At first glance, snowboarding may seem a bit under-represented in Zermatt. True enough, with the majority of its snow sport enthusiasts opting to move around on two pieces of wood rather than one, Zermatt definitely attracts a lot more skiers than it does snowboarders. Those adventurous enough to enter this ‘ski capital’ with a snowboard might feel a bit left out because of this. However, Zermatt does offer fantastic runs that will make any snowboarder feel right at home.
The ski area on the Gornergrat offers some wide blue runs that are suitable for beginners and intermediate snowboarders, as the slopes are quite mellow and consistent. The runs from Rothorn down to Sunnegga offer a great variety of terrain and some of the best off-piste boarding in the resort. The itineraries down from Stockhorn are great for those looking to challenge themselves on ungroomed terrain. The slopes on the side of the Klein Matterhorn are great for cruising, and those looking to make some mileage will be able to venture well into Italy and back without ever taking the same run twice. The snow park has received an upgrade this year and now offers a wide selection of kickers, boxes and rails.
Although Zermatt is home to some wonderful terrain, it does take some insider knowledge to be able to find it. With 360 km of interconnected pistes, it is quite easy to get lost, or to end up on a run that is less suitable to take on with a snowboard. Because of this, it is highly advisable to hire a snowboard guide for the day, especially when it’s your first time in the resort. This way you can maximize the time you spend on the runs that are very suited for snowboarding whilst avoiding all the long flat slopes, narrow cat tracks, and icy steeps. The snowboard instructors from ES Zermatt know exactly which runs are worth the effort, and which ones are best avoided. They will help you get the most out of your time on the snow whilst improving your snowboarding technique and skills at the same time.
Zermatt is an incredible resort, for both skiing and snowboarding.. You can enjoy the friendly atmosphere, the spectacular views, the pristine snow conditions, the fantastic restaurants, and the enormous variety of terrain regardless of which sport has your preference. Although it is definitely more skier-oriented, it is in general equally enjoyable to explore on a snowboard, and perhaps even more so. Because there are less snowboarders on the slopes than there are skiers, you will instantly feel a bit more special carrying a snowboard around. Zermatt will give any snowboarder the feeling that they are something unique, rather than just another tourist in a massive ski resort. This creates an atmosphere similar to that of several years ago; when snowboarding and snowboard equipment started to evolve into the sport we all know today and where snowboarders were trying to establish an identity for themselves. This is a very rare quality to be found in the modern snow sports industry, and there are very few resorts nowadays that will allow you to feel like you are still part of this subculture.
Zermatt is a unique resort in many ways. It is one of the biggest, highest, and most beautiful resorts in Europe; but it offers something more than that for snowboarders, something that does not show in the statistics. Zermatt still maintains that snowboarding spirit, snowboarding as it is intended to be: wild, radical, and free. Combine this feeling with all the amazing qualities that the resort has to offer, and there’s no place you’d rather be snowboarding.
Tommy’s top five runs for snowboarding in Zermatt
- Rothorn – Findeln: great variety of terrain and good off-piste
- Rothorn – Kumme: good snow conditions throughout the day and amazing views
- Rote Nase – Gant: incredibly fun itineraries, very challenging and exciting, also very peaceful
- Gornergrat – Riffelberg: reliable weather conditions and good terrain for carving
- Colle Cime Bianche – Salette: great for long-distance cruising and spectacular views
Written by Tommy Ewes/ ES Zermatt