We all know that sinking feeling when the end of our favourite week draws to an end. That resigned feeling that it will be countless weeks until you hear that familiar and comforting “click” as your boots meet your skis once more. Well, let your friends in high places banish such thoughts and welcome you to Zermatt this summer. After all, it isn’t every day that you pack your hiking boots with your ski boots.
Zermatt quite rightly deserves to boast of its reputation of being open for skiing 365 days a year. From the Theodul Glacier, the summer world of skiing is your oyster. Home to Europe’s highest summer skiing, enjoy all 21kms of gloriously groomed pistes, including Snow Park Zermatt at the Plateau Rosa. Take that summer tan home to the office or school playground and show it off with pride. I doubt that many return in September with a hint of a goggle tan and such a wealth of memories. Let us make this your ultimate summer.
To ensure the best skiing, we recommend starting the day a little earlier than those mornings of winter past. We promise to reward you and celebrate an exhilarating morning on the slopes, with a reservation at one of our favourite mountainside restaurants. If there was ever a resort that knows the true meaning of building up an appetite, it is Zermatt. Would you prefer to try Chez Vrony or Findlerhof today?
It is a tough choice between the two, particularly when you have no choice but to invite the Matterhorn to lunch with you. Think wide terraces basking in the midday delights of summer, that favourite vintage quenching your thirst and the most unrivalled of views. This is where memories are made and where you long to return to year upon year.
Trying to put the Matterhorn aside, there is one other place that relishes its historic roots, Chez Vrony. Still ensuring it uses its own organic products made solely from animals that have enjoyed an enviable life of Alpine pastures and vistas, the beating heart of Chez Vrony are the traditional recipes. A closely guarded secret, the plates of dry-cured meat, sausages and Alpine cheeses will be the centerpiece of your languid afternoon. These are the days where you don’t mind the hours ticking by. The diary has been banished, appointments are something your PA is worrying about for you and the only meeting you have this afternoon is with Perrier-Jouët at canapé o’clock. Just like Chez Vrony’s recipes, memories of these days are something that you will pass down from generation to generation.
Equally vying for your undivided attention is Findlerhof, also known as Franz and Heidi’s. Easily reached from the Sunnegga chair lift, the Gault Millau and Michelin Guide delights of Findlerhof are accessible to all. Cozy and rustic in the winter, summer is the time to indulge in the freshest of dishes outside in the freshest of Alpine air.
With such star-studded rivals, the Matterhorn has stiff competition. If gazing longingly towards the peak over mouth-watering delicacies isn’t enough for you, then it is time to get up close and personal with this stand-alone magnet.
One of our favourite and most rewarding hikes is the four and a half hour hike from the Sunnegga lift to the Hörnli Hutte. This is true and proper Base Camp Matterhorn territory and a symbol of Alpine history. Upon reaching the Hörnli Hutte you stand, neck craned skywards, feeling the full humbling force of Mother Nature. With the jagged rock soaring above you, it might not just be the hike that takes your breath away.
Originally built in 1880 by the Monte Rosa section of the Swiss Alpine Club, The Hörnli Hutte, sited at 3,260m has since served many a mountaineer. In 1911 the guesthouse was built and nowadays, on dreamy sunny July and August days, up to 200 climbers and guides scale the Matterhorn. If you would rather stop at the Hörnli Hutte and enjoy the soaring vista, we really won’t blame you.
If your legs would also rather appreciate the striking views with slightly more minimal effort, let us book you a ticket on the Gornergrat. At 3,089m, you might feel in danger of becoming indifferent to such mountain panoramas. However, let Europe’s highest open-air cog railway rejuvenate your weary limbs and your vista gazing appreciation. As we are in Switzerland, I feel confident promising you a thirty-three minute ride to the summit. The vertical climb of 1,469m takes you over dramatic bridges and through tunnels, past pine trees and larch forests and across rocky ravines and mountain lakes. This is a sight to behold but just the tip of the mind-blowing views that are waiting to greet you on the radiant terrace above. Your photographic memory will spring into life, trying to capture it all, from the Monte Rosa massif with the Dufourspitze, Switzerland’s highest peak, to the Gorner Glacier and a total of twenty-nine glorious mountains grasping their reach above 4,000m.
As you gaze across the hazy horizon, brightly coloured specks will catch your attention. Curiosity and an insatiable appetite for enjoying this landscape rises and before you know it, you too will be enjoying the unique unobstructed 360o views of this remarkable landscape. Paragliding is an experience not to be missed. Fill your lungs with pure mountain air and comprehend cruising past soaring peaks whilst having a bird’s eye view of Alpine flowers dancing in the pastures below. You will never be able to be confined to vistas from viewing platforms again.
However, as your head adjusts to the dizzying heights of summer in Zermatt, why not push the boat, or rather the heli, out and go one step further? Our friends in very high places, Air Zermatt, would be delighted to welcome you on board for the ultimate indelible moment of your summer. Choose your flight time and why not gather your allies to design your own route? Followed by après champagne, your feet won’t touch the ground for several hours to come.
Nor will your head, as even long after returning home, you remain in the Matterhorn’s clouds, reveling in the joys of your newly found summer paradise.