When the Powder Snow Entices

Ski fans can hardly wait! Winter is beginning, and that means grabbing their skis and gliding down the wide pistes. Christian Meier, ski instructor and head of the Stoked Ski & Snowboard School, knows especially what they can expect this winter.

Christian Meier is happy to take his guests into an immense ski area; in Zermatt there are up to 360 km of pistes. “It is the diversity of the pistes and their rich variety, which make this ski region unique.” He raves about the highest ski region in the Alps, about the broad carving pistes, which run from Testa Grigia (3,480 m) down to Laghi Cime Bianchi at Cervinia. “Or the pistes with very steep slopes, such as piste 54 near Hirli or the Furggloch. But also the yellow pistes, which attract the athletic, ambitious skiers – on which you experience a real feeling of freeriding.” Yellow pistes are marked but not groomed, such as the one at Hohtälli. “There is a vast range to match your skiing wishes today.” 

How Does One Ski Today?

When asked what one should expect in the way of skiing technique this winter, Christian Meier explaines: “That’s hard to say. The desires for the best feeling while skiing vary greatly and above all depend on how old the skier is,” he knows from his experience. With carving skis, it is a sense of speed and gliding over the snow. Over age 12, when skiers are teenagers, they are more drawn to the free-skiing and freestyle runs in the Snowpark. This corresponds to their attitude and lifestyle. This is usually done in groups. What is certain is that it cannot be early in the morning. Nothing starts before 11 am, because teenagers like to sleep late. However, there is an exception for getting up early: then, when it snowed during the night and the fresh powder snow is very inviting. According to Christian Meier, the Snowpark near the Klein Matterhorn is one of the greatest attractions in the entire Zermatt ski area. “The young skiers really like to go to the park, which is groomed and shaped day after day, and Zermatt offers precisely all of that.”

Stoked - Christian Meier
© Zermatt Tourismus

Solid Technique and Good Equipment

If you see someone on the pistes who has one knee in the snow while he makes his turns, you are certainly looking at someone who skis using the Telemark technique. “This winter, quite a few things have been done for the Telemark skiers,” says Christian Meier. The bindings have been developed further so that they can ski even better off piste. “The terrain is especially beautiful in the Klein Matterhorn area and the nearly four thousand-metre surroundings,” continues Meier. But: “The terrain there can also be treacherous. Therefore, we recommend that you book a local mountain guide familiar with the conditions.” Telemark skiing is often a topic, but according to Christian Meier, the Telemarking community is always a small, tightly knit society. Snowboarders also should not be underrated. Counter to the trend, the number of snowboard lessons in our school continues to increase. Depending on the snowboard model, different techniques can be used.

Skis, such as the easy carver or all mountain models, are ideal for relaxed skiing. The slalom carver skis have a greater sidecut, which makes clean, precise turns possible. “In Zermatt, we can always test all of the ski models,” said Meier and mentioned the ski test programme. This offer has been around for many years, from mid-October to the end of November. 175 ski models from 14 brands can be tried out.

Ski Instructor: A Dream Job

Christian Meier has taught hundreds of skiers on the Matterhorn Ski Paradise pistes. Thanks to his experience as a ski instructor, he pays careful attention to the needs of the guest in every case. When doing so, he knows that it is not just about pure skiing. “It is a mix between technique and the total experience on the mountain,” he explains. This means that guests do not just want to make beautiful turns on ski pistes glistening in the sun. They also want to experience the view, nature and the athletic effort as a whole and in all of its facets. And this means: Youngsters and eternally young adults – the guests between 20 and 55 – like to ski more intensively in the morning. “Then we go into one of the many world-famous, top-quality culinary mountain restaurants in Zermatt, Cervinia or Valtournenche, where we reserve a table for our guests. After dessert, coffee and grappa, the last enjoyment is a curve or two homewards,” says Christian Meier. And what do the young senior citizens do? “That is often astonishing. They are in such great shape that the only thing that we can do is see them as role models: skiing and time for enjoyment keeps them in balance.”

Stoked Snowsports School

First private ski and snowboard school in Zermatt, founded in 1994

Offering Ski, snowboard, Telemark and cross country instruction. Leading beginners to advanced throughout the Zermatt-Cervinia-Valtournenche ski region including advice on the best restaurants
Employees in high-season, almost 100 winter sports instructors
Languages 11 including 2 Mandarin (Chinese) speaking ski instructors
Percentage of women 40%
Christian Meier 46-years old, founder and co-owner of Stoked
Snow sports instructor with a Swiss certificate