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Zermatt backcountry & touring 2022
Steep off piste couloir skiing in Zermatt
Course overview

For those looking for challenging off piste and day ski tours in stunning scenery, this could not be better as you are surrounded by over 29 mountains higher than 4000m. From the highest cable car of the Klein Matterhorn, you ski tour up Breithorn 4164m, and you ski all the way back to the valley with over 2600m of vertical descent.

For this course you should be a similar level to those on our Chamonix Off Piste Level 2 course with at least a week's previous off piste experience, such as previously attending the Chamonix Level 1 course. During the week you are taught ski touring skills, and a key feature of the week is a ski tour ascent of the Breithorn.

Your expert IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guide will show you some of the most remote regions of the Zermatt region, whilst improving your technique and looking after your safety. As with all our courses, you are taught important skills such as avalanche awareness and tranceiver searches, digging snow pits, essential Alpine ropework, route finding over glaciers, and crevasse rescue systems.
The level of the runs and tours is only limited by your previous off piste experience and the conditions. You do not need to be super fit, but good stamina will make the days easier and allow you more breath to enjoy the scenery. Our aim is for you to enjoy a challenging, thrilling, great off piste and touring week.
The group for each course is limited to six people per Guide to ensure that you get good access, and learn as much as possible, as we have found that a small group on the mountain achieves and learns far more.
Dates: these are listed in the column on the right, and they show the live availability from our secure online booking system. When you book online, you receive immediate confirmation, your Alpine Information Booklet, course specific kit list and invoice.

Epic off piste ski conditions and fresh tracks in Zermatt

Brief Course Itinerary
The itinerary of this course is adapted daily to cater for the best snow conditions, and your improving ski level, but these details should give an idea of what you can achieve during the week.
Sunday - Arrival day
Travel to Zermatt to arrive for the 17:00 accommodation check-in, usually in a hotel in the centre of Zermatt. Above the town, the iconic shape of the Matterhorn looms above, and the town itself is beautifully preserved and traditional. There is time for you to rent any ski equipment. Some clients opt to travel out a day or two early to get their ski legs back and to test out their skis, as well as to acclimatise. Night in Zermatt on room only basis.
Monday - Day 1 guiding
Day 1 of Guiding (1:6): After early breakfast, you meet the guide for a course safety briefing and kit checks. You go the ski lift, and get going straight away. The first day is ideal as a refresher for your off piste skills, and there are plenty of good areas to select from depending on the weather and conditions. At the end of the day you ski down to your valley accommodation, your base for the next four nights. Night in Zermatt on room only basis.
Tuesday - Day 2 guiding
Day 2 of Guiding (1:6): A popular choice for the day are the off piste areas accessed from the stunningly located Gornergrat cable car. Starting from opposite the main Zermatt train station, this train takes you up to the start of the runs through a range of spectacular Alpine vistas with stunning mountain peaks in every direction. Riffelberg offers a wide range of terrain to choose from, for all levels of skier. Night in Zermatt on room only basis.
Wednesday - Day 3 guiding
Day 3 of Guiding (1:6): Today is based from the more challenging Stockhorn cable car. Your Guide will take you through the huge untracked powder fields, with demanding runs through the trees. As Zermatt is both high in altitudes with an abundance of north facing slopes, huge areas of powder snow or spring (corn) can still be found many days after it falls - and your Guide will know where to find it!. Night in Zermatt on room only basis.
Thursday - Day 4 guiding
Day 4
of Guiding (1:6): A week of backcountry and touring in Zermatt is not complete without a day ski touring up to reach the summit of the Breithorn 4164m, and then skiing the longest run in Zermatt from the high Klein Matterhorn ski station where you can descend all the way back to Zermatt past the North face of the Matterhorn - a distance of over 17km with a whole range of freeride off piste routes to take. Night in Zermatt on room only basis.
Friday - Day 5 guiding
Day 5 of Guiding (1:6): As it is your last day of guiding, most groups opt for an early start to make it a big day. A day of high adrenaline! Today is an opportunity to stray further from the pistes and cable cars to try some 'hidden gems' of Zermatt, with more ski touring to explore deeper backcountry areas. At the end of the afternoon, most groups opt to go out for a few celebratory drinks and dinner. Night in Zermatt on room only basis.
Saturday - Departure day
Breakfast then the accommodation check out is by 10:00. Most arrange their airport transfers to leave around this time, to catch a flight from Geneva about midday. Depart for home.

ITINERARY NOTES: Where possible we follow itineraries. Mountain adventures are weather and conditions dependant, so occasionaly we are forced to alter the plans. If this is the case, suitable alternatives are offered. Please use this outline itinerary as a guide to the types of route / activity that you will attempt.

Icicle ski touring group on the summit of Breithorn
Course Prices
Standard course
5 full days IFMGA guiding, 1:6 max ratio
7 days holiday in total, Sunday-Saturday
Live availability
Click on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Latest Availability
Secure online booking system
Standard Course Inclusions: 1) IFMGA Mountain Guides for five days, 2) Pre course information booklet, 4) Equipment discount voucher for UK kit shops, 5) Six nights accommodation in the Zermatt ski area (includes linen, bedding & towels) on a room only basis, 6) Free 36 page technical Course Instruction Booklet.
Exclusions: 1) Travel to and from Zermatt, 2) Cable Cars & uplift (ski pass for the week), 3) Ski / boot hire, 4) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches, & any purchases in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 5) Transport outside the Zermatt valley, 6) Sunday pre-dinner drinks & Friday celebratory meal & drinks, 7) Activities insurance, excess baggage charges.
Group sizes: 3 - 6 people per IFMGA mountain guide. For group sizes of over 6 people, there are multiple guides, and the teams travel independently of each other.
Upgrade options
Avalanche Skills Training
£75 (throughout the season)
To learn avalanche prediction, reutschblocks and use of avalanche tranceivers. Course is available on any dates, either scheduled or private, details.
Skiing on the glacier below the Matterhorn
Current course availability

Course Dates
Zermatt Backcountry
  • No Dates Available
NOTE: This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are four who
are booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish

Price: £1299 Book online

Preparatory trips
Chamonix Off Piste

Aosta Ski Touring

Intro Ski Touring
Silvretta Ski Tour

Next trips
Haute Route to Zermatt
Gran Paradiso Ski
Client feedback

Zermatt is brilliant as everything is so accessible and compact. Skiing past the North Face of the Matterhorn was fantastic

Tanya S , Zermatt Off Piste

Another great week with you guys. Thanks so much

Sara D , Zermatt Off Piste

A nice mixture of freeride and some ski touring, so we got the best of both worlds

Connor McD , Zermatt Off Piste

Press & media
Films & videos
Photo gallery
Location data for this trip

The trips all start in Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn. It is easily accessed via train connections from Geneva airport, to Zermatt Bahnhoff train station.

Time Difference
GMT +1hr
Local Currency
CHF Swiss
Travel from UK
1hr flight
Dropping down to the Schonbiel Glacier
Skis & equipment advice
Because we know it is so important to you to have the most suitable equipment and clothing for off piste skiing and touring, we have devoted a page especially to it, which you can access by clicking on the image, or by clicking here. This page outlines the key equipment you should bring, and gives examples of skis that are suitable for the course. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
So why choose us?
We are true specialists in ski touring. See our blog, by clicking on the logo (on the right).
Icicle Blog
Itinerary flexibility to allow you to take full advantage of the weather and conditions each day, so that you maximise the amount of time spent skiiing each day.
Our prices are fixed in £ pounds sterling, to protect you from euro currency fluctuations, so that you can budget accurately.
We have a team of over 30 IFMGA guides, and a resort support team, who all want you to have the best skiing possible! For more details on the guiding team and qualifications, please click here.
Any further questions?
A key part of choosing a company is being able to come and talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know our clients value speaking to real people, getting open and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are British, and our office and outdoor store is based in Windermere in the English Lake District.

Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor. Many people opt for this service, and it is an integral part of what we offer, as we are keen to ensure that you are prepared as possible, and that you select a course that is suitable for you. It makes it easier and more enjoyable for you and us, if you are on the right trip.

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