The Hotel Hemizeus was one of the first Zermatt hotels with an official Bike Hotel certificate. This was not just a coincidence, because the host Ruggero (44) and Patricia Palazzo family is very athletic. The entire family is often underway together on a mountain bike tour. Naturally, these tours are adjusted to the abilities of their sons Gianluca (11), Tiziano (9) and Andrea (7). The famous Moos Trail, which is the easiest in Zermatt, is one that they can all take easily. The children also ride it on their own.
From a young age
Ruggero Palazzo does everything in Zermatt that presents an athletic challenge: climbing, mountain bike riding, hiking, skiing: "Three times a week I am training," he says. His goal is the famous Patrouille des Glaciers, the mountain ski races, which takes place every two years in April and is considered the hardest team competition in the world. In order to reach the necessary fitness level varied training units are necessary. "But what I like most is to be underway on my mountain bike," he explains.
He has been on a bike seat from a very young age. At 5 years old, he competed in his first races on a road bike. At 20, he changed to a mountain bike. One of his regular hotel guests back then was Thomas Frischknecht, the mountain bike world champion in 1996. In general, many of the regular guests in the Hotel Hemizeus are athletic. National ski teams from around the world pass through these doors along with mountain runners and naturally mountain bike riders.
What Bike Riders Need
The Hotel Hemizeus has a lockable bike room as required by the hotelleriesuisse for the certification as a bike hotel. In addition, there is a wash station with hoses, special tools and much more. If major repairs are necessary, Ruggero recommends the best sports stores in Zermatt, because the relationship between bike owners and their expensive bikes is very deep: "Sometimes, one has the feeling that their bikes are more important than their wives," says Ruggero with a smile.
Bike riders also pay a lot of attention to what they eat. Some would like to eat only carbohydrates while others look for "low carbs" with meat, vegetables and salad. "We orient ourselves to the needs of the guests and offer appropriate meals," says Ruggero.
Underway Accompanied by the Host
Ruggero likes to go on bike tours with his guests. "I ask them what they would like and then off we go." But with an athletic host, the route is naturally not with the mountain lifts. "I have not yet used the lifts with my bike," says Ruggero surprised by this question when asked how he "rides" to the top. All of the mountain lifts in Zermatt (except Trockener Steg – Matterhorn glacier paradise) carry mountain bikes. With his guests he really likes to take two tours. His favourite is the Sunnegga-Grünsee-Riffelalp route. And certainly at Grünsee one also takes a swim in the lake and is refreshed from the tingling mountain lake waters.
The second tour goes via Furi and Stafelalp to Schwarzsee. On the tours, visits to the mountain restaurants are naturally on the programme: "Mountain bike riders are certainly connoisseurs," says Ruggero smiling. And he talks about an exceptional and amazing day in Zmutt. It was raining in buckets. A spontaneous stop was made at a restaurant. The rest stop turned into a very long day: "We continued our ride home in the dark. It had finally stopped raining." But the next day, "it was raining in our heads," he says with a smirk.
Ruggero Palazzo reveals a very special tip: "A tour starting early in the morning is one of the most beautiful in all of Zermatt – with a sunrise on the Matterhorn."