PART THREE: “There's no catch netting, no caution signs, just excellent trail beneath our tyres.” What's ahead for Zermatt?
Get a guide!
If you take a trip to Falls Creek, Mt Buller, Blue Derby, Maydena, Hidden Vale Adventure Park, Atherton, Alice Springs or any of Australia's iconic mountain bike destinations, there is little chance you will bother getting a guide. But in Zermatt, like in many European alpine resorts, the culture of mountain biking matches the culture of skiing very closely.
“I always say we are like the movie director,” says Adi from Bike School Zermatt. “There are many different scenes in the mountains. From the restaurant to the hotel, to the trails. The right guide can link all the right experiences to make the best whole day experience. That makes the whole package.” With well over 2500m of altitude to cover on the trails above, in and below Zermatt, there really is something for just about anyone, no matter how or what they want to ride. “The right guide can link all the right experiences to make the best whole day experience,” Adi states, meaning that you don't have to come and ride demanding technical trails – they can find the fun flow lines for you too.
The guides from the Bike School are qualified mountain bike guides. They won't be there to show off, but they are truly capable riders, and at ease in the changeable mountain environment. And from our experience – they're great company too!
What bike should I take to Zermatt?
Take a trail or all-mountain bike. We recommend 130mm or more of travel, strong tyres, big rotors, and a dropper post are a must. You will want low gearing, and platform pedals are good if you want to ride the really high natural trails where some hike-a-bike might be required.
Can I rent a bike?
Yes! There are lots of sports shops but Bike Arena are a mountain bike specialist, with high-quality rental bikes and a full professional work shop. They have all the spares and gear you might need.
What else can I do in Zermatt?
Where do we stop? You could ride to the Fluhalp Hut to spend a night high in the mountains.
Why not take the gondola to Glacier Paradise, and do some summer skiing?
You could go hiking – and knock off a 4000m peak!
Catch the train to Gornergrat and walk down – it's hard on the legs but a lunch stop at the Findlerhof makes it very easy on the stomach, and the eyes thanks to their view.
Travel to Zermatt
You can catch a train right to Zermatt, and it is easy to do so from either Zurich or Geneva Airport. If you will be in Switzerland for more than about two weeks, buying a half card is worthwhile, as it does just what you expect – it makes tickets half price.
Rail travel is one of the best ways to get around Switzerland, and there are few places where a train won’t take you. Forget about a hire car and take the opportunity to watch the scenery!