What to check before you head up skiing in Zermatt

This isn’t the obvious list to make sure you have your goggles, gloves etc. I’m assuming you’ve got that bit covered already. Zermatt is ahead of a lot of resorts and has a huge array of information it’s worth a quick look at in the morning to help you get the most out of and enjoy your day. Also as the ski area is vast and conditions can be completely different from one are to another it’s great to be armed with as much information as possible.

The forecast is important and something that we always look at, for more information on that look at our weather page, this is about the current conditions on the day. With that in mind this is what I check every before I head up the hill every morning.


It’s really good to know what sort of temperature you are dealing with before you head out the door. Just because it’s a beautiful sunny day doesn’t mean it’s warm!

As you go up the mountain it gets colder, this is called lapse rate and is roughly equivalent to getting 1 degree colder per 100m you ascend on a sunny day (on a cloudy day this change to 1 degree colder per 200m of ascent). We have a vertical difference of 2275m from town to the top of Klein Matterhorn, so (almost) whatever happens it’s going to be colder up there.

When it’s below -20 at the top you want to make sure you are dressed for it!


Wind chill

At the top of Klein Matterhorn temperatures of -20 are not uncommon and at nearly 4000m it is often windy, you can see from the table above that would easily move most people into an increasing risk zone.

Current wind

While you look at the temperature it’s also worth checking the wind speed up the mountain. Zermatt is high and we ski really high, we are surrounded by some of the biggest mountains in the Alps and it gets windy…it can get seriously windy!

Wind forecast

Have a look at the forecast for the day and see if it looks like the wind is going to increase. The short-term forecast is really accurate, and you can get a localised forecast for Klein Matterhorn. This is a great one to check and help you plan a day out in Italy as if the wind picks up while you are enjoying lunch in Cervinia and the lifts close it’s a very long drive back to Zermatt!

So why is it important to know where it’s windy?
  1. It’s colder! Wind chill can dramatically reduce the temperature 
  2. Visibility – Especially if there is new snow on the ground. It can blow around and make the terrain even harder to see.
  3. It’s a big ski area…if you know where it’s windy, there’s a good chance you can avoid it and ski somewhere that is not howling.
  4. You don’t want to get stuck in Cervinia!

Open Lifts

From 8am every day the lift status is updated live online. Depending on your preferences or what device you are looking on then check the Bergbahnen website, their app or Zermatt.net. This is great to check in the morning especially if the weather is not great as wind/cold/new snow can cause lifts not to open straight away.

TOP TIP – Over the last few years the Bergbahnen have put wifi in every lift station so if it looks like the weather is moving in from the Italian side you can check any of these sites or apps during the day and update your plans!


There are lots of webcams all around the mountain. If it looks cloudy in town and you are thinking about a long breakfast just double check the webcams up high it could easily be a big inversion and not very far above you it’s a stunning day with the Matterhorn poking out of a sea of cloud.

Check the Zermatt Webcams here: zermatt.roundshot.com/rothorn/

The Bergfex app is great for the forecast but also has a ‘webcams’ tab on the top which is great for a quick overview of what it looks like up there.
Henry Meredith Hardy

Henry Meredith Hardy

Henry is one of the owners of Summit and has been in Zermatt since 2000. He came to the mountains to ski and still loves it. Henry also works as a trainer for BASI and heads up out various training programs.

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