A German speaking area that is located in Visp is the village known as Zermatt. With almost 6,000 year-round residents, it is a famous area for hiking, mountain climbing and most importantly, snow skiing. This area of Switzerland is where the great Matterhorn is found and Zermatt is located at the upper end of Mattertal. Sitting at an elevation of 1,620 m, this is the foot of the highest peak, just on the border of Italy.
With all of the outdoor winter activities of hiking, mountain climbing and snow skiing, you may think that there aren’t any other events to attend, but you’d be wrong. Zermatt may have its claim to fame as the resort for mountaineering and skiing, but this part of the Swiss Alps offers the visitor much more.
Zermatt was predominantly a community of agricultural until the mid-19th century. It would be because of the tragic 1865 ascent of the Matterhorn, the first ever that brought in a rush to surround the village and lead to the construction of facilities that cater tourists. With all the facilities being built and created, the population grows during peak ski season but there are events held year round that entertain not only the visitors but the residents that call Zermatt home all year.
The Local Economy
The bulk of the Zermatt economy comes from the tourism, so it is only beneficial for the town to host events. About fifty-percent of the jobs are in the various hotels and many restaurants. Almost half of the apartments are leased as vacation apartments with the majority of the permanent residents living on the outskirts of Zermatt.
Zermatt’s high altitude makes it a perfect location for winter events, like Triftji for its moguls. And even throughout the summer, there is consistent skiing to be enjoyed. The four areas where you’ll find skiing and other events are Gornergrat, Klein Matterhorn, Schwarzsee and Sunnegga. Cervinia and Valtournenche are the connection to Italy by way of the Plateau Rosa glacier. So a trip to Switzerland can easily get you a visit to Italy too, where you’ll find a host of other events for your entertainment.
“Infinity Downhill Race”
Held in 2008, this race was hosted by Zermatt that December. The descended from the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise at 3,800 m and ended in Zermatt at 1,600 m, a total of 20 kilometres with 2,200 metres featured. Other events since then include many, with some of the most famous and popular being:
Guided Village Tour of Zermatt
This is one of many events that is done in English. You’ll learn why Valalis store houses are on wooden posts sitting on stone plates. You’ll also learn how the people of Zermatt made their living before Zermatt became a tourism town. Learning about Ulrich Inderbinen, a legendary mountain guide, is part of this tour. He lived to be 104 and his life is one that will give you another view of this quaint area that you may never have known otherwise.
Piste Preparation – Be Part of it Live
As the pistes empty every evening, the piste machine drivers begin their work. They start around four in the afternoon and work until the midnight hour to make sure the pistes are prepared for tourist to enjoy an excellent condition each morning. This event allows you to accompany these drivers for 4 hours where you’ll experience their work of preparation. After this tour, you’ll have another respect for what goes on when the sun goes down in Zermatt, something that the other events won’t do for you.
Toboggan Fun-Ride Furi
Every week there are two nights where you can take a trip to Furi and enjoy one of the most popular events in Zermatt: The thrilling tobaggan ride! It will take you back to the village of Zermatt and during the ride, you’ll have snow adventures and pure fun combined with many other things.
There is nothing more beautiful in Zermatt than seeing the early sun rising up over the pristine pistes of the Matterhorn and that is exactly what you’ll do here. This is one of the most popular events around for skiers and all the tourists. You’ll be the first to make tracks in the virgin snow of the day before everyone else hits the slopes. You take a downhill run from Trockener Steg with a guide all the way to Furi. Once you’re there, a buffet with a hot and substantial breakfast will be waiting for in the Restaurant Matterhorn by 9.30 am. You will need to purchase a ski pass to take part and be at the Valley Station of the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise by 7:40 am.
Baking with Children At The Bakery Biner
Every 2nd Wednesday of the month, children are invited to the Bakery Biner where they will create a clown made out of a cookie and a marzipan figure too. Of all the events in Zermatt, this one is the best for the younger kids.
Wolli in the village
This is where you’ll meet the mascot of The Matterhorn. This creature is named Wolli and is an adventurous, young black sheep. Wolli loves children and comes to play every Wednesday, year round along the Bahnhofstrasse in the afternoon. This is one of the events that the local children and visiting children all love playing with Wolli.
In the footsteps of Edward Whymper
The Alpinists are the ladies and gentlemen that lived in Zermatt in the summer time. This is one of the events that will take you back in time and allow you to immerse yourself on the tour and become one of them. It is the traditional Hotel Monte Rosa where the first mountaineers would assemble their roped-team and the infamous Edward Whymper. But who was Lucy Walker? Take the tour and find out, provide in English, French, and German.
There Are More Events
The staff at whichever Zermatt accommodation you choose will be able to provide you a full calendar of events for the day, the week or even the month. They are all well versed in the activities and events and will be able to give you recommendations on which are best for you and your family.