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Pure Powder’s Resort guide: Zermatt

Zermatt is one of the most iconic and well-known ski resorts in the world, made famous through the climbing exploits of the British mountaineer Edward Whymper who was the first to successfully scale the Matterhorn in 1865.  Since then it has become a hugely popular ski resort as well as summer climbing hot-spot.

Location: Zermatt is high in the Swiss Alps in the Valais canton and borders Italy with Cervinia within skiing distance

Getting there: Rail – The ‘romantic’ way to travel, make the most of Switzerland’s legendary rail system and relax on a scenic journey by train.  Zermatt is easily accessible from Zurich or Geneva, with trains leaving directly from both airports and with only one change. From Zurich it takes 3 ½ hours, from Geneva 4.

Car – One of Zermatt’s many charms is that there are no cars allowed in the village aside from the golf-buggy style electric carts.  This means that if you do travel by car to Zermatt then you need to park in Täsch (there’s a multi-storey car park at the station) and then trundle up to Zermatt in the local train.

Where to stay: Value – A slight oxymoron when Zermatt is concerned as the chocolate box village and incredible panoramas do come at a price!  Zermatt is not the place to head to on a budget but for a reasonably priced option, check out Hotel Perren. It offers very comfortable living, buffet breakfasts to get you going and half board; five course dinners await you at night.

Money No object – if you are looking to push the boat out (and why not, this is the perfect place to do just that!) then look no further than the Heinz Julen Penthouse. Designed and built by the Zermatt legend Heinz Julen – who is an eccentric and hugely talented designer born and bred in Zermatt – this place cannot fail to impress!

Highlights: Where to start…probably the highlight of Zermatt is the panoramic views that assault your senses from all angles.  The Matternorn dominates the sky-line but there is a cluster of other 4,000 + metre peaks that provide a spectacular backdrop to the skiing.

Downsides: Zermatt was not purpose built so at times it can be frustrating logistics connecting between ski areas. But the lift system has been vastly improved in the last 5 years so accessibility has opened up.

Best piste run: The National (just down from Blauherd) is a Zermatt classic famed for hosting the down-hill races.  It’s a steep, rolling run through the trees and is best tackled non-stop to really get the thighs burning.

Best mountain restaurant: Franz & Heidi’s is a wonderfully rustic farm building, with a magnificent view of the Matterhorn. It serves up a delicious mixture of local ‘Alpine’ food such as rosti with lamb, garlic soup and some more contemporary dishes such as their special, (my favourite) with asparagus, prawns and beef Carpaccio – heaven on a plate!

Best restaurant in town: The Gitan Grill feels like it hasn’t changed in years.  The wonderful Silvio is the head waiter who oozes charm and has been a feature at the Gitan for as long as we can remember.  The restaurant (part of the Darioli Hotel) is intimate and snug, with cave like walls and a big open fire as its centrepiece.  You can’t go wrong with anything from the grill but the rack of  lamb for two is a house speciality worth attempting.

Best après bar: It has to be the one and only Hennu Stall  – or Chicken Hut.  Situated on the side of the piste, just before you hit Zermatt (skiing down from the Matterhorn / glacier side), you can’t miss it.  Prepare to dance like your dad to the live band and party with locals and punters alike.

Best off piste run: The back bowls of Triftji offers some easy access powder skiing when the conditions are right.  You can usually ski a number of great pitches of un-tracked powder if you get up early and are ahead of the crowds.  As ever, we recommend skiing off piste with all the right kit, and preferably with a guide (see below).

Best guide: Anjan Truffer is a fantastic local Zermatt guide with oodles of international experience.  Although Anjan spends a big chunk of time as a heli ski guide in Canada and many other of the top heli ski destinations in the world, he always spends time guiding a lucky few in and around his home mountain in Zermatt.

Looking for an off piste skiing adventure in Zermatt? Let us know! We can help plan every aspect of your off piste skiing and all that comes with it. Contact the heli skiing and off piste skiing experts at Pure Powder!

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Top Resorts for your Heli Ski Warm Up in Canada

The Telegraph listed their Top Ten Ski Resorts in Canada, among them was some of our favourites for pre-heli ski warm up.  They are great destinations to try out that famous Canadian powder before you embark on your heli skiing adventure with CMH.   Revelstoke Revelstoke is a small town but is the perfect place […]

Posted by: Georgie Knox

Heli Skiing for First Timers – What are my Options?

Embarking on a heli skiing trip for the first time can be daunting and so we wanted to highlight some options specifically geared towards first time heli skiers. If you are a strong piste skier, have a decent level of fitness and are keen to start skiing in the powder then heli skiing could be […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Heli Skiing in Canada: 4 reasons why it’s special

If you’ve ever wondered why 95% of the world’s heli skiing operators are based in Canada check out our 4 reasons why heli skiing in Canada is a must for everyone’s bucket lists. ONE// TERRAIN They say size doesn’t matter, but in the case of heli skiing, Canada’s sheer scale makes it the perfect place […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Skiing Resort Guide: Silver Star

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Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Skiing Resort Guide: Sun Peaks

Location:  Having added two new Alpine zones to their ski area in the 2014/2015 season, Sun Peaks has become the second biggest ski area in Canada, behind Whistler.  It is the perfect warm up destination for anyone who is heli skiing at CMH’s Cariboos Lodge. Getting there:  Easily accessible, Sun Peaks is about a 50-minute […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

How is snow formed?

As skiers we are obsessed with those tiny little flakes falling from the sky – constantly on the lookout for the next powder dump and eagerly awaiting those cold mornings when you wake up to find a white blanket covering everything and the perfect powder skiing conditions! But a question we often ask ourselves is […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Do I have to break the bank to go heli skiing in Canada?

Floating through knee-deep powder with only your buddies to keep you company.  A helicopter waiting at the bottom of each run.  Being whisked up to the top of another glorious powder filled peak.  That’s what dreams are made of – but the key question is do you have to break the bank to make making […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

The Top 5 Heli Ski Lodges in the World

Pure Powder have put together their top five heli ski lodges in the world.   ONE// Deplar Farm, Iceland This first-class, modern lodge, located on Iceland’s Troll Peninsula, is a remote retreat ideal for thrill seeking heli skiers who enjoy the finer things in life.  As well as epic heli ski lines down to the […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Skiing Resort Guide: Big White

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Posted by: Zillah Bell

The Ultimate Ski Bucket List – Telegraph October 2016

Canadian Mountain Holidays named one of The Telegraph’s Ultimate Ski Bucket List: ‘The tension of waiting for the weather to break, the expectation as the helicopter rotors begin to spin, the eagle’s eye view of pristine wilderness peaks as you’re flown 
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Posted by: Zillah Bell

Heli Skiing in Iceland – An Adventure of a Lifetime

The Telegraph have named heli skiing in Iceland one of their 50 adventures of a lifetime. ‘Ski from the mountain peaks down to the sea or fly-fish for salmon in glacial rivers accessed only by helicopters. You’ll be staying at Deplar Farm, the ultimate wilderness retreat located in a remote valley in north-west Iceland, surrounded […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder Sponsoring London Screening of ‘Ruin and Rose’

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Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Top 10 Ski Blogs

Back in November 2010 we blogged about the ‘best ski blogs in the business’ and now, after some extensive research and deliberation we bring you our newest, hottest top 10 list… These blogs are set to bring you the latest news, fashionable destinations and first-rate tips and advice.  They are 100% guaranteed to whet your […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s CMH Heli Skiing UK Tour – October 2016

CMH Heli Skiing Presentations:  For over 35 years,  Pure Powder have been the exclusive UK representatives of CMH Heli Skiing in Canada – the largest heli ski operator in the world.   Each year Pure Powder team up with one of the CMH heli ski mountain guides and set about spreading the love for powder skiing on a […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Summer Adventures in Western Canada

When you think of Western Canada you think of winter.  You think of the cold and the rain and the snow.  What you may not realise is that a summer in the mountains of British Columbia and Alberta is like no other, there are so many activities to choose from, and it is breathtakingly beautiful! […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Heli Skiing in Chile – 5 Things You Shouldn’t Miss

If you’re missing the snow this summer, fear not – there is plenty of the deep powder skiing to be had in the Southern Hemisphere.  And arguably the best place to ski in summer is the central Chilean Andes; famed for it’s consistent (and big) storms and endless terrain this is explorative heli skiing at […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder feature in ‘In the Snow’

Heli skiing can seem like an impossible dream to many of us. You’ve seen the glossy magazine pictures, perhaps watched a video, but could you really do it yourself?  Most are happy on the piste, but never really see the “wow” factor of off-piste (which seems more like hard work!), and may never have the […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Pure Powder and CMH feature in Fall Line Magazine

Pure Powder and CMH feature twice in April 2015 ski magazine Fall Line.  “Heli-skiing: the ultimate trip of a lifetime.  Fresh lines all day, zero uphill effort, floating through bottomless pow, blah blah blah: sound alright.  Which is why my ski-mad husband and I used the excuse of ‘winter honeymoon’ to book this extravagant and […]

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CMH feature in Fall Line Magazine: A Day in the Life of Doug Dykeman

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Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Pure Powder and CMH Heli Skiing in the FT Weekend Magazine

Pure Powder and CMH Heli Skiing were featured in the 16-page ski special ‘Pink Snow’ article which celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of heli skiing.  We took Tom Robbins with us to Canada in order to uncover what all the hype about skiing with a helicopter is. “It is dark when we turn alongside the Columbia […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank