The Gornergrat-Stockhorn area
The Gornergrat-Stockhorn area has two distinct personalities.
The slopes in the Riffelberg area are gentle and easy, while the Stockhorn area is rather challenging and difficult. Some of our older readers may have heard the expression “getting there is half the fun.” This is especially true of the train ride to The Gornergrat as it takes in some of the most spectacular scenery in the Alps with vistas of wide open spaces and stunning mountain peaks.The Gornergrat train is located directly across from the main Zermatt station. Trains leave from here for the skiing every 24 minutes. In high season the popularity of this area results in very crowded trains; we recommend that you start your day either before 9AM or after 10:30. That way you should avoid most of the mob scene.
Once on the Gornergrat skiers will find a beautiful rock built building housing two restaurants, one with full service while the second, less expensive entry features self service. The Matterhorn and the beautiful MonteRosa massif are but two of the highlights that can be seen from your vantage point of the hotel or observatory.
You might like to continue from here to the moderately difficult run towards Riffelalp, where you find a restaurant and two ski huts. Should you, from there, opt to stay in the Gornergrat area, it is necessary to reboard the train at “Land tunnel.” If you opt to continue along the run instead of reboarding the train, it will take you past another ski hut to Furi, and the link to the Klein Matterhorn area. Riffelberg with its collection of easy to moderately difficult skiing is also the starting point of the short Trainer T bar and the long Gifthittli T bar.
The arrival point of this long T bar is the beginning of a very interesting middling difficult piste, the Kelle. Just before its end it is possible to change direction and head for the Gant-Blauherd or Gant-Platte-Triftji ski areas. Should, however you decide to stay in the Gornergrat area,simply take the lift back to Riffelalp in order to catch the train back up to Gornergrat.
Cable cars take you from Gornergrat to Hohtlli, Rote Nase and Stockhorn. In this area are only a few moderate and many difficult and challenging runs. The whole area faces north and due to its fantastic snow quality becomes a paradise for good skiers mainly in the second half of the winter. From Hohtlli you can choose the moderate White Hare-Piste that takes you through a beautiful valley back to Riffelalp or by the Berghaus Findelgletscher to Gant.
The challenging Mittelritz piste is not being controlled nor maintained. With good snow conditions it is a specially attractive site because you can ski down over 800 meters in height in a fall line – a probably unique piste in the world.
A cable car takes you from Hohtlli to the Roten Nase (red nose), where you find at the top of the ridge in a unique position a simple restaurant with a sunny terrace. Here starts the Triftji area, the Mecca for moguls skiers. There is also a moderate, prepared piste without moguls that takes you to the bottom of the Triftji T bar, but the main parts of the vast bowl consists of moguls runs and skied powder pistes
Another cable car takes you for Hohtlli to the Stockhorn station. (The Stockhorn itself is a couple of hundred meters further back). Only good skiers come to this point, because the run starts with a steep face and often there are moguls. Later on it comes together with the Triftji pistes and leads you to the Triftji lift. Only good skiers continue the run by the bottom of the Triftji lift towards Gant.
The Gant T bar takes you back up to several interesting pistes – they are all difficult. The very strong and good skiers finish their day on Triftji often by taking the cable car from Rote Nase back to Hohtlli and descend the Mittelritz down to Gant. At the end of the day, the way over Gant-Blauherd takes you fastest from the Stockhorn area down to Zermatt.