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ZERMATT OR ZINAL? - James Cove, Val d'Anniviers, Switzerland
Wednesday January 11, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

PlanetSKI is currently on a rail trip round some Swiss ski resorts. 7 resorts in as many days, but we are at a crossroads. Which resort next?

Zermatt is my favourite ski resort.

I haven't skied there for a few years and I'm now in the little-known and nearby resort of Zinal in the Val d'Anniviers.

I'd planned to be in Zinal a single full day but yesterday was one of the best days of my season so far.

See here for my report from Day One in Zinal

And here are my rough plans for the week as I set off on Swiss rail.

And now I was being offered another full day with my good friend, the British mountain guide Nick Parks.

Val d'Anniviers, SwitzerlandVal d'Anniviers, Switzerland
















There had been some fresh snow and he planned to go and find the best of it by putting on skins and simply walking to it.

Nothing too taxing, just a few short walks of 20-minutes or so and then untouched powder.

I needed to make a decison over breakfast at the chalet I was staying at - Chalet Edelweise run by Ski Zinal.

Zermatt or Zinal?

Val d'Anniviers, SwitzerlandBreakfast decisions
















It was a no-brainer.

Zinal won.

An hour or so later I was in the nearby resort of St Luc.

We did a spot of piste skiing to warm up.

On the pisteOn the piste
















Then looked at the off piste.

Val d'Anniviers, SwitzerlandTime to leave?
















And we put our skins on.

Nick brought a couple of his clients whom I had not skied with before, Richard and Chris.

I always like meeting new people in the mountains and many become friends.

Val d'Anniviers, SwitzerlandSkinning up
















For those unsure about skinning you put skins on the bottom of your skis so that you can walk uphill without sliding backwards and you then take them off to go downhill.

Val d'Anniviers, SwitzerlandLift that heel

















You can chose to go for 5 minutes or 5 hours.

And obviously select the steepness of the slope - going up or down.

Val d'Anniviers, SwitzerlandVal d'Anniviers, Switzerland
















Val d'Anniviers, SwitzerlandVal d'Anniviers, Switzerland
















And you get to reach some truly beautiful alpine spots.

Val d'Anniviers, SwitzerlandAlpine wilderness
















And once we had gone up we came down - some with more success than others Wink

Lunch was at one of the most unique hotels in the mountains.

The Weisshorn - an Edwardian hotel built in 1882.

It is only possible to get there on skis at this time of year by walking.

Val d'Anniviers, SwitzerlandVal d'Anniviers, Switzerland
















If the previous day in Val d'Anniviers had been one of my best days in the mountains this season then this day was easier to judge.

It was the best.

And I have already skied about 4 weeks in more than a dozen resorts

Plus I had made two new friends who I knew I would be skiing with again one day.

Val d'Anniviers, SwitzerlandRichard, James, Nick and Chris
















We ended in the hotel Bella Tolla in the village.

It was built in 1859 and oozed old-fashioned alpine charm.

I opted to celebrate in my traditional way with a large beer.

Val d'Anniviers, SwitzerlandCelebrating the day
















And like all good days in the backcountry I came back wanting more.

Or more speficially I wanted to hike up the back of this beauty and ski down the Touno couloir.

Val d'Anniviers, SwitzerlandIt's winking at me














I promised Nick I would be back.

Did I miss not going to my favourite resort in the mountains, Zermatt?

What do you think?

Thanks Nick.

Val d'Annivieres, SwitzerlandNick Parks, Zinal
















For more information about Ski Zinal then check out its web site.

Nick also offers personalised guiding for clients - see here for further details.



For more information on Switzerland visit

Call ther Switzerland Travel Centre on the International freephone 00800 100 200 30 or e-mail, for information

For packages, trains and air tickets

All Swiss Travel System tickets and passes are available through the sales network in UK on


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