Local facilities 5
(i.e. Restaurants, hire shops)
Slope conditions 5
Lift system 5
Skiing / boarding experience
Apres ski 5
I have been to Zermatt twice now, and the likelihood is that I will return again soon. This resort really does have it all - a large ski area, a buzzing town with great restaurants and bars and a massive choice of accommodation. We stayed at the Bellerive (fairly luxurious b and b) which in itself deserves a top class review. The owners there (Mario and Katja) are unbelievably welcoming and will go out of their way to sort anything out for you (i.e. pickups from the station, making bookings etc.)
The town is quite large, so make sure you pick a hotel that is near one of the main lifts or on the free ski bus route. Otherwise you'll be trekking around a lot in ski boots! Whilst there is a broad choice of accommodation, Zermatt isn't the cheapest, so be prepared to splash out for a trip there. My advice would be to book a hotel direct, rather than using tour operators as you can save quite a bit by doing this.
As far as skiing goes, this is split into 4 main areas: Sunnegga/Gornergrat/Matterhorn/Italian side (Cervinia/Valtournenche).
- Sunnegga is the best suited for intermediates, with more cruisers (best run probably '19' down to Gant)
- Gornergrat offers a bit of everything including a great mogul run (Stockhorn) and nice mountain restaurants
- Matterhorn is very high so offers good snow conditions and a wide bowl kind of area at the top of the glacier. My favourite run was '70' which is a long sweeping red linking into a black at Furgg ('62') which you can ski all the way back to Zermatt.
- The Italian side also offers some great skiing, lots of reds and some easier blues. Run '1' is a nice choice taking you all the way to the bottom of the gondola at Valtournenche.
Either way, all of the areas are linked by the fantastic lift system, which includes a very long gondola from Zermatt all the way to Trockner Steg (Matterhorn) - total ride 45mins! and a mountain train on the Gornergrat side with lovely views.
In Zermatt itself there is just about every type of restaurant to choose from (Japanese/Italian/Steakhouse/fine dining and obviously traditional Swiss). We didn't have a bad meal the whole time, but I would say our favourite was the Spagetti and Pizza factory located in the heart of the town - which offers a create your own pizza option!
Aside from eating and drinking Zermatt doesn't necessarily offer much else to do in the evening (although there is an interesting museum if you like that kind of thing). That said the skiing experience is so great that you are likely to want to just relax or socialise after dark anyway.