Ski touring on the slopes in Zermatt

The Matterhorn Ski paradise offers numerous opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding nature. This also includes ski touring. In this article you will find out what you need to be aware of and what dangers this can involve.

The operating hours of the transport facilities are coordinated with the closing of the slope control, which is always carried out at the end of the day. The slope rescue service checks all the slopes in the area to make sure that there are no more people on them. A short time later, the preparations for the next day begin. 

The preparation of the slopes mainly consists of preparing them with the piste vehicles or, if the conditions are right, avalanches can also be triggered artificially so that they do not spontaneously break loose during operating hours.

People who are on the slopes outside the operating hours of the transport facilities are therefore exposed to several risks. The snow groomers prepare steeper terrain with winches, some of which are under high tension and can be released suddenly. When dusk falls, visibility is also limited. 

However, various rules must be observed not only after closing time, but also during skiing operations. The SAC, together with the Swiss cableways and the bfu (Swiss Council for Accident Prevention), has drawn up the following rules:

1. Outside the operating hours of the transport facilities, the slopes are closed and therefore off-limits. Ski tourers must also observe the operating hours. Danger to life! Only explicitly opened slopes may be used for ski touring outside the operating hours.

2. During the operating hours of the transport facilities, the FIS rules apply to all users of snow sports slopes. For ski tourers on pistes the following applies:

  • Ascent only at the edge of the piste
  • Ascent only behind each other, not next to each other
  • Do not cross at blind spots
  • Take special care on crests, in bottlenecks, steep slopes and in icy conditions.
  • Respect skiing operations, which have priority.

3. The instructions of the piste and rescue services must be obeyed.

4. If special circumstances require it, the cableway company concerned has the option of prohibiting ski touring on its snow sports slopes, even during operating hours.

These rules serve the safety of all guests and employees. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Zermatt Bergbahnen. 

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