The Matterhorn and Zermatt belong together like skiing and snow. The Matterhorn is Zermatt, Zermatt is the Matterhorn. It’s even part of Zermatt’s public slogan, the byline says just “Matterhorn®”, nothing else but with a trademark sign. While St. Moritz on one end of the famous Glacier Express is the “Top of the World” in the Engadin valley, Zermatt is its counterpart in the canton of Valais on the other end of the alpine railway discovery tour through Switzerland.

Matterhorn 1/696, f/1.8, ISO 25, 3.99 mm, iPhone 7

The Matterhorn is probably the most famous mountain of Europe and surely its most iconic. Its shape even made it on a chocolate packing. (link: text: Toblerone) promotes its triangular pieces of chocolate with the Matterhorn’s rocky outline.

The photograph above was taken at Schwarzsee at 2583 m. It’s probably one of the best spots to celebrate the majesty of the famous rock and its craggy tooth shape. Schwarzsee is one of the last stops of the Matterhorn Express cable car ending at Trockener Steg. From there you can get even higher to the new Matterhorn Glacier Paradise up to the world of eternal ice and snow at the Klein Matterhorn. Your trip is ending there at breathtaking 3883 m, the highest cable car station in Europe. A slightly different viewing angle makes the Matterhorn look very different from up here, its south face seems a bit more casual and less spectacular. But the panoramic view is nonetheless fantastic overlooking the highest peaks of Switzerland, Italy and France. Unbelievable. And you do not even have to be able to climb or are freezing to death on your way up. No, especially the last part of the trip with the new 3S cableway is so gentle and comfortable, it’s pure decadence. Again unbelievable.

Obviously that’s only one way to look at Zermatt and the ski circuit. The infrastructure they built up here to keep all these technical organisms running must be in a constant battle of men versus nature. Probably Zermatt was always edgy, snobby and expensive, even decadent. But in the last decade this seems to have gotten worse. When I’ve been visiting Zermatt the last time, maybe 15 years ago, I was a young boy and it seemed to me back then that skiing and the world of sports, mountaineering and technical skills, still were playing a big role for at least a fraction of the people visiting Zermatt. This time it felt to me that even this fraction abandoned the village and went elsewhere, to some place that’s more original, native, more serious about its intent and last but not least more affordable.

Hell, since Switzerland is not part of the European Union (it never was) and the EUR to CHF exchange rates are so bad (they currently are almost 1:1) I’m easily paying twice as much for everything compared to the place I live here. Especially any kind of food and or just going out is phenomenally pricey. And this surely changes the way you spend your time in Zermatt. Depending on where in this world you come from your experience might be different, but my impression persists, that - not to my surprise - also Zermatt has become one of those global hotspots for an international jet set with unlimited resources.

Still the Matterhorn is not on sale.

· photography, trip