Zermatt / Cervinia, Switzerland, April 19, 20, 21, 2018

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Zermatt / Cervinia, Switzerland, April 19, 20, 21, 2018

Postby ChrisC » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:52 pm

I wanted to go ski all the steep lines of Verbier ... however - most of Verbier closed on April 15th. What was left - was a bit sad. No Mont Gele, no Tortin, no a lot of things. Andermatt - same closures.

I have not posted yet from Jan/Feb - but Zermatt is really amazing in a high snow year!!!! It was 100% open. Nearly 100" base above 1600 meters.

So Chamonix to Zermatt. And Zermatt was awesome!!! Powder and packed powder on the top 1-2k vertical - normal spring conditions everywhere else. Restaurants going on -- if you ever paid $20-0 for a hamburger --- go to Zermatt --- or Cervinia --- see what you can buy. OMG - the food!

I am going to go out on a limb here - but if I could ski one lift for the rest of my life - it might be the Zermatt cable car from Gant to Hohtalli. There are 5 series of north facing bowls that go on for 3000 vertical feet. No one skis it!!!! No one! Epic powder in January, February, and - now - April. I had more Chamois - a group of 5 goats - than skiers for 30 minutes. I had to tell a Chamois that my line was through his...a group of 6.

My brother and I started to make of the Swiss-Germans -- and their lack of interest in the off-piste.

The Utards would have killed this in 2-4 hours.

I have now been to Zermatt 2x this winter. I used to think Zermatt was a place like Florida - get old, ski a bit, and die. However, it's not --- it's really traditional - but in a great way. The glaciers are very flat! The rest of Zermatt hides great skiing. The lift system - it's one of the most modern!
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Re: Zermatt / Cervinia, Switzerland, April 19, 20, 21, 2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:54 am

I have read that it’s Zermatt’s clientele that skews old. That’s why all that awesome Hohtalli/Stockhorn ungroomed terrain is so empty. But maybe that old and moneyed clientele is the reason Zermatt/Cervinia’s on mountain restaurants are the best in the world.

Yes Zermatt’s glacier is very flat. Grand Motte at Tignes is much better. We would have been on that Hohtalli tram most of the time like you. I do have the impression that Hohtalli/Stockhorn is very weather sensitive and was closed quite often this season. Was Stockhorn open? It was never open during our week in February 2014. And since it was a snowy week we only got 3 Hohtalli runs all week.

Our plan A was to go to Zermatt and maybe Saas Fee for 2-3 days just like Chris after our reserved week in Val d’Isere. But the weather forecast indicated we should stay put. The big powder days at Val d’Isere were immediately after our original lodging reservation ended. Where did you stay in Zermatt?
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Re: Zermatt / Cervinia, Switzerland, April 19, 20, 21, 2018

Postby ChrisC » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:39 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:We would have been on that Hohtalli tram most of the time like you. I do have the impression that Hohtalli/Stockhorn is very weather sensitive and was closed quite often this season. Was Stockhorn open? It was never open during our week in February 2014. And since it was a snowy week we only got 3 Hohtalli runs all week.

Our plan A was to go to Zermatt and maybe Saas Fee for 2-3 days just like Chris after our reserved week in Val d’Isere. But the weather forecast indicated we should stay put. The big powder days at Val d’Isere were immediately after our original lodging reservation ended. Where did you stay in Zermatt?


I honestly do not think Zermatt is old. Everyone is on a Carving Ski. Their mindset. My fat skis. Hmmmm.

My brother forced me to go around Feb 1st. But I now love it.
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Re: Zermatt / Cervinia, Switzerland, April 19, 20, 21, 2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed May 02, 2018 7:58 pm

ChrisC wrote: Everyone is on a Carving Ski.

Most Euro resorts are like that. At places like Saalbach, Kitzbuhel and the Dolomites, altitude is low and/or snowfall is erratic so there is no expectation even by me of much off piste skiing. But you still have that Euro scale and scenery, in some cases with assistance from snowmaking systems far beyond anything in North America.

For most advanced American off-piste skiers, the short list places are Chamonix, Val d'Isere, Verbier and the Arlberg. These places show more evidence of off-piste skiing. You see plenty of powder tracks at Val d'Isere and in the Arlberg. Many off piste sectors get well skier packed eventually, like Pendant at Grands Montets. Elsewhere, at more intermediate concentrated resorts, very few people are off piste even on fresh powder days. I've seen this at Davos Parsenn and Cervinia. At the under-the radar places James skis, he has the powder practically all to himself. What is unique about Zermatt is that the off piste is as deserted as at the intermediate-oriented resorts but the terrain quality is much better, especially under that Hohtalli tram.

I get the impression Zermatt's snow preservation is even better than Val d'Isere's. That powder day April 13 was amazing, but by late afternoon the east and west exposures were sun affected. Two days later the only winter snow was above 9,000 feet on Grand Motte. The same was true early in our trip before the storms.

Zermatt's ski elevations are only a bit higher than at Val d'Isere/Tignes, but perhaps its more continental climate is a bit colder.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Zermatt / Cervinia, Switzerland, April 19, 20, 21, 2018

Postby ChrisC » Wed May 09, 2018 8:36 pm

Well, this was definitely the year for the Alps:

Best in 3 decades for Switzerland at elevation - overall.

The month of January actually saw the highest snow total recorded in a single month for Zermatt/Saas-Fee region in 70 years!

According to Meteo Swiss:

After three years with little snow, large quantities fell during the long winter of 2017/18, but only in the mountains. The snowfall was heavy in November, December and particularly in January, which was also an extremely warm month – the warmest January on record since MeteoSwiss commenced its measuring campaign in 1864. In consequence, most of the precipitation fell as rain at lower altitudes. In some regions in the period from the end of December until 23 January, between two-and-a-half and five metres of snow fell at high altitudes (above 2000 m). (That's 100-200"!)

https://www.slf.ch/en/news/2018/05/extr ... anger.html


I could definitely see a rain line below 2000m while in the Alps in January -- Val-d'Isere (the last 6-8 turns - bang!), Chamonix (my brother was like - where is all the snow?) and Zermatt (generally you were always high).
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Re: Zermatt / Cervinia, Switzerland, April 19, 20, 21, 2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu May 10, 2018 7:43 pm

We ran away from the 2,000m snow line storm to the Dolomites. That rain/snow line was much in evidence on our next stop in the Monte Rosa. The base areas in the Monte Rosa had deep snowpacks but the bottom 1,000-1,500 vertical feet were rain soaked, so you needed to bail out of any off piste before you got too low. Cervinia had been nicely resurfaced by a colder storm by the time we arrived there.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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