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Zermatt - where to stay...

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Zermatt - where to stay...

We are interested in visiting Zermatt early Jan 2019. It will be my husband, myself and 2 children age 9 and 12 years. The children have never been skiing before so they will be compete beginners.

I see that the most popular spot to learn to ski is the Sunnegga area which is home to Wolli's Park.

Does anyone have any accommodation recommendations for families in this area? (We are flexible with self catering or a hotel).

How far is Hotel Bristol from this area? I see it has excellent reviews on TripAdvisor.

Thanks for any assistance.

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Sunnegga
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Zermatt, Switzerland
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1. Re: Zermatt - where to stay...

You need a better understanding of Zermatt. Sunnegga is a ski area above the village reached by an underground funicular called Sunnegga Express. Yes, Wolli Park is there. But, where your children learn depends on which ski school you choose. I cannot help you there. Bristol is not close to the Sunnegga Express. You would likely get there by the free bus, often crowded.

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Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Sunnegga
Sunnegga
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Zermatt, Switzerland
Bristol
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2. Re: Zermatt - where to stay...

Zermatt is in a long, narrow valley which opens out at the southern end before the mountains rise up. The village is flat in the centre, very steep to the sides. Choosing a hotel is not only a matter of reviews of the hotel (though of course those are important) but also whether you feel able to deal with slopes, wearing ski boots! We once stayed up on Riedstrasse and getting to the centre meant walking down a small slope near the Beau Site hotel. I slid down that more than I ever walked down it! Personally I prefer somewhere quite central but NOT on the Bahnhofstrasse which can be noisy at night. And for a first timer there is really an advantage to staying in the centre because all the shops are there, most of the bars, restaurants etc and also the skating rink.

Why don't you do this - find several hotels that interest you in terms of price, quality, offering etc. (You can use www.zermatt.ch to see which hotels are free for your dates). Then post your list here (maybe no more than 5?) We can then tell you the pros and cons of each in terms of location, ease of access etc.

In Zermatt there are 3 main ski areas - Sunnega you already know about. The Gornergrat and the Glacier. These last two are linked by a cable car via Furi. Getting from the Gornergrat to Sunnega or vv is possible on skis but not for beginners. As Gotlegal says where your children will have their ski school depends on the ski school chosen. And the eBus in the village makes it easy to get to the lifts for each area. Sunnega Express and Gornergrat train are very close to each other in the village. The lifts to the Glacier are maybe 25mins walk from either of those. Or a few mins. in the bus. Bus is free if you have a ski pass.

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Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
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Zermatt, Switzerland
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3. Re: Zermatt - where to stay...

Thank-you very much for your replies. I am finding the choice of a ski resort very difficult.

Because our children will be first time even seeing snow, it is important to us that they have a good experience. From what I am reading and from past experience, it is not pleasant to carry skis long distances to the lifts etc and walk too much with ski boots when you feel unsteady on the snow.

I am looking for a 'ski in ski out' experience. The ski school we choose is not as important as the convenience to the nursery slopes. Perhaps Zermatt is not the right ski resort? Although the reason I am interested in it is the Matterhorn, the beautiful centre and the fact that it is more likely to have good snow in early January than many other resorts.

If we were to choose Hotel Bristol, how far would the walk be to the lift that will take us to the most convenient nursery slope?

And then the same question for Jaegerhof Hotel and Apartments and lastly Hotel Alphubel.

If you have any other suggestions, I would really appreciate it. Perhaps even another resort if Zermatt is not the right one for our requirements.

Thank-you Hambagahle. (Have you been to South Africa? Hambagahle is a word meaning Go well or Stay well).

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Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
The Matterhorn
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4. Re: Zermatt - where to stay...

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5. Re: Zermatt - where to stay...

Hello! Judging by your post I would say Zermatt is not the best choice for your family. I have skied in many ski areas and Zermatt is one of the most spread out I have been to and I have NEVER carried my skies more nor walked up and down stairs more with skis. Additionally, Wolli Park is a great tiny little area for first time skiers for a few hours but Zermatt essentially has no other true "beginner" trails. St. Anton actually has a large easily accessible beginners area (Nasserein) or you can base yourself in Lech or Zurs where there are larger beginner areas.

If you do go to Zermatt, Hotel Bristol doesn't seem ideal it is not a short walk to any of the ski lifts. I would choose to stay right next to the bottom of one of the lift areas (Sunnegga, Gornegrat, or Glacier) and choose ski school based on which ones meet where. I do think Sunnegga is probably considered best "beginner" area due to Wolli Park. Sunnegga 'lift' is actually a funicular which involves walking down a long long hallway and up a narrow flight of stairs (in ski boots with skis). There is no ski in / ski out type of experience in Zermatt in my opinion.

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Zermatt
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Canton of Valais, Switzerland
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St. Anton
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St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria
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6. Re: Zermatt - where to stay...

9 and 12 is quite old enough to be carrying skis. It can be a pain with 5 year olds maybe, but I

wouldn’t overthink that issue in making your choice. The reason Swiss resorts like Zermatt are popular is that they are based around real historic villages. Those villages weren’t sited for nursery slope considerations. The ski in/out concept is more about purpose built resorts which often lack that charm (and there are few in Switzerland anyway).

So in short, choose a hotel you like, and a ski school which will have classes in English for children (not a given in January which is outside of Euro school holidays). You can handle the logistics from any reasonably central location. Indeed spending CHF15x2 to get a taxi every day is small fry in the context of a Zermatt family ski vacation cost.

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Zermatt
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7. Re: Zermatt - where to stay...

Kate O be careful about giving advice about a resort you do not really know. An example. When using the Sunnegga Express, there is no need to walk up or down any steps while carrying skis. You can, and many do, until they learn that you board the cars at the end BEFORE having to climb steps. On arrival you walk off the car and take the large elevators to ground level. . There are signs pointing this out. You never noticed. There are elevators at the Matterhorn Express base. Not needed for the Gornergrat train.

Also, there is a beginner area similar to Wolli Park at Riffelberg in the Gornergrat area.

Edited: 21 February 2018, 10:58
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8. Re: Zermatt - where to stay...

Gotlegal my advice stands. Zermatt as a ski area requires quite a bit of walking and transportation and given the op’s stated desire for a ski in/ ski out experience and worry about carrying skis Zermatt doesn’t seem to be best option. Additionally unless you personally are going to guide someone to every elevator in Zermatt how do you assume that op will notice elevator (you said “many do” take the stairs “until they learn.”) If one stays in a hotel that is very short walking distance to Sunnegga he or she will either have to walk uphill to Gornergrat with skis or wait for bus to Gornerat with skis. Or take a taxi. Many won’t consider this an obstacle. Others will and since there are plenty of resorts in Europe and the US where this is not required it seemed worth pointing out.

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9. Re: Zermatt - where to stay...

Kate O-Clearly Zermatt is not the place for someone looking for ski in/out. The OP been duly warned. You hate walking with skis on your shoulder. Got it. But you are overstating your case. I don’t understand why. You didn’t know about the elevators. You also, I presume, didn’t know that next to the absolute beginner areas at Wollii Park and Riffelberg area the chairlift served Eisfluh area and the Rotenboden area served by the train. They are the next level up from rank beginner. Then, on from there to the nearby blue pistes. As a good skier, you probably never noticed any of this. But it is all there. In truth, the beginner areas are huge. The new skiers will not be bored. Need ski in/out and hate carrying skis, forget Zermatt. But, you will have missed one great and beautiful place.

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Zermatt
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10. Re: Zermatt - where to stay...

In fact there are few - very few - places in Switzerland that are ski in/ski out. Those sorts of places, wherever they are around Europe are mainly "designed" ski resorts and not the old villages that we have here. Further - skiing is a sport. Physical effort is expected in sports and carrying skis is really no problem. When we first went to Zermatt in the 60's there was NO eBus and we all walked from one end of the village to the other carrying our skis. I suppose we were tougher then...but I expected my 5 year old to carry at least her poles AND to walk in ski boots which we all did.

Wengen might be a place to think about if you want to avoid having your children make this sort of effort. Or in France - Flaine, Avoriaz and Courcheval. Those have ski in/out options. Few Swiss ones do.

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