Off-Piste adventures from Zermatt

25 June, 2020 | Reccy Guide

Off-piste riding is considered to be one of the most rewarding skiing or snowboarding experiences around the world, and most particularly in the Alps where the options are endless. Zermatt does not escape the rule, and the region offers incredible opportunities to explore remote areas on your two skis. Whether you are an avid freerider or ski tourer, or want to experience the indescribable thrill of heliskiing, Zermatt will not disappoint.

Explore trip itineraries, accommodation, transport, required gear, fitness plan, insurance and more

Freeriding in Zermatt

Freeriding has been gaining in popularity in the last decades, and Zermatt offers an incredible network of 36km of off-piste trails for riders. But before we go into more details – what exactly is freeriding? Enjoyed by skiers and snowboarders wanting to spice up their outings on the slopes, freeriding is performed on off-piste terrain and does not follow any goal other than to ride down untouched slopes of pristine powder snow. Because you will be riding on unmarked slopes, the dangers are much higher than on regular slopes and you need to be aware of hazards such as avalanche risks and crevasses. This makes freeriding suitable only for confident riders accompanied by a local guide who will be able to ensure your safety. 

Off piste in Zermatt

As mentioned, Zermatt has 36km of yellow-marked slopes – the color of regularized off-piste slopes. These slopes will ensure both thrills and safety, mixing the best of both worlds and making Zermatt a paradise for freeriders. They will also enable beginners to practice and improve their skills, as long as they are accompanied by a local guide. The slopes are spread over three different areas: Rothorn, Stockhorn, and Schwarzsee. Stockhorn in particular is known for being a freerider’s paradise, with easily accessible, steep and bumpy off-piste slopes. Rothorn is mostly known to be family-friendly but also offers great off-piste trails, making it the perfect option to satisfy the whole family.

Ski Touring in Zermatt

You enjoy going off-piste, but freeriding is not for you. If you would like to explore the remote areas of Zermatt while standing on your skis but are more interested in the ascent and exploration than in the descent, then ski touring is made for you. You will discover untouched areas, far from the bustle of the ski resorts and marked slopes. The physical challenge is undeniable, and you will have to be a fit and experienced skier or snowboarder to enjoy the adventure to the fullest. Again, as with all other off-piste activities, the hazards are higher than on regular slopes and hiring a local guide is essential to an enjoyable and safe expedition.

Ski touring party in Zermatt

The area around Zermatt offers some world-class ski touring expeditions. 

Schwarztor: starting at the station Klein Matterhorn, which towers 3850m above sea level, this is a classic glacier tour. 

Breithorn: Standing 4164m tall, the Breithorn is one of the easiest four-thousanders to climb. Get to the Klein Matterhorn station and start ascending the remaining 380m to the summit, before enjoying a thrilling descent via Theodul Glacier or Schwarztor.

The best way to know which routes are most suitable for you and in best condition is to discuss this with your guide.

Traversata: a mix of ski touring and via ferrata, this expedition is great for active skiers looking for something different.

Freeriding down the power slope in Zermatt

Pfulwe: with cable car support available, this is an ideal tour for beginners and offers some incredible panoramic views over the Monte Rosa massif, the Matterhorn, Dent Blanche and many more four-thousanders.

Fluhhorn: also a great option for less experienced ski tourers, it offers views just as incredible as Pfulwe.

Heliskiing in Zermatt

If cable cars don’t go high enough for you, it’s time to try heliskiing. A type of freeriding, heliskiing will take you higher than any other freeriders and will reward you with panoramic views over far-reaching snow-capped peaks and a descent on the freshest powder snow. While you do need to be an experienced skier or snowboarder to attempt this activity, you do not need to be an expert. Tour companies will advise you on the best option for you and will very likely be able to offer a pre-training if it is your first-time skiing on powder snow.

Ski touring – near Zermatt

Heliskiing in Zermatt should be on every rider’s bucket list. Depending on the company you choose, different peaks will be available for descent. The highest one is Monte Rosa, towering at 4,200m above sea level. In the same range, you can fly up to Alphubeljoch (3,782m) and Aschihorn (3,562m). In the Matterhorn vicinity, you can decide to descend Unterrothorn (3,103m), Testa Grigia (3,480m), and Valpelline (3,799m). With unbeatable views of the Matterhorn and of the range all around, any descent will make for one of the most memorable experiences of your life. 

Heliskiing is very popular in Zermatt

As an experienced skier or snowboarder in Zermatt, you are sure to find an off-piste expedition that will give you an adrenaline rush incomparable to any other adventure. The only question left is: which one are you going to choose?

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