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Access

Take the highest ski lift in Europe right up to the top of the Zermatt ski area, Klein Matterhorn. From here you can ski down the glacier (which is in fact the summer ski area) and either turn back towards Zermatt or head over to the Italian ski resorts of Cervinia and Val Tournanche.

But, before you put your skis on head up to the viewing platform (3,883m) to take in the breath-taking view. You are surrounded by 38 four thousand meter peeks, including a spectacular view over to Mont Blanc.

Skiing highlights

The pistes on the Italian side have a more south facing aspect and are long and wide. Many people head over this way and end up just skiing the runs around the 3 chairs up from Plan Maison, but we would suggest heading off further skiers right and finding the high speed 6-seater chairlift under the Matterhorn’s south face, for some fantastic red and black runs with a quick turnaround.

We also love the Ventina (a 11.5km red run from Plateau Rosa to Cervinia) for a long and uninterrupted run. If you are up early enough and are looking for a speedy day flying round the pistes it’s worth heading all the way over to the piste Reine Blanche (the piste that head down to Val Tournanche, it is really fun, rolling and winding terrain and always quiet.

Italian restaurants

Lunching on the Italian side is also fantasic (so are the coffee stops!). Chalet Etoile is probably the most written about restaurant over in Cervinia, and with it’s enormous sun terrace, great food and friendly team it’s easy to see why.

If you can’t get a table there all is not lost, there are plenty of other fantastic places to try, from the tasty paninis at Testa Grigia, the stunning views from the Theodul hutte, the meat on the grill at Les Clochards, or the delicate and fine dining at Snowflake, you won’t be disappointed.

International ski pass

Can always buy an upgrade to your pass if you plan to go just once, cheaper than booking International pass for the week. However, if you are a good skier… it’s worth heading over early in the week in case you want to pop back over another time (for a good Italian coffee!).

Timings

To make the most of your day over in Italy we recommend aiming for the first lift (0830 Matterhorn Express) and getting up and over to the Italian side in time for a coffee stop in the sun.

Don’t miss the last lift back (as early at 1500 from Plan Maison early in the winter), otherwise it’s a 5hr and a few hundred euro taxi ride (or a night in a hotel). Always watch out for weather changes – it’s not worth getting stuck over there if the wind picks up and the lifts close.

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