Why I always have my running shoes - Zermatt, Switzerland
I always take my running shoes with me while traveling, even on a ski trip. You just never know when there will be a good opportunity to get out for a run. I was meeting some friends in Zermatt, Switzerland and arrived early afternoon into town. They were already out on the slopes, so I decided that instead of rushing things to get skiing I’d check out the local hiking (or running) tracks. I had some experience seeing hiking tracks on the ski mountains in Switzerland before so figured there’d be a good chance to find some tracks here in town.
Sure enough, there were some local trails on the map, but I still had to see if they were open for the winter. I headed out across town on the village streets, but then found a stairway heading up into the mountainside that then transitioned to a trail. There was a well packed trail in the snow so I began to run it. I first went the wrong direction since it dead ended at the end of a ski slope. I just turned around and looked for more trail in the other direction that might go higher. These are the moments where I consult my Gaia GPS app on my phone. It’s super helpful for figuring out where trails might connect. Sure enough, there looked to be a way to loop across the mountain and then back into town. As I went farther I got to see some amazing views of the Matterhorn as well as some training signs giving guidance on how to train to hike the Matterhorn. Another run for the bucket list!
As with most trails, once you get about 1 mile (1.5k) into it, the number of footsteps rapidly diminishes. Or maybe in this case, the avalanche sign caused people to turn around. I ended up getting into some deep snow and some steep terrain that was a bit dicey in the middle part of the trail but then it connected back into some snow trails that were maintained.
Runs likes this become quite magical when you just stop and take it all in. It’s so quiet when you are alone on a wooded mountainside with deep snow. It was fun to just take in the views of the Matterhorn and surrounding mountains. Skiing the next couple of days turned out to be pretty epic as well. Almost a once in a lifetime combination of great snow, mild temperatures and clear blue skies. Fun times with friends on the ski slopes, but my best memory of this trip will be the quiet moments on the mountain trail. Always take your shoes, you just never know what trail you will find.