Experience Report: Into the Heights to Dream of Deep Powder

Suddenly, the faraway Monte Rosa is wonderfully close: Freeriders are flown to this impressive peak by an Air Zermatt helicopter in no time. In the magical natural setting, passionate skiers can then descend over untouched slopes and imposing glaciers until they reach the familiar surroundings of Zermatt. The copter flight is the climax of all ski adventures: In this deep snow dream world, top skiers become the flying kings of powder snow.

by  Mathias Haehl

Monte Rosa – The Mountain Calls! The most beautiful time is the moment, when you climb out of the Air Zermatt helicopter in your full ski outfit after a grandiose flight up the mountain, drunk from too much joy in anticipation of the downhill run to come through the expansive white powder. Our little group huddles in the freshly fallen and pristine snow, with gloves covering all of our faces. A daring member films and photographs despite the wind and noise while the mountain guide fishes the skis and poles out of the helibox. Then the rotor blades create one more crescendo, the helicopter takes off and traces an elegant curve through the heavens. For a moment, the stirred up snow takes our breath away and covers our skin with cooling crystal dust. White powder swirls refreshingly around our noses – these are pleasurable moments beyond compare.

Enjoying Nature!

Breath deep, feel your adrenalin pumping – and enjoy. After the loud chatter of the helicopter, there is suddenly nothing less than pure silence. The sun smiles down from above, we enjoy the blue sky into which the red speck of the copter gradually disappears. Airliners, like silver dots with long white tails, remind us of a largely hectic world – which is far, far away right now. Here we are in another world, where other rules reign: We enjoy untamed nature. As freeriders, we have a sense of insignificant nothingness in the face of this wintry mountain world. 

Nevertheless, our world is wonderfully comprehensible: We find ourselves in the landing zone at an altitude of 4,200 m. The Dufourspitze of the majestic Monte Rosa rears up to 4,634 m at our backs – below us are tempting white fields of snow and glacier ice. A fascinating mountain world reigns all around us, and before us is a 16-kilometre downhill run with a drop of over 2,500 m via Furi at 1,867 m to Zermatt at 1,620 m. There we will have a well-earned aperitif and a restful night in the most beautiful of all Valais Alpine villages.

A Dream for Many Years

“I have dreamed of this for many years,” says one of the freeriders after her first turns. She just let up a loud joyful yowl as she made graceful turns down the soft slope. This was just the beginning of her addiction-making experience as she passionately chased the mountain guide ahead of her with her hair flowing out from under her helmet. One after the other, those skiers with more routine found their own lines left and right of the perfect trail with cadenced turns taken by the careful guide.

This freeriding is like major action in slow motion. A long run in a dream: rhythmic dancing to a silent beat. We glide to the valley in familiar harmony. We leave the glistening SAC Monte Rosa Hütte on the left and continue across the Gornergletscher, the second-largest in the Alps. A spectacular theatrical performance amidst the crowning peaks of 38 four thousand-metre mountains.

We are the kings in the snow. Delighted by the copter flight to the deep snow dream. Transported out of time and space finding our centre resting within. We are at one with the mountain, with the snow, with the heavens. We have reverently kissed the feet of Monte Rosa, also known as the King of the Alps. Thanks to the wonderful convenience of the helicopter, this magnificent trip can easily be done in one day.

Snowboarding on the Alphubel

And the balance? “Dream fulfilled – that is something I want to experience again,” said a glowing freerider when he joined the satisfied skiers bunch in the Furri Restaurant. A cool sip of Dôle Blanche tastes excellent, and everyone becomes friends. New plans are quickly made: “The next time, I would like to experience something like this with a snowboard!” But snowboarding is not permitted on the Monte Rosa explains the mountain guide. How about another tour? Air Zermatt also flies to the Alphubeljoch (3,782 m) with a downhill run from there to Täschalp. The crowning touch of this deep snow run: One can always see the King of the Alps. What a magnificent view – Oh Monte Rosa!

Information

Reservations one week in advance; last-minute are also possible.
4 to 7 people per mountain guide and helicopter.

Alpin Center Zermatt
Bahnhofstr. 58
3920 Zermatt
Tel. +41 (0) 27 966 24 60

Included are the flight, briefing and guiding by a mountain guide, as well as rental of climbing harness and avalanche victim search device. Insurance is the responsibility of every participant. The Monte Rosa is only suitable for skiers; snowboarders are welcome on the Alphubel as well.