Snowbound: Zermatt

We all like a world class ski resort.  Bonnie Tsui in the New York Times recently highlighted one of our favourite resorts ‘Zermatt’. 

“It’s a real challenge nowadays to find an exciting ski-town, but Zermatt is something of a revelation, boasting the highest verticals in Europe.

Perfect altitude

Horse-drawn carriages and brandy-bearing St. Bernards may still roam Zermatt, but this resort town of 5,500 people has lately schussed its way into a modern era of solar-electric ski buses and expansive, high-tech snowmaking. During a visit earlier this winter, I hit pretty much every color-coded highlight on the ski map, thanks to the new lifts and runs that have made possible easy connections between sprawling ski areas. Sleek glass buildings are beginning to alter the traditional chalet landscape of the village. And modern Swiss efficiency has done away with what was once Zermatt’s biggest disadvantage: the resort now uses an electronic ski pass system that allows skiers to zip through checkpoints at every on-mountain gondola, chairlift, train and underground funicular, making crowds virtually nil (except at the aforementioned après-ski spots).

Classic establishments like the ornate Grand Hotel Zermatterhof — founded by the local priest in 1879 — have also come up with new offerings. Those who can’t spring for a stay in the hotel should splurge on a massage at its recently opened spa, Vita Borni; it has an arnica steam room and a 20-meter pool. In front of the Zermatterhof, the Matterhorn Museum has relocated to — surprise — a new Matterhorn-shaped glass complex with historical displays of Edward Whymper’s first ascent and a 3-D weather model of the All the recent flash and dash doesn’t come cheap, especially with the American dollar in a downward spiral. But hidden gems like Le Petit Hôtel, which has 20 single and double rooms from 80 Swiss francs per person per night, can make a ski vacation in Zermatt less costly, if not exactly affordable. The pension-style lodge has a friendly, helpful staff, free wireless Internet, and a gear storage room with boot warmers; in lieu of expensive fondue dinners, guests can bring back takeout meals to eat in the downstairs bar and breakfast nook.

Long Day’s Journey into Night

With the highest lift access in Europe, a top-notch transport system and the longest winter season in the Alps, it is, indeed, quite a mountain.” Bonnie Tsui

For full travel information go to the full article on:

 http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/03/16/travel/16explorer.html?ex=1363320000&en=5ce24a3bcc2d29b2&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

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