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FRENCH SWITZERLAND Zermatt Story by Brian Anderson


seekers and those who simply wish to look up in awe. Zermatt


is also a


popular ski destination with over 150 miles of ski runs. However, its tourist office claims the town is just as popular in the summer months because of its collection of trails available to both the novice and expert hikers that are willing to explore the Matterhorn. Gondola


Above: The beautiful Mat- terhorn draws tourists to Zermatt year round for ski- ing in the winter and for its hiking trails in the summer. | Staff photo


Top and bottom left: Horse-drawn carriages meet guests at the train station to help them get their lug- gage to their hotels. | Photo by Alden Jones


is lined with shops, souvenir stands and trendy restaurants, there’s really only one reason for a day trip to the Swiss municipality near the border of Italy: the Matterhorn. One of the tallest and most popular


W


peaks in the Swiss Alps, at 14,692 ft. above sea level, the Matterhorn towers over Zermatt. It is known for both its symmetrical beauty, with four steep


hile the tourist village of Zermatt


faces pointing toward the four compass points, as well as its deadly history. The


impressive mountain was first


scaled in 1865 by a team led by Edward Whimper. The first ascent team lost four team members, and more than 500 climbers have died along the rugged face on descent. Due to its deadly reputation, the Matterhorn has become one of Switzerland’s biggest tourist attractions, enticing both adventure


rides up the side of the mountain run seven days a week, every few hours, for spectacular views of the Matterhorn and surrounding countryside. Shops, restaurants and bars offer relief and spectacular views for the tired, hungry and thirsty travelers. While there is no escaping the


shadow of the Matterhorn, there is still plenty to do on the ground. For the less adventurous, the Matterhorn Museum, open daily, provides a glimpse of the history of the famous mountain. Located nearby is the chilling Mountaineers’ Cemetery, the final resting spot for many who lost their lives trying to climb the Matterhorn. Visitors can also check out the historic village containing barns and homes still standing from the 17th century. Zermatt is easily accessible by rail and is a two-hour train ride from Montreux.


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