not obligatory to have them (car rental company has confirmed that), its advisable Ė but at a cost of 35 euros a day (which is more than the car hire cost us!).

2 years ago, there was no snow on the roads on the way or in Cervinia itself. We didnít use the car at all whilst we were there, and wonít this time. Should I get winter tyres / snow chains?


It snowed in Cervinia and Valtournenche today from 8am to 1pm, though not terribly heavy down at resort level. Iíd say 10-15cm. There was snow on the road all the way down to Antey, and progress was quite slow during the storm. I saw loads of people pulled over between Val and Cervinia putting on chains. Iíd expect the roads will be completely clear again in a day or two, so if there is no new snow, youíd probably be fine. But it shows how little it takes to make the chains worthwhile.
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Snow conditions this morning looking great with an extra dusting of 10-15cm across the mountains. Be careful on some of the little off piste rat runs - unsure how stable things will be.

If you're heading out this weekend / are already in town, then you're in for a treat. Some great piste conditions to be had!

Good to see black 62 up and running this AM.
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Newbie72 wrote:
Thank you, will sort the winter tyres!


I don't know if you know but you will also need a Swiss motorway vignette (cost CHF40). On the Swiss side they come as standard but not on cars hired on the French side. If you are lucky a previous hirer will have been through Switzerland and there will be a one on the screen already. Otherwise you can buy one when you cross into Switzerland (indeed they will insist you do!). In theory it is possible to get onto the French motorway system to Italy without coming through Switzerland but it is quite a hike on minor roads.
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Thank you - I did know about the vignette but thank you. Getting excited now!
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Another question (just because Iím getting such good advice on all my other silly questions!).

Valtourneche skiing for a bit of variety (there was very little snow in Valtourneche when we last went to Cervinia so didnít ski there at all) Ė from looking at the piste / lift map, if you are based in Cervinia (as we are) then you can easily ski down to Valtourneche but it looks as though you canít get all the way back up (to Cime Bianci where I think you need to get back to in order to ski back down to Cervinia at the end of the day) without doing what looks like quite a long drag lift at the very top. Is that correct? Family of 5 with 3 children Ė drags are complicated!

We could potentially drive down to Val and park there Ė would that be worth it? Any comments?

Thanks
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@Newbie72

That is right. You can ski into the Valtournenche bowl from the Cervinia bowl in one of two ways. For both you must take the lifts up to Laghi Cime Blanche. Then you can take the lift up to Plateau Rosa and ski across to Valtournenche. The top section of piste from Plateau Rosa is excellent but it is steep (even though it is only a red). The alternative is to ski from Laghi Cime Blanche down to the bottom of lift Z. That is an open old chair lift. Unusually for Cervinia it is over a North (or at least north West) facing piste. So at this time of year it can be very cold.

As you say the problem is coming back you need to take a drag lift (h) (a button lift). It is right on the ridge so if it is windy it is not pleasant. It is not as long as the t-bars that take you back from Trockener Steg if the Klein Matterhorn lift is closed. Iíd also say button lifts are easier for children than t bars. Once the lifty gets the button between their legs there is a lot less chance of something going wrong.

If you donít fancy that and want to travel by road to the bottom of Valtournenche I understand there is a bus transfer but I have never used it myself so I canít compare it to simply driving and parking up.
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The said drag lift is evil - my 7Y old fell of it exactly 3 years ago, I was behind him (I'm on a board) and had to get off to pick him up and ski back down to the bottom with him ... he wasn't very impressed, nor was I.

Never been to Valtourneche since (have been in Zermatt twice since then)!
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bedrock barney wrote:
Currently in Zermatt. Snowed today until about 1pm to freshen things up nicely. Pistes very quiet, no queues. Sun out all day yesterday, again this afternoon and predicted for most of the week. Hardly any wind. Couldn't ask for anything more!

Black run 8 was being groomed this afternoon so hopefully open tomorrow.


Open now.
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Just got back from five days (four skiing) in Zermatt. Never been before. My first impressions?

Great place, with something about it that is rather magical. Very glad I went. Will go again as soon as I can.

On the first couple of days, I was surprised by what appeared to be rather poor grooming of pistes. Hard and scraped on Gornergrat and Rothorn, for example, and the gentle runs served by the T bars on the Theodul glacier were so "sticky" it was like trying to slide on flypaper. A lot of poling at the end. Also, in four days we never managed to get over to Italy, despite relatively good weather for the most part. On two days, the Klein Matterhorn cable car was operating, but the relevant pistes weren't open, for some strange reason. On another day, my wife went up by the T-bars, but again no link was open, despite bluebird conditions and lots of snow.

However, during the second half of our trip the piste machines finally came out of hiding, and the transformation was amazing. We spent a lot of time zooming around the Shwartzee sector on well-groomed runs amidst jaw-dropping scenery. Pistes 51 and 52 were wonderful (although the latter has an uphill section in the woods - and I really do mean uphill; you have to take your skis off and walk for perhaps 150 m.) Also enjoyed Red 35 on Gornergrat, Blue 36, Red 44 from Hotilli, Red 29... all great runs in wonderful scenery and perfect conditions. No lift queues, lovely uncrowded slopes (I gather the season only really kicks off at the end of this week.)

Plenty of snow, even in the town. We could actually ski back to our hotel (Schonegg) although the run back along the track through the woods had a nasty surprise lurking in the form of an unexpectedly steep section hidden around a corner; I didn't think I could risk attempting to turn on this narrow bit of Eiger Nordwand, so I side-slipped down when nobody was looking and went off before they could laugh at me. Zermatt is probably not a particularly good place for timid intermediates.

Food etc was expensive, but generally good value, if you see what I mean. A half litre of local beer was just 6.50 chf at Chez Vrony, which I thought was incredible cheap, given the context; I mean, I recall having to pay 11 Euros for a small bottle of cider at Val Thorens two years ago. At the Brown Cow, in Zermatt town, local beer was 7.5 chf. Perfectly acceptable, I reckon.

I was dreading the buses, but they turned out to be fine. We never waited more than 4 mins (usually less) and while one bus back from the Matterhorn Express at the end of the day was rammed, it was all very good natured. Luckily, our hotel, although perched 200 ft above the river, with incredible views out over Zermatt, had a lift and a James Bond-style tunnel emerging just by the river, one min from the entrance to the Sunnegga funicular, 1 min from the bus stop for the Matterhorn Express, or 6 mins from the Gornergrat railway station. So all pretty convenient.

As for the dreaded electric vehicle menace, this didn't seem to be much of a problem. Most drivers were pretty well behaved, I thought. I suppose the problem might be that some pedestrians wear ear-covering headgear (and/or have had a lot to drink...) If anything, the mountain bikes being ridden without lights were a greater potential problem.

The town itself was wonderfully picturesque, and looked incredibly festive in the snow. There is a real buzz about Zermatt and it was a great place to be just before Christmas. I shall be back.
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@mitcva,

Great report! Love Zermatt. Currently in the resort (3rd time here). Have skied nearly every run but never tried 51 or 52. Will try to head that way tomorrow although we are planning on spending a day in Cervinia.

The buses can get very busy at peak times although very frequent. Thankfully no problems this week as it's pre main season.
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JohnMo wrote:
bedrock barney wrote:
Currently in Zermatt. Snowed today until about 1pm to freshen things up nicely. Pistes very quiet, no queues. Sun out all day yesterday, again this afternoon and predicted for most of the week. Hardly any wind. Couldn't ask for anything more!

Black run 8 was being groomed this afternoon so hopefully open tomorrow.


Open now.


It certainly is. Skied it today. Nearly all in shadow this time of the year so pretty cold. Piste a bit marbly and scalped in places but generally good snow cover. By the way the snow machines are working hard all over the resort.
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Nice review @mitcva, I feel the same about Zermatt. Only been there in January and usually visiting for a day at a time while staying along the valley.

It does have something special about it that makes me want to return, others I've taken there all felt that way too. Last time there we skied right through town to railway station.
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Down the valley the langlauf (cross country skiing) opened a couple of days ago. The route goes between Tšsch and Randa. Didnít manage to get it open for Xmas either of the last two years.
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Nice to see 14 Kumme open in time for the weekend - all looking quite healthy in terms of runs open for people there for the Christmas week!
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Great report. I love Zermatt too. Of all the places I have visited, skiing and non skiing Zermatt is probably joint top with NYC. Just ahead of Rome. Skiings not bad either. Magical hits the right spot for me. Back in Feb for the 6th time Cool Hope the anticipated snow just after Christmas comes to pass.
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Skied 14 Kumme today. Not too bad although I think the cover is pretty thin. The adjacent 12 and 13 runs not yet open.

Also skied 25 (Black) this afternoon. Very icy!!
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Iím sitting here at the bottom of 11 watching the snow come down. Itís been snowing since 2pm yesterday, which is perfect because a lot of the runs into town (1, 42 and 50) are getting pretty icy.

Besides the lower icy stuff on home runs, snow is in great nick and they had something like 45 lifts open before the weather closed in. Doing very well for this time of year. Iíve been told is is snowing down in town today. So all good.
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Just returned from 6 day snowboarding in Cervinia. Really enjoyed it and loved the place!!! Thank you for all who posted reviews and/or replies here, you were very helpful! If I can help anyone, please just ask, as I will be happy to pass on all of what I learned there Smile

I stayed from 17 to 23th December, and I went to both Zermatt and Valtourneche, I am an intermediate and it was very nice for me! Thanks again for all the help, snowheads Blush
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BartMasters wrote:
Iím sitting here at the bottom of 11 watching the snow come down. Itís been snowing since 2pm yesterday, which is perfect because a lot of the runs into town (1, 42 and 50) are getting pretty icy.

Besides the lower icy stuff on home runs, snow is in great nick and they had something like 45 lifts open before the weather closed in. Doing very well for this time of year. Iíve been told is is snowing down in town today. So all good.


Well it is certainly coming down heavily in Tšsch just down the valley from Zermatt. Most of the time I spend praying to the snow gods and they answer my prayers when I have to walk half a mile to the nearest restaurant! It was beautiful seeing the valley all the way up from VIsp in a white blanket. Such a contrast to this time last year (and the year before wasn't great at this time). Unfortunately we have too much to do at the apartment tomorrow but I am really excited to get up there on Friday.
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Just home from Cervinia. Left at 3pm this afternoon. About 30cm of snow last night and snowed heavily all day. Snow was awesome but visibility was awful. Had a great 6 days.
Up until about 3pm yesterday (Boxing Day) it'd been clear blue skies.

Thank you in particular for advice about skiing further into Zermatt and Valtourneche (John). Followed your advice to the letter for Zermatt and did some great blue runs from Gornegrat (including stopping off at the Igloo village which the children loved) and then skied down the red through the trees from Riffelberg to Furi. Loved it and definitely some chocolate box views. Also tried Valtourneche - great advice again and only one slight mishap with 8yr old on the button lift to get back to Cervinia 😄 but 2nd attempt all good!!

Definitely sorry to leave - the snow is great (although not an expert!)
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A good advert for Zermatt this morning. While snowmageddon is hitting transfer day at most resorts the trains are running up and down the valley no problem and then on to Geneva and Zurich airports.

Not much skiing to be had today for obvious reasons. They have managed to open up the Sunnegga sector up to Blauherd but that is it. The Mrs and I are heading off for a walk but I think it will be a short one - the snow is gorgeously deep.
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Webcams looking amazing JohnMo!
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twoodwar wrote:
Webcams looking amazing JohnMo!


Superb just to be out in it. We walked up to Furi in gentle snow. The pistes down from Gornegrat were all open by that time with everyone having a wonderful time. By the time we got back to Zermatt late afternoon it had turned to rain. Very usporting but it would still have been snow up in the mountains. Fortunately even down here in Tšsch, 170m lower down, it has now turned back to snow and the radar suggests that will last until at least 9 o'clock. What a superb week for anyone who has come out for the new year. I am back out on skis tomorrow and ridiculously excited.
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Riffleberg webcam showing +11c?.
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Just came back from holidays in the States to see that snow depths have more than doubled. Catching up to the other areas that have been getting buried! Sweet! And the forecast looks favorable with Atlantic storms and a flow from the south. I wish I was going back in the next few weeks. Enjoy.
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twoodwar wrote:
Riffleberg webcam showing +11c?.


Weird doesnít begin to describe it. It was April temperatures with late January snow. Great stuff to be out in. I think every Swiss person in a 200 mile radius had headed here today. Coupled with the New Years week crowd all wanting to ski on their first full day made for a very full ski area. But heh itís a big mountain(s) and I love to see people enjoy themselves.

I did my usual thing on such days and headed off to Schwarzsee. It is never as busy. While it can be cold and dark at this time of year that was no problem in todayís glorious sunshine and heatwave. The pistes there were not as busy as the other areas and there is enough off piste for everyone. It was not what a purist would call champagne powder. It was a bit too wet and heavy for that. But it was deep, untouched and great fun.

Looks like there is a snow top up just a few hours away. Tonightís New Year fireworks in the church square will seem even better than usual. snowHead
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Envious JohnMo, we have another month before we get there Sad
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Big news today is that the itineraries are opening up. Today 67 and 68 in the Klein Matterhorn sector were open and 60 on Schwarzsee. In fact most itineraries have been getting heavily skied but strictly that has been as off piste. The official opening means those ones are marked and controlled.
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This must be one of the earliest openings for the itineraries. snowHead
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twoodwar wrote:
This must be one of the earliest openings for the itineraries. snowHead


Aye. The irony was that the winds up high were so strong today nothing opened up on Klein Matterhorn or Schwarzsee. So the "open" itineraries were closed! Still it is shaping up to be a great season. Just need to see Stockhorn opened up this month (as scheduled but not managed last year).
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Literally nothing open today. They opened the underground furnicular to Sunnegga but then even closed that as the pistes from there down through the trees were still too windy.

The good news is our snow line seems to have stayed lower than most of the Alps. It was raining in Zermatt (1620m) about noon. But waliking up to Furi (1867m) it was all snow. Except for the home runs all the skiing is higher than Furi.

Since gettting back down home to Tšsch (1450m) we have been watching consistent snow. It is going to be fantastic up top once it does open up again.
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Forecasts are showing anticipated snow volumes like nothing I have ever seen in Europe. This is GFS generated, but 5 metres in 6 days is going some. Am looking to pack my snorkel for Feb!
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JohnMo wrote:
A good advert for Zermatt this morning. While snowmageddon is hitting transfer day at most resorts the trains are running up and down the valley no problem and then on to Geneva and Zurich airports.


Ha! Great post from Saturday. What does pride come before?

There has been an avalanche down the valley this evening. So there are no trains between Visp and Tšsch. They are using replacement buses. Great news for anyone heading for the airport tomorrow morning - that would be me rolling eyes
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Can someone give me the heads up on getting the bus to Valtanench please.
Would normally seem simple.... Get on the "ski bus" and go to where you want to go.
We got to the stop in Cervinia nice and early with about 20 people already there. Bus arrives a little late but not a problem. People get on the bus....then get off the bus....no skis allowed on the bus so they have to go in the storage space under the bus. The storage space under the bus was full of suitcases so no room for skis. Long storey short, bus leaves half full with no skiers allowed in the bus as no storage under the bus.
Is it just me or is this mental?
Am I missing something here or does it sound sensible that people in a ski resort who are skiing will have skis with them when travelling to another town on the same lift ticket? The weather in Cervinia has closed the links at the moment (not surprising and to be accepted) but being unable to get to another town on a "ski bus"
Because you have "skis" is in my mind as I have said a tad mental.
Please tell
Me what I am missing because there must be something. Puzzled
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@Gyro, There has been threads about this on snowheads before and nobody seemed to know for sure. What you describe sounds like a normal bus down the valley rather than a shuttle bus connecting the two areas that you would expect in most resorts. I always just ski between the two so donít know. I guess you could email the resort. If you do find out if there is a connecting shuttle bus will you please post it here.

It is madness if they donít have one because the skiing link between Vatournenche and Cervinia is not the easiest for beginners or nervous intermediates or in bad weather. In fact it can get closed down altogether in strong winds.
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Back to snowmaggedon, as I said above an avalanche closed the train line up and down from Zermatt yesterday evening. Buses are replacing trains all the way from Tšsch down to Visp (it was fun coming down the valley on one this morning). At first they had it down as closed until noon today. Now it is closed all day and the closure is ďindefiniteĒ due to further avalanche risk. If it is not open by Saturday transfer day is going to be chaos.
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