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Switzerland - Alpine Tour

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Tour de Alps - Switzerland

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Zermatt, Switzerland

Riffelalp and Klein Matterhorn Monday, September 19, 2005
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Zermatt

Zermatt Yacht Club

After a fantastic breakfast buffet, we took the Gornergrat Rail down to Zermatt.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 05 - Zermatt - City Brook

Walk Through Zermatt

Waterfall Through Zermatt

After a visit to the Coop to pick up some snacks, we walked through the village to the lifts.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 05 - Zermatt - River Pan

Sports

Downhill Bikes

Winter and summer, there are a number of alpine sports. The Klein Matterhorn has skiing year-round, and on the lower slopes, you can mountain bike, devil bike (big tires), downhill trotti (scooter) and a footstrapped oversized moutainboard (cross between a large skateboard and snowboard).

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Movie - Swiss - Day 05 - Cable Car

Up to the Klein Matterhorn

Matterhorn-Express

On the west side of town, the lifts that access the ski slopes can be found that venture up to the Klein Matterhorn.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 05 - Cable Car Departing

Lift Tickets

Klein Matterhorn Lift

You can purchase a round-trip ticket or a day pass. There are three transitions to the summitt.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 05 - Cable Car Going Up

Cablecar

Aerial Cablecar

From the Winkelmatten to Furi/Schweigmatten you can go either to the Schwarzsee Paradise or to Trockener Steg.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 05 - Cable Car in Clouds

Transition

Trockener Steg

Trockener Steg is at 2,939 meters, and from here it's one more lift to the Klein Matterhorn.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 05 - Klein Matterhorn - Cable Car Arrives

The Top

12,736 Feet - Top of Klein Matterhorn

We arrived at the top in snow and a cloud. The lift arrives at the entrance to a tunnel - through the tunnel and at the end is the beginning of the ski slope and a restaurant built into the top of the mountain. You can go to the observation platform by taking an elevator. Once you get out of the elevator, you have to walk up several flights of metal stairs. The air up here is thin. You'll find yourself taking a few gasps of air.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 05 - Klein Matterhorn - Cable Car Going Up

Skiers

Olympic Skiers on Klein Matterhorn

Since there is snow here year-round, the altitude is great for acclimating skiers to the higher altitudes. Olympic hopefulls were training here for the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 05 - Klein Matterhorn - Cable Car Up

Lunch

Schwarzsee

On the way back down, we stopped at the Schwartzsee Paradise for some lunch. We were going to hike down, but it was cold and cloudy outside, so we opted to take the cablecar down one more segment. There are lots of great hiking trails here, some that go up the mountain, and others that go down to the village of Zermatt.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 05 - Cows

Cablecar

Aerial Cablecar

The cablecars are fantastic ways to view the incredible vistas around the mountains, as well as getting up a mountain.

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Hike to Riffelalp

Hike Up To Riffelalp

After we got down from the Klein Matterhorn, we hiked over the small river gorge and then found a trail up to the Riffelalp. It was a cool day, and perfect weather for the hike up. The Riffelalp is no easy hike up, and be prepared for a 2-3 hour hike. We did not start from the village of Zermatt, but from the lift station at Schweigmatten.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 05 - Hike up to Riffelalp from Zermatt

Spa Wellness Center

Lawn Service At Riffelalp

After our days adventure, we spent the balance of time at the pool, jacuzzi, and spa. The huge outdoor jacuzzi was fantastic as usual, although the view was obscured by clouds. The crackling fire near the pool took the chill off of the day and we sampled the variety of wellness center amenities, including the steam room, grotto, and sauna. All were fantastic, and just what you need after a long day of hiking or skiing.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 05 - Riffelalp - Sheep Grazing

Evening

Sample Ticket on Gornergrat

Since the lower casual restuarant was not open on Monday's, we dined up in the more formal dining room. Dinner was fantastic as usual. The bar/lounge closes early on Monday's. The best time to stay at the Riffelalp (off-season) is Monday through Friday - there are not many guests there. Weekends are full, and generally require a advance reservation. Keep in mind that the Glacier Express is the most busy on Saturday's, and all those people will be staying in Zermatt somewhere.

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Movie - Swiss - Day 05 - Riffelalp Sheep

Map of Zermatt in .pdf format.

Zermatt info in .pdf format.

Zermatt lift ticket.

Zermatt in .pdf format.

Clear Day - Things to Do
Cloudy Day - Things to Do
Sports
Matterhorn Lift Pass - Visit cablecar destinations
Hiking
Skiing
Gornergrat Peak
Shopping in Zermatt
Hiking
Relax in Resort
Spa and Wellness Center
Alpine Walking
Mountain Biking
Downhill Scooter
Devil Bike
Skiing

Additional Photographs: Riffelalp and Klein Matterhorn

(click on photos to enlarge)
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