Spring is here. Time for the Zermatt Valley Rally organised by our very own ES Zermatt team! ES instructor, Emma Farrington, takes us through the day as it happened.
“Blue skies and glorious sunshine; a classic bluebird day here in the Swiss mountains gave us the perfect day last week. On Wednesday 14th March, teams competed in the ES Zermatt Valley Rally, raising money for children in Nepal affected by the devastating earthquake a few years ago. For those of you wondering what a valley rally is? It’s an event where teams compete against each other (often in fancy dress), skiing and snowboarding around the mountain visiting various locations, gathering information or completing tasks. It’s always a fun event and competitors can be of any age or walk of life; this year we had a good mix of guests and their instructors, as well as seasonaires and Zermatt residents.
The background to the Zermatt Valley Rally comes from a group of locals who wanted to help the survivors of the earthquake a few years ago. Now the event is pretty big and is organised by ES, with prizes and sponsors from all over Zermatt. In particular, the money goes towards helping children from the country’s poorest areas get back into education and rebuild their lives. Fresh water and food supplies were cut off as a result of the quake so a lot of the money goes towards providing new clean and sustainable resources and equipment. Hygiene is a basic commodity that so many of us take for granted, so it’s been important to provide for the children and their families to avoid the spread of disease. Emergency aid continues to flow into the country; it’s so hard to imagine the full scale the impact a natural disaster this large can have, both in the short and long term recovery period, which is why it’s such an important cause.
I think everyone who took part can agree that we were incredibly lucky with the weather and snow conditions on the day, as it’s seemed to snow rather a lot this season in Zermatt! The day started off with registration and a gathering at Papperla pub, a local favourite with seasonaires and tourists alike. Each team donated money towards the cause, rules were explained and tasks / maps handed out. Then we were unleashed onto the mountain.
Checkpoints were across all three ski areas in Zermatt – Sunnega, Gornergrat and Kleine Matterhorn. Due to long lift queues at the Matterhorn Paradise lift, most teams headed all together up to Sunnega to complete tasks like taking photos at every lift station including Kumme (for those who did not hear about Zermatt being closed off back in January due to heavy snowfall and avalanches, Kumme bottom station was wiped out by an avalanche). Fun moments on this side of the mountain also saw teams visiting Fluhalp restaurant and taking photos on the band stage as well as building a snowman at the famous Findlerhof restaurant, also known as Franz and Heidi’s.
The next stage was to go over to Gornergrat, via the famous Gornergrat bahn cog railway, and write down all the glaciers on view from the 360 degree platform before a quick ski down to Iglu-Dorf, the home of the famous ice hotel in Zermatt. Teams attempted a handstand here with some interesting photo evidence, as expected. Another dash down to the, again famous, Alphitta restaurant for a pyramid building challenge on the stage.
For those teams that wanted to go the extra mile, it was then a long journey up to the top of the glacier on Kleine Matterhorn to get a photo on the border line between Switzerland and Italy. Quite a lot of points were available for a continuous video of teams going through the freestyle park with at least one team member going over a jump and a box or rail. A lot of fun, but several bruises followed these attempts! The final task on that side of the mountain was to stop by Furi lift station and make the words ‘ES’, ‘ski’ and ‘snow’ using team members and their equipment.
All teams made it back to Papperla by 4pm for drinks and prize giving. More money was raised by guests enjoying après at the bar! Overall a great day was had by all and many fun memories were created. And those bruises from the park run were forgotten after a few beers!”
Es would like to say a massive thanks to everyone who took part on the Zermatt Valley Rally and to those who helped organise. We’d also like to say a massive thanks to the Papperla Pub for hosting, as well as Glacier Sport, Zermatt Massage Centre, Zermatt Rosterei, Bramble Ski, Zermatt Holidays, The Omnia, Zermatt Ski Chalets, Mountain Exposure and anyone else who helped out or donated a prize. It was a great day and thanks for all your hard work!