Historic ski train on the Gornergrat above Zermatt in winter

Tourism had arrived in Zermatt

Story 36

Within a decade, Zermatt managed to become world-famous as a skiing destination. As a sign that tourism had arrived in Zermatt, the Gornergrat Railway purchased carriages to transport skiing equipment in 1936. 

In 1936, Paul was extremely excited about booking his first winter holidays in Zermatt. Before doing so, he had read a lot about the place. Since Paul’s parents had given him his first skis at the age of 15, the sport had become a major part of his life. With a lot of energy and patience, he practised his first turns in the hills near his home in the Swiss Plateau. He quickly made great progress. 

Zermatt as a new experience 

Together with his parents, he had spent many years on winter holidays in various skiing destinations in the Bernese and Graubünden Alps. In the winter of 1936, as a young adult, he decided to take a skiing holiday in Zermatt with some friends. After all, he had read that Zermatt offers a high mountain range with guaranteed snow as well as the fair weather stability of the south. 

When he arrived in Zermatt, he immediately noticed the hoisted flags of the hotels and guesthouses. He was also impressed by the sun-browned houses and stables, which stand out from the white snowy landscape. 

Special new carriages for winter tourism 

Strengthened by a hearty breakfast, he walked to the Gornergrat Railway, carrying his skis over his shoulder. There he immediately noticed the special carriages for ski transport: a great idea! The employee who helped him stow his skis explained that the two carriages for the skiing equipment had been bought that winter. Having arrived at Riffelboden, Paul and his friends tackled the downhill they had seen many a time in the skiing championships. 

They returned home a few days later, having enjoyed a varied holiday. They knew then that they would return to Zermatt the following winter. 

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