The Zermatt area has a new attraction that can sort of give tourists an up-close-and-personal look at the Matterhorn without having to set foot on the towering peak.
This year saw the opening of Zooom the Matterhorn, which provides great views of the mountain for those wanting to view some of the sights skilled mountaineers can see, even though it’s some distance away.
“The name says it all; in three zoom levels in three rooms, the visitors get closer to the Matterhorn,” says a spokeswoman for Zermatt’s tourist board. “A virtual paragliding flight, light projections on and around the Matterhorn and the view of the Matterhorn with high-tech periscopes — with a little luck you can discover the mountaineers (scaling the peak).”
The Matterhorn is an iconic symbol of Switzerland, and has long attracted climbers eager to undertake the challenge of scaling a peak whose summit reaches 4,478 meters high.
But not all are physically capable of summiting the mountain or have the needed climbing skills or the time to do so and that’s where Zooom steps in.
“It is at least the best way to experience the Matterhorn very close and the visitors get a different perspective,” the spokeswoman says. “In good weather you can see live through the periscopes as to what is happening on the mountain. In bad weather you can see through the periscope what it would look like in good weather.
“In good weather and ideal conditions, it is possible to see climbers on the Matterhorn.”
The spokeswoman says Zooom has quickly proven a winner with Zermatt visitors, with guests enjoying “the beautiful, high rooms, the high-quality of the interior design and the materials. For a brief moment, guests can immerse themselves in another world and discover the mountain world around Zermatt in new dimensions. Even in bad weather, Zooom the Matterhorn is an additional benefit on the Gornergrat (ridge), as guests can experience what it would look like in good weather. Especially in the 12-meter 3D cinema as the visitors are in the middle of it.
“With the paragliding flight, guests sit down on a floating chair with VR glasses. They can choose between two different flights. A comfortable panoramic flight over the Riffelsee, Gorner Glacier, Monte Rosa Massif and the landing on the Gornergrat. During the action/ sporty flight to the Matterhorn, you can take over the flight path yourself. You fly over the summit cross and see how steep the Matterhorn really is — a spectacular experience.”
The Matterhorn’s climbing season normally runs from the beginning of July until early mid-September. That season normally sees 2,500 to 3,000 people ascend the mountain, with Zermatt’s tourist board reporting that the climb and descent is done over rocks and ice, and requires outstanding fitness and experience in rock climbing with and without crampons. The normal route is via the Hörnligrat and is only suitable for experienced mountaineers accompanied by a mountain guide.
Meanwhile, the spokeswoman adds that Zooom’s arrival doesn’t mean that interest in physically climbing a peak that’s symbolic of alpine Switzerland will end, as many are attracted to a challenge.
“It is for sure a serious route and the biggest challenges are most likely the length and the exposure of the climb,” she says. “Change of weather or the conditions (snow or verglace) can turn the climb in an even more difficult undertaking. It is unfortunately not possible to estimate how many people would be capable of climbing it. With good preparation and accompanied by a local mountain guide the chances for experienced mountain climbers (to summit) is quite high.”
For further information about Zooom visit: www.gornergrat.ch/en.