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Are You Ready to Conquer the Swiss Alps?

February 22, 2016

ISEP student Jessica Forlizzi is a part of ISEP Voices Spring 2016. She is a junior from East Carolina University, and is currently studying abroad at Universität Bern in Switzerland.

Recently, I took a ski trip to Zermatt, Switzerland to conquer the famous Matterhorn Mountain. It’s close to a two and a half hour train ride from Bern to the town of Zermatt. The views just from the train are breathtaking, and when you actually get to the cute little mountain town you are awe struck by the nature surrounding you. Here are some insider tips from my trip to the Swiss Alps, and you can use them to get ready for a trip yourself!

Student and friend at a ski area in the Swiss Alps in Zermatt, Switzerland
Student and friend at a ski area in the Swiss Alps in Zermatt, Switzerland

If you don’t have any ski gear, it’s not a problem! You can rent just about anything, including skis, snow pants, snow goggles and more at any shop within the town. I rented snow pants, 2016 skis, and ski boots for about ninety dollars. Your next stop will be buying your lift tickets, which can be purchased at the visitor center or at the lift. Included in your ticket are buses to take around town, any lift, and the trains. For an extra forty dollars, you can get an international ticket to ski on the Italian side of the mountain. There are three different sections to the Matterhorn Mountain on the Switzerland side. If you’re not the greatest of skiers like myself, you should start off on the Rothorn side of the mountain. Look for trail number 6, which is the easiest of the slopes to take down the mountain. If you want to try something a little more challenging, trail number 7 is the standard trail.

Don’t make the same mistake I did and go all the way up the mountain until you are comfortable skiing. The slopes are extremely steep, with sharp turns, and cliffs. However, going all the way up the mountain accounts for the best views and photo worthy spots! Make sure to get out on the mountain early. While I was there, the morning was clear and bright. Once the afternoon came around, a snowstorm came in that made the visibility rough.

Student skiing Swiss Alps, Switzerland
Student skiing Swiss Alps, Switzerland

(Actually crying in this picture!!)

If you are a decent skier or snowboarder, you should definitely take a trip to the Swiss Alps. It is unquestionably a beautiful experience you will cherish! Even if you’re not all that great like myself, you can take some of the offered lessons or just look for the slow slopes and take your time! Even if you are PETRIFIED of skiing, you can always rent a sled, or snow shoes and hike. The mountains of Switzerland have been a big part of the country’s history and culture. So go grab some friends, and experience the beauty of the famous Swiss Alps!

Student and friend skiing in Switzerland
Student and friend skiing in Switzerland
Horse carriage on store-lined street in Switzerland
Horse carriage on store-lined street in Switzerland

*Feel like you’re ready to take on the Swiss Alps? You can study at Universität Bern, just a train ride away.

Interested in other adventurous experiences? See all of your options for where you can study abroad on the ISEP website.*

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