Ready for your next mountain adventure? People from all over the world flock to Zermatt for its once-in-a-lifetime skiing opportunities. Discover the best that this charming resort has to offer with this complete guide to advanced skiing in Zermatt. This article isn’t for the faint hearted, so head to an intermediates guide to skiing in Zermatt or our Beginners guide to skiing in Zermatt for a few of the slower runs.
We also have an off-piste guide to skiing in Zermatt for those looking for untouched mountainside.
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The Advanced Ski Area
Zermatt has some of the highest pistes in Europe and a vast ski area with 360km of piste. High altitudes and the Matterhorn Glacier ensure you have fantastic snow conditions whenever you choose to visit.
With reds and blacks in every ski area, you’ll find lots of variety and fantastic scenery. But when looking for a challenge you may find the options a little limited. Luckily, Zermatt has an excellent selection of yellow slopes. They aren’t pisted or patrolled but offer a safer option if you want some difficult terrain.
Resting on the border with Italy, you get two for the price of one with a stay in Zermatt. Ski over to the Italian resort of Cervino and you open an endless choice of options. On the Swiss side, there are four main ski areas to explore. A modern network of 53 lifts offers you a fast and efficient way to get across the mountains so you can maximise your time on the slopes.
The famous Matterhorn Ski Paradise is the highest pisted area in Europe and always has great snow thanks to the glacier. Here you’ll find mostly reds, a couple of blacks, and easy access to Cervinia. Schwarzee is a pretty area away from the crowds. It’s easy to reach via the Matterhorn Express. Here you’ll find the steepest piste in Europe as well as some great itinerary runs.
Rothorn and Gornergrat are best suited to experts and advanced intermediates. The two areas are interconnected over a huge expanse of the Ridel Valley. You can reach Rothorn by underground funicular and Gornergrat by taking the highest open-air train in Europe.
Zermatt’s Black Ski Runs
The most iconic black run in Zermatt is the Obere National in Sunnegga. Once used for the World Cup races, you’ll descend 3.1km with a vertical drop of 600m. It’s steep but wide and has excellent artificial snow-making facilities, so it’s an easy one to tick off the bucket list and a definite leg burner.
The runs around Rothorn and Gornergrat hold the most challenges for advanced skiers.
Start with the No.29a black run down from the Grifthittli chair lift. Once it merges with the red, keep right to get on the No.25 black. From here you can take the lifts all the way to the top of Rothorn or stop in Sunnegga for another go on the Obere National.
If you want something relaxed, you can take a long and varied route down from the top of Rothorn. Start with the No.13 black before merging back with the blue run. After some light cruising, take the No.15 red. This long, wide piste has fabulous Matterhorn views to get you motivated. Halfway down, you can choose if you want to stay on the red or take an extra black with a vertical drop of 1500m. Once you’re back at the base of the cable car you can repeat it all again or take the extended red route home.
For a long and challenging descent back to the valley, start on your favourite red at Klein Matterhorn. Aim towards the base of the Furgg to Sandiger Boden, where you can take the lengthy and difficult No.62 all the way to Furi. Your legs will be more than ready to get back on a red from there.
If you head over to Italy for the day, you might find the reds here a little easier than on the Swiss side. The most difficult piste can be found around the Pancheron chair lift. Here you’ll find a great combination of long black and red runs. Make sure you do this earlier in the day so that you have time to get back up before lifts close.
At Pancheron, you’ll also find one of the hardest slopes in Cervinia. With moraines on one side, a rock cemetery on the other and the beautiful Italian resort below, the Pista Nera Del Cervino is undeniably pretty. The 1.2km run is steep but well groomed, with flatter parts towards the second half.
Zermatt’s Yellow Ski Slopes
Looking for more rugged terrain and the chance to tear up the slopes away from the crowds? Zermatt’s selection of yellows are unpisted but are marked and opened/ closed like regular runs. It’s a good step towards off-piste but with a little extra safety. Since they aren’t patrolled, it’s not recommended that you ski them alone.
You can craft a good day around the Rothorn area by taking the No.16 and 17 runs down from the top or taking the pisted route down and keeping right to get onto No.18. These are great introductions to itinerary runs and you can repeat each one in the loop by taking the cable car back up.
From Hohtalli you can take the No.28 red to get on the long Mittelritz itinerary run back to Gant. It’s a bumpy 700m vertical descent so do it early before you get tired. Or ramp up the heat with a hop up to Rote Nase. Here you can ski a network of itinerary runs all the way back down. These 1000m descents are sure to get your blood pumping.
This is just an introduction to some of the yellow slopes you can try on your trip to Zermatt. For more information on itinerary runs in Zermatt, read this complete guide to off-piste skiing in Zermatt.
For advanced skiers, this resort has much more to it than just marked slopes. Zermatt has some of the best off-piste skiing in the world. If you’re not finding enough to stimulate you, it might be time to venture into the world of off-piste and heli-skiing.
For in-depth advice on Zermatt’s best backcountry, you can also check out this guide to off-piste and heli-skiing in Zermatt. Here you’ll find all the best tips on Zermatt’s itinerary runs and how to get off the beaten slopes.