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Zermatt Summer Skiing

My roommate and I are taking a quick side trip on our Swiss excursion to Zermatt. We will be there for about a day and a half the first week of September. We are taking this detour in hopes of doing a little summer skiing.

Any good ski and ski clothing rental company recommendations?
The option exists to purchase lift tickets online beforehand. Is there any benefit to this?
How do you get to the actual mountain where you ski? Is there a bus system or an additional lift we'll need to purchase tickets for?
How much time should we plan for travel from Zermatt to the actual ski location?

Thank you for your help!

Posted by
419 posts

Try Googling "Zermatt summer skiing" and see what information is there. Then you can ask for any information that is not provided there.

Posted by
12 posts

Joan I apologize if I came across as lazy and not doing my part to find information on my own. However, I have spent a great deal of time searching for information and googling Zermatt Summer Skiing but have struggled to find the information I've been seeking. Maybe I should have been more precise communicating what I sought. Let's try this again:

For ski/clothing rentals, I am thinking Matterhorn Sports looks like a good rental ("hire") option. Is there another store that would be better?

I am aware of prices, how and where to buy lift tickets once in Zermatt, etc. I have been told there was not a true benefit to purchasing lift tickets online beforehand and wanted to confirm.

The Rick Steves Switzerland book mentions a cogwheel train will transport you from Zermatt to skiing but I was unclear as to whether this was covered by the Swiss Pass or if it would be a separate ticket or if it was included with lift passes. I was also trying to find departure times and have not found them yet.

Thank you again for your consideration.

Posted by
20297 posts
  1. You should have no problem renting equipment. You might not need more than a windbreaker and a sweater, some gloves as far as clothing.
  2. There is a bus service to the lift station. Its free with a card from your hotel. It is also walkable, and there are electric taxicabs all over town.
  3. The Matterhorn-Gothardbahn railway is included in the Swiss Pass.
  4. You take 2 successive cable cars from town to get to Trockener Steg at the base of the glacier. I'd say about a half hour.
  5. Unless there is some kind of advance purchase discount, I'd just buy when I got there. Maybe bad weather will dissuade you from skiing that day.
Posted by
3391 posts

We were in Zermatt last summer and, although we didn't ski, we saw many people skiing. If it were me, I would head up to the highest point...snow in the alps in September may be not as plentiful as in the earlier summer months. I would head straight up, using the Glacier Paradise gondola, to the Plateau Rosa where skiing can be had year round. There is a snowpark for snowboarding as well as many pistes for skiing. Go early in the morning as the clouds do tend to roll in during the afternoon. Amazing views of the Matterhorn from here and the viewing deck from the top of "Glacier Paradise" is one of the best in Switzerland in my opinion.
You will walk, or take a "cab", up through the village of Zermatt following the river and get on at the Furi station. This map shows the legs of lifts you will need to take. Zermatt Interactive Ski MapYou'll need to buy a ticket all the way to the top. There is a ticket window right there at the Furi station. When you get to the lift ticket windows in the earlier morning, there are often not any lines and I would imagine that in September it will be even better. I've never had to wait for more than one or two people in front of me as we always get an early start, so I don't see any advantage to buying your tickets ahead of time. You will ride up several different gondolas to get to the very top. I like stopping at the Schwarzee station either on the way up or the way down...there is a great little hotel/refugio there with an outdoor deck/bar/restaurant that has AMAZING views of the Matterhorn! I don't know if it will still be open in September are going to be there during the shoulder season after all. The lift that goes up to the very top, Glacier Paradise, is breathtaking - almost vertical going straight up the cliff face with snowcovered peaks and glaciers all around you.
It'll take you about 40 minutes or so to get to the top where you can ski depending on how long you have to wait for the last gondola to pick you up...there are only usually two that going up while the other comes down.
I wish I could help on the rental front...I do know that many of the rental shops don't run during the summer months or early fall but there must be a few. Regardless of where you rent your equipment, there are little golf carts running all over Zermatt that act as cabs since cars aren't allowed in can hire one to take you and your equipment up to the station rather than walking all the way uphill!
I think this is the best website for information...everything you need to know!
Have a great time!

Posted by
16894 posts

A few lifts in the area are discounted 50% when you show your Swiss Pass; the discount does not require you to use a counted travel day on a flexi-style pass. See these as dotted lines on the pass coverage map.

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you all so much for your comments! We are getting really excited about our departure and you have all be so very helpful.

Posted by
12 posts

For anyone interested in summer skiing in Zermatt, here are a few of the things I found/learned on my trip:

*Little preparation beforehand is required for skiing.
*Ask the local TI for a map to find the appropriate lift.
*There is a ski shop next door to the lift to the ski area that will rent you everything (pants, jacket, hat, goggles, gloves, scarf, skis, boots, poles) for about 71 CHF. I'd recommend going to this ski shop the morning you plan to ski.
*You can purchase your lift tickets the day of your ski trip. You'll then take a series of three lifts (all covered by your lift ticket) to get to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.
*Travel time from Zermatt to Glacier Mountain Paradise is approximately 30-45 minutes.

Posted by
3391 posts

Yes! Please share your ski experience...what was the best part? How was the snow this late in the summer? Crowded or no?

Posted by
12 posts

We had a great time. There were plenty of people out and about (a few Olympic teams doing their summer practices) however we did not feel too crowded. There were not many pistes open when we went and the runs equate to American greens and blues. It is definitely advisable to start as early as possible as the runs get slushy further into the day (lifts close at 2 pm because off this). We really enjoyed it; how often does one get to ski in the summer and on top of that, in the Alps! Worth doing :)

Posted by
7509 posts

I'm glad the Summer skiing in Zermatt was good. In Winter and Spring, there's definitely extreme skiing available (hire a guide) if one's looking for tougher terrain than easy/intermediate pistes. I got to ski there back in 2003, and the "Glacier Paradise" term wasn't being used then but I understood that the summer pistes were off of the Kleine Matterhorn, where there were also "carving pistes" in Spring 2003.

Sam mentioned above that, perhaps, not much more than a windbreaker might be needed, but it's good that pants are avaialable for rent, and I'm sure that's dependent on one's cold-tolerance. Late Spring/Summer skiing in Colorado generally is so warm (especially if you're hiking up, but even riding the lifts in May and June) that a light jacket and maybe rain shell pants, with a layer or two underneath, is all that's needed or wanted. If anyone was planning on doing any hiking in the Swiss Alps on their trip, they maight be packing rain pants anyway. Or wear shorts or a skort, use sunscreen, and don't fall ;-)

A non-skiing highlight in Zermatt (aside from great food) is the Mountaineering Museum, which includes a display depicting Teddy Roosevelt's climb of the Matterhorn. Think Snow!!!