Zermatt is one of the most famous Alpine skiing centers. This old village in the Valais Alps at the foot of great Matterhorn (4478 m) managed to turn into one of the best sport centers in the world without loosing its local color. Alpine skiers and snowboarders will find here perfect conditions for training, nevertheless Zermatt is an elite resort attractive for fashionable people and celebrities.
Zermatt ski region is divided into three zones: Gornergratt – Stockhorn, Swarzsee – Trockener-Steg – Matterhorn, Sunnega – Blauherd – Rothorn. The railroad leading to the top of Gornergratt recently held its anniversary: the first train went here in 1898. Downhilling over the slopes between Gornergratt and Zermatt takes your breath away: not because of their difficulty, but due to unimaginable beauty of the landscape where great Matterhorn prevail. But if to rise from Gornergratt to Hohtälli (3286 m) and downhill over the northern slope of the ridge towards the Findel glacier it will not seem so easy. It is called the trail of courageous.
The more courageous go to Trockener Steg (2939 m) and higher to the peak of Klein Matterhorn (3885 m). Here stretches the largest European glacier skiable even in summer. But with restriction: skiing on virgin slopes is prohibited. Those who try to lay a new trail will be stopped and fined. So you should better not take this risk and downhill to Trockener Steg over the prepared trail that is very steep initially. Alpine metro, i.e. underground cable way, leads from the village to Sunnega peak (2288 m) passing elevation change of 700 m in 3 minutes. Trails here are not very difficult; they are wind-protected and always sunlit. It testifies that Zermatt is perfect for family rest.
Trails laid between the peaks of Rothorn (3103 m) and Sunnega are always safe in regard of snow. If necessary this natural wonder is maintained by snow cannons, without them downhilling from Sunnega to Zermatt would be also almost impossible.
From Klein Matterhorn Italian ski region of Cervinia can be easy reach via the Teodul pass. Cervinia is connected with Swiss trails by the network of lifts. Though malicious tongues say that tourists visit Italy not for new trails, but for cheap alcohol.
Zermatt is really very expensive resort. Its restaurants, bars, discos, and dancings are meant for various audience, but the rich obviously prevail. In the mountains one can sometimes find cabin-restaurant where everything even national cuisine is cheap. But you should better not count on it.