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Guide or no guide in Zermatt?

Boston...
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Guide or no guide in Zermatt?

My earlier post was deleted by TripAdvisor, probably because I made a referral. We are skiing in Zermatt for a week in March and considering hiring a licensed guide for off-piste and general advice to get the most out of our trip. We do not need ski instructors. We are a family of 3 who ski 30+/days/year, consider ourselves advanced/expert skiers and are in decent shape. Our 12 year old daughter is a competitive freestyle skier and we are starting to struggle to keep up with her. However her endurance can lag off-piste, but she's always pulled trough and said she'd love to do it again. She is 2 years older and stronger this time around. Is the off-piste experience in Zermatt as wonderful as Chamonix? Is there more than enough on-piste adventure in Zermatt to make a guide not necassary to thoroughly enjoy the area?

Edinburgh
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1. Re: Guide or no guide in Zermatt?

If it were me, factoring in the travel, getting over any jet lag etc I would be minded to spend the first day or so acclimatising to Zermatt and the altitude in particular - the highest lifts take you up to well over 3000 metres and can affect some people, we have two kids who aren't bothered, but the third used to feel a bit queasy for a day or so when she was younger. I might be tempted to hire an instructor for a day early on, not for lessons as such, as you say, you don't really need those, but just to guide you around the ski area, show you the best restaurants and so on (lunch on the mountain is a special experience!). Then, assuming you still want to do an off piste day, I would get in touch with the Alpin centre (who specialise in off piste guiding) and book a guide to do the off piste stuff with you. I have to say there is quite a lot of on piste skiing between the combined Zermatt / Cervinia ski area to keep you busy exploring for a few days at least, but if the conditions are good then an off piste day (or two) would clearly add to the experience for you.

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2. Re: Guide or no guide in Zermatt?

If you are going off piste in Zermatt, then you need a mountain guide…. for safety, especially with the snow conditions this winter, and to know where to go as you don't know the mountain. There are lots of different tours you can do via lift access, touring & heli-skiing.

Edited: 4:21 pm, February 24, 2015
Anchorage, Alaska
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for Anchorage, Zermatt
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3. Re: Guide or no guide in Zermatt?

You absolutely must have a guide to go off piste. Many of the instructor/guides are accustomed to not really teaching but guiding all day so don't worry about that. Plan on about 400 SF per day unless you join a group but that might not be best for your daughter. There is a lot of on piste skiing between the various areas on both sides of the border and you can pretty easily fill quite a few days. Be sure to stop for lunch at some of the terrific restaurants on the hill - you won't regret it!

Karlsruhe, Germany
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for Baden-Wurttemberg, Baden-Wurttemberg
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4. Re: Guide or no guide in Zermatt?

Too often, fatal avalanches are caused by irresponsible off-piste skiers. Please hire a guide.

Canton of Valais...
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for Switzerland
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5. Re: Guide or no guide in Zermatt?

Ditto for me. PLEASE hire the guide and look on the expense as insurance. There have been a lot of avalanches recently and just last weekend 4 people were killed on the St Bernard in an area that is very heavily used. You may be good skiers but you do not know the local conditions nor the mountain. Guides do.

Boston...
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6. Re: Guide or no guide in Zermatt?

Thanks! I'm the "in-bounds" enforcer in the family and wouldn't let anyone venture off-piste without a guide.

Boston...
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7. Re: Guide or no guide in Zermatt?

I'm the worry-wort mom that is 100% in agreement with you.

Canton of Valais...
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for Switzerland
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8. Re: Guide or no guide in Zermatt?

Welcome to the club of the "worry worts" !! This time there really is something to worry about!

Boston...
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9. Re: Guide or no guide in Zermatt?

Hi Hambagahle - I just posted a snow conditions request. Are you there? Hubby is panicked when he saw half of the lifts and lots of terrain are closed. Is Breuil-Cervina or Valtournenche closed for wind hold or some reason like that? If the avalanche dangers are "considerable" as the website states they must have snow. The trip is paid for. We live near Boston and I wish we could ship our snow to the hills!! We are at 100+ inches (254cm) in 3 weeks.

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10. Re: Guide or no guide in Zermatt?

There is snow. The lifts over to Italy are up at 3500-4000m and often close due to wind.

Be aware that European resorts are different to US ones, in that we don't have "in-bounds" off-piste which is considered safe and patrolled. We have pistes…. and off-piste.

Edited: 11:50 am, February 25, 2015