Zermatt for advanced skiers

If you like challenging black runs or want to head further afield off-piste, you’ll love what Zermatt has to offer.

Each of the areas has black pistes and even challenging reds to keep the most expert skiers happy.

Zermatt also has itinerary (yellow) pistes that are well marked and are opened and closed like normal slopes, but they are unpisted and unpatrolled. This makes them safer off-piste options for anyone wanting to move away from the groomers.


Sunnegga is home to the National piste. A Zermatt classic that was previously used for the Swiss championships. This is a steep, but wide, run that has testing terrain from top to bottom. You’ll be glad of the few gentler sections to give the legs a rest before getting to the Patrullarve chairlift.

Top Tip: In the morning, the bottom section of the National piste back down to town is rarely skied. Get a pre-lunch run down from Patrullarve through the trees on perfect groomers!


While the slopes around Riffelberg hold few challenges for accomplished skiers, those behind Gornergrat around Hohtalli and Rote Nase are an advanced skiers paradise.

The Kelle piste first thing in the morning is a great warm up. Step it up a notch with the Mittelritz itinerary run. Then, if you’re needing more, the itinerary runs from Rote Nase offer 1000 vertical metre descents that will challenge anyone.


The Hirli black run from the new chairlift is just about the steepest piste in Zermatt. It’s a great warm up before testing yourself on Schwarzsee’s three itinerary runs down through the trees to Furi.

Klein Matterhorn to town

A test of both technique and fitness is a non-stop descent from the Klein Matterhorn to Zermatt. Starting on cruisy reds with the occasional tucking section, you need to step it up for the steeper slopes into Furgg.

From here, a challenging black will get the legs burning and the lungs bursting before the final red run to town with its twists and compressions gives the legs a final test. Anyone doing this single run in under 30 minutes deserves a pat on the back.

The move off-piste…

Beyond the itinerary runs, the Zermatt ski area is home to numerous powder stashes and off-piste descents. Take a Summit instructor to get an introduction to off-piste technique, avalanche awareness, mountain safety of just to explore more of the area. Think you are ready for the move to off-piste, check out Paul’s post on it.

For the ultimate off piste experience, Zermatt’s glacial skiing offers magical trips through seracs and over crevasses. This off piste terrain demands respect and should not be skied without a guide.

Top Tip: Take a UIAGM mountain guide for a day on the Schwarztor. A highlight in anyone’s skiing career!

Paul Hammett

Paul Hammett

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