Zermatt ski guides

Italian itinerary

Skiing into another country for the day is a great experience while you are visiting Zermatt. 

Here is our guide to help you get the most out of your day.

Key Points
Starting Point: Matterhorn Express lift station
Start time: The earlier the better.
Duration: Full day
Highlights: Cross border skiing. Italian coffee and cuisine. Wallet friendly lunch prices.
Skill level: For red run skiers
Weather recommendation: Choose a good weather day

Ski into another country

A day out in Italy

Start at Klein Matterhorn

The highest lift in Europe

Lots of lunch options

Italian lunches

Our day starts at the Matterhorn Express…

At the south end of the village. In busy times, there can sometimes be a queue here (especially if there’s been a day or two of bad weather as everyone takes the chance to go to Italy) but it’s rarely more than a few minutes long. To avoid the peak time, and to make the most of the day, go early. 

First lift is 0830.

The Matterhorn Express takes us through various mid stations to Trockener Steg in about 25 minutes. If you’re starting elsewhere in the ski area, just take the runs through / from Gornergrat down to Furi and jump on the Matterhorn Express there.

At the top of the Matterhorn Express, change to the fancy, new 3S lift up to the Klein Matterhorn. Before you ski from here, there’s the option of visiting the viewing platform to check out the amazing vistas and / or heading down into the ‘Glacier Palace’ to check out the sculptures under the ice.

Once, you’re clipped into your skis, there’s just the one piste leading away from Klein Matterhorn. Follow this and take the first left hand turn (at the T bars) across the flat towards Testa Grigia.

Option 1a, For good red run skiers:

Take a left here and ski the Ventina piste (7). This is a wonderfully varied red run that takes you all the way down to Cervinia. This is a long (1800 vertical metre) descent!

At the end of the run, you reach the gondola out of Cervinia that will take you up to Plan Maison.

Option 1b, For good red run skiers who want to do a lot of miles:

After the first pitch of the Ventina run, keep left and carry speed along the flat. Keep left and you’ll reach the short chairlift that accesses the Valtournanche ski area. There are various options from the top of this lift but they all lead to Salette (and then eventually to Valtournanche village). However far down you ski, the lifts bring you back to the same access point (from town; gondola, chair lift, chairlift, button drag lift) and you can rejoin the Ventina to ski down to Cervinia.

At Testa Grigia, bear right and ski the piste leading towards Zermatt. After 300 metres, take the left hand piste over the Theodul Pass. This piste gets progressively easier / wider and although it divides in places, all runs lead to Plan Maison


Plan Maison is kind of a central hub for skiing this part of the Cervinia area. Orient yourself with it and makes sure you’re somewhere near it by mid afternoon to make sure you hit the last lift back to Zermatt.

From Plan Maison, there are a couple of nice runs down to Cervinia. You reach town at a 6 man chairlift back to Plan Torrette (just below Plan Maison). Here you jump on a second chairlift towards the Matterhorn. This accesses great red and black runs that generally have good snow and are not too busy as well as a blue run (keep left) back to Plan Maison.

Getting back to Zermatt. From Plan Maison, you can take the 3 chairlifts back to the Theodul Pass or the gondola and cable car to Testa Grigia. The latter gives an easy descent back to the Swiss slopes. The route over the Theodul Pass has a very narrow albeit short section.

It’s a simple ski back to Trockener Steg and on down to Furgg, Furi and Zermatt. To avoid the black run below Furgg, take the Matterhorn Express to Schwarzsee and ski the red runs down.

Lunch Options:

Bontadini. Self service as well as a smart sit down restaurant. The first restaurant you come to after crossing the Theodul Pass.

The famous Chalet Etoile. Swedish run with good, fresh pasta dishes. Gets plenty of press (for good reason). Just off the piste above Plan Maison.

The Love restaurant. A new addition to the fine food list. Just below Plan Maison.

Pit Stop, good food for a self service joint. Below Plan Maison on the right.

Pousset. Simple fare but very good pizzas. Off left, half way down the Ventina.

Foyer des Guides. If you’re brave enough to eat a long (long) way from Zermatt. On the run down to Valtournanche.

Theodulo. Right on the border so settle in without worrying about last lift. Top of the Bontadini chairlift.

TOP TIP - Timings

It’s important you don’t miss the last lift back to Switzerland. The alternative is an expensive 5 hour taxi ride to Tasch or an overnight stay in Cervinia. Most of the lifts have a “Last lift to Zermatt” time posted (it varies through the winter).