So far, our winter stay in Zermatt, Switzerland had been filled with outdoor activities and amazing local food. On our third and final day we planned to go up to Sunnegga in the morning for a ski lesson and then to a famous restaurant in the evening for traditional Swiss dining.
Day 3 – Skiing and Fondue
Day 3 – Skiing and Fondue
Getting our Skiing Gear
I have spent a lot of time at ski resorts all over the world and in all of those visits I never learned how to ski. With this trip to Zermatt I decided it was time to take a lesson and try to learn. I was so nervous! There is a reason why I had not learned to ski up until this point – I was afraid of losing control and falling. Ignoring my fears, I signed us up for a skiing lesson with the Summit Ski School.
Our first stop was to go to one of the ski rental shops in town to get fitted for boots, skis, and poles. It turns out that the length of your skis is determined not just by your size but also by your experience. The less experience you have the shorter your skis. This means that a beginners skis will generally be the length of a person from floor to chin. A more advanced skier might have a pair of skis that go to the forehead. Someone at the shop adjusts your skis so that they fit perfectly with your boots.
Our next stop was to purchase a ski pass. We selected the beginner option which gives lift access up to Sunnegga and the other beginner ski areas. Ski passes are sold for a range of days and potential skiing destinations.
Learning to Ski at Wooli Ski Park
Our equipment and ski passes in hand, we headed up the funicular to Sunnegga to meet our instructor. She met us at the station exit and helped us get a locker to store our backpacks and normal boots. We put on our ski boots and then made our way to the lift that goes down to the Wooli Ski Park. Now, walking in ski boots is a very strange experience. They are very rigid and so walking takes on a kind of stomping rolling pattern. It definitely took some getting used to!
Once in the park we put on our skis for the first time. I was shocked at how slippery they were – the slightest incline and we would immediately start to slide! The very first thing we learned and practiced was how to go and how to stop. To move forward you make your skis parallel and to stop you make a wedge shape that is wider at the back.
We practiced this for a while and then started using a moving conveyor belt to go up a very slight hill which we would ski down and practice stopping. Of course the hill had hardly any incline but it was so thrilling to sail down a slope and bring myself to a stop. Turns out my fears were unwarranted. I never fell and I loved every minute of my time skiing! I definitely have to do it again.
Afternoon Snow Storm
Our ski lesson complete, we headed back down to Zermatt to return our rental gear. In the late afternoon the weather changed and a snow storm blew into the valley. For a short time we were in almost white-out conditions.
The entire valley became even more beautiful as the snow continued to fall and laid a white blanket on the world.
Fondue at Historic Restaurant Whymper-Stube
That evening we headed to a restaurant famous for its fondue. Whymper-Stube has been in Zermatt for a very long time and is incredibly popular. We booked our table prior to our arrival in Zermatt as it is often fully booked days in advance. The inside of the restaurant is very cozy and rustic and provided the perfect atmosphere to counteract the still falling snow outside.
We ordered a traditional cheese fondue as our appetizer and an oil meat fondue (fondue bourguignonne) for our main course. Every bite was warm and amazingly delicious. There is something very enjoyable about coating bread and other vegetables with hot melted cheese and listening to your meat sizzle in the hot oil pot. I loved every bite of this meal!
Our meal finished, we headed back to our chalet for the night. We had an early train to Zurich and a flight to Italy to catch in the morning.
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