The Big Flaw in the Zermatt-Cervinia Ski Area

I’ve never skied the Zermatt-Cervinia area before now, and when the opportunity to do so fell into my lap I couldn’t say no. This is the ski area often voted the best in the world. So I cancelled my trip to La Grave (rescheduled for later in the season) and packed my skis and boots bound for Cervinia.

Cervinia is an adorable Italian ski resort, with fast lifts, good food, a whole host of bars serving mountains of food with every drink. Cervinia has also been largely closed this week.

Look, I was never expecting perfect off-piste bowls. This ski area is far more famous for its pistes than it’s powder after all, and I arrived expecting to find perfect corduroy slopes stretching out in front of me, just waiting to be carved. I sort of got my wish, as long as you count five open ski runs as ‘stretching out in front of you’.

Cham might be completely inaccessible for beginners, poorly connected and filled with some of the slowest lifts in France (all issues I know and love), but it turns out the big killer in Zermatt-Cervinia is the wind. Seriously, today saw over 150km/h of wind at the top of the mountain. These mountains howl when the storms hit.

The Zermatt-Cervinia ski area is possibly the best in the world. I wouldn’t be able to tell you for certain though, because I’ve skied less than half of it. All I can tell you is that the snow off piste gets blown off quickly (wind makes for miserable powder skiing), so it’s probably best to stick to marked runs. There are a whole bunch of fast, wide red runs that you can race down to your hearts content though, and that’s always fun.

I can see why so many people love it here; when the wind’s not keeping most of the mountain shut, it’s great skiing. If you consider how incredible the restaurants here are, and how good the activities off the slopes, it’s got almost everything you need for a perfect ski holiday. Handily, that’s what most people come here looking for.

It’s not my home mountain though, and if I’m being completely honest I’ll be glad to get back. Maybe I’ll try again in the spring, assuming the wind’s died down a bit.

2 thoughts on “The Big Flaw in the Zermatt-Cervinia Ski Area

  1. Don’t you think it’s Little unfair, rubbishing ski resorts when you visit during some windy days? I mean look at the storm that just past through? Even Les Houches has wind!
    If you want to be considered, especially living in flawed Cham, a little more balance will go a long way.


    • It wasn’t intended as a rubbish at all; there were lots of parts of the area I liked, I just didn’t get to see much of it during my stay.
      From what I did see the resort’s good reputation is well deserved, but every ski area has its limitation. Cervinia being so high means that its downside is that there’s not much protection from the wind. That’s what I intended to say in the article, I’m sorry if that didn’t fully come across. In the interest of fairness, I’m aware that Chamonix has far more down sides (ones that are far more off putting than the wind tunnel effect of the Matterhorn) and I do try to make that clear in the article.


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