Hike through the mountains on skis

Ski tour in Zermatt: tips and rules

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Ski touring in Zermatt – considered by some to be hiking on skis. Climb through the snow up to one of the Matterhorn’s neighbouring peaks. The view is simply breath-taking. Others consider a ski tour so much more. Once you’ve reached the top, the adrenaline-fuelled descent through open terrain can begin, which for many is the real highlight of any ski tour.

But beware: Because ski touring locations are mostly away from prepared and secure pistes, you have to take particular care. Not to be underestimated are the mountain dangers that ski tourers are exposed to in the high Alps. Also – and especially – because in Zermatt many ski tours take place in harsh high-altitude conditions.

Ski tourers can make an important contribution themselves to keeping the risks to a minimum and enjoying their pastime without risk of conflict or accident. Our recommendations are adapted from those of the SAC (Swiss Alpine Club and bfu (Swiss Council for Accident Prevention).
 

Ruls for ski tourers

  • Outside the operating hours of Zermatt Bergbahnen all ski runs are closed and access is prohibited. The operating hours must be observed by ski tourers. Danger to life!
  • Only ski runs that have been opened specially may be used by ski tourers outside normal hours.
  • During the operating hours of Zermatt Bergbahnen, all users of snow sport slopes are subject to FIS (International Ski Federation) rules. 
  • Ski tourers using pistes must observe the following FIS rules in particular:
  1. Always ascend the slope at the side of the piste
  2. Ascend in single file, not abreast of one another
  3. Do not cross the piste where you cannot be seen
  4. Exercise particular caution at hill crests and bottlenecks and on steep slopes and ice
  5. Give way to ski and snowboard traffic: it has priority
  • Instructions from Piste Patrol and Rescue Service personnel must be followed without fail.
  • If circumstances demand, lift operators (Zermatt Bergbahnen AG) may exercise the option of prohibiting the use of ski sport pistes for ski touring, even during normal operating hours.
  • Wildlife reserves and conservation areas must be respected at all times.  Avoid entering wooded areas at dusk or during the hours of darkness (especially if using a headlamp). Find out details of wildlife sanctuaries and conservation areas in Zermatt here.
  • Users making ascents and descents do so at their own risk and on their own responsibility.

 

Official flyer on safety and ski touring in Switzerland
 

Emergency contact numbers:
KWRO (Valais Cantonal Rescue Organization)/Air Zermatt: 144
Piste rescue service: +41 27 966 01 01
 

Tip:

The most beautiful ski tours around the Zermatt region

  • Breithorn-Tour (level of difficulty: medium) 
  • Stockhorn (level of difficulty: medium)
  • Dufourspitze (level of difficulty: difficult) 

Guided ski tours

On a guided ski tour you have a local mountain guide at your side. That not only ensures your saftey, you will also get to know some secret places. The Zermatters company offers guided tours for beginners and experienced skiers and snowboarders as well as tours lasting several days.

More info

Are you passionate about ski touring and freeriding? Excellent! The Valais Alps around Zermatt offer plenty of scope for you to follow your passion just as the fancy takes you. Find out about freeride options on the Matterhorn ...