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Zermatt, Switzerland

Matterhorn - Riffelalp Resort Saturday, September 23, 2006
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Gornergrat Bahn Timetable

Riffelalp Laundry Prices

Riffelalp Color Brochure in .pdf format

Riffelalp B/W Brochure for Rooms and Resort Information in .pdf format

Portrait of an alpine hiker. Front View: Hat, sunglasses, layered clothing, hiking boots, warm socks.

Side View showing day pack with trekking pole.

Back View: Day pack, trekking pole, bottle of Coca Cola (lunch), water bottle, camera and binoculars on belt, inside lunch, warmer coat, warmer hat, snacks.

Gornergrat Bahn reaching Riffelalp station.

Saturday Morning - Klein Matterhorn

Alpine Trotti Scooters

After a delicious breakfast at the Riffelalp, we headed down to Zermatt. We walked through town to the cable car station to start our journey up to Klein Matterhorn.

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Above Zermatt

View From Cable Car

The Matterhorn glacier paradise is 3,883 metres above sea level and is the highest sightseeing point in Europe, which is accessible by cableway. The top is at 12,700 feet which not only gives you a great view of both the Swiss and Italian alps, but gives you some experience at high altitude (for this region).

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The Journey Up the Klein Matterhorn

Matterhorn Express

It all starts at the station in Zermatt. The 8-seater Matterhorn-Express cable railway takes you up to the Furi station. From there the cableway takes you further up to Trockener Steg, where you'll find a restaurant and next station. The highest cableway in Europe transports visitors up past giant crevasses to the Matterhorn glacier paradise and into a breathtaking mountain landscape of glaciers and permanent snow. The last part of the cable car ride is almost a near vertical ascent to the top station. Total time to top - about 40 minutes.

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Klein Matterhorn

Cableway

The Swiss cable car system is amazing. On larger lifts, there are three cables - two on either side on which the cable car (gondola) is attached riding on small wheels, and one center cable which actually pulls the one car to the top, while another car descends. It's a system that relies on gravity to do much of the work.

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Year Round Skiing

Klein Matterhorn Skiing

It can be 60-70 degrees F in Zermatt and 30 degrees F or colder (with wind) at the top. From the cable car station, you walk through a tunnel to access the ski slopes - many which go into Italy. Or you can venture up an elevator and climb some stairs to reach the peak of Klein Matterhorn.

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Klein Matterhorn

Stairs to Observation Platform

After a short elevator ride into thin air, you walk outside and climb a few stairs to reach the top.

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Peak of Klein Matterhorn

At the Top

12,736 feet. The air is thin if you have just come up from the valley below. The wind is blowing. And it's cold. On a clear day, it's absolutely beautiful. You can see the ski slopes below on both Swiss and Italian sides.

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Trockener Steg to Schwarzsee

Cable Car

On the way down, you'll probably be sharing the cable car with about 80-100 smelly skiers. They crowd them in until you can even move. At the next station (Trockener Steg), take the lift down to Schwarzsee. You can then cable car down from there or hike down one of many trails.

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A view from the bottom up - on the slopes of the Matterhorn. This trail is a gradual trail which goes down to Zermatt. No drop-offs.

The trail works its way down the slope on the back side and along the valley where the hydroelectric dams are located.

The river in the gorge below is supplied by water from several alpine glaciers - the river is dammed up to produce power. Here is a small 1-2 person utility cable car.

The grid distribution and transformer section.

Hiking

Furi Station

The hike down to the Furi station took about 3 hours. Allow another hour to downtown Zermatt. During the hike, we stopped for lunch. Along the way, we saw several Swiss men with their scoped rifles that were hunting marmot. Their gear included a nice hat, pipe, rifle with scope, binoculars and a bike (for the way down), or a walking stick.

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| 2006 Tour de Swiss Alps - Riffelalp Resort Review - PDF
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| 2006 Tour de Swiss Alps - Riffelalp Resort Review - PDF

 

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