From the ground looking up

Two days ago we looked down from a chair lift in Flying Uphill. Today we look up at the chairs and their riders as they fly overhead. It’s an opportunity to see the chairs and the views in a single frame.

This is Zermatt, my favourite Swiss ski resort, home to the mighty, majestic Matterhorn, a mountain that forms the backdrop to so many images, for the simple reason that it so powerfully dominates the skyline.

IMG_4245_edited-1The first image was taken from the Rothorn ski area. Overhead is the Patrullarve chairlift that carries skiers back up from Patrullarve (the end point of black, red and blue runs) to Blauherd at the heart of the Rothorn ski area. From this area you get some of the best views of the Matterhorn, views almost identical to those seen from Zermatt village, but from a far higher viewpoint.

The second image is from the Matterhorn glacier paradise ski area. The chair from Trockener Steg to Furggsattel is just about to reach its high point on the Swiss-Italian border. We have moved round the Matterhorn clockwise about sixty degrees, and the lower slopes of the Matterhorn are, in this view, obscured by the snow slopes of the nearby Furgghorn. The upper section now includes (left skyline) a small portion of the Italian side of the Matterhorn – in most people’s opinion not nearly as attractive as the Swiss aspect (but not so easy to compare in this image).

_DS78452So to complete the comparison, the final image is from the end of the descent into Italy from Testa Grigia, (another high point a little further along the frontier ridge from Furggsattel), on one of the greatest red runs in the Alps (Red Seven) that swoops all the way down to Cervinia. It’s a drop of more than 4,500ft, and for me it takes about twelve minutes in one continous ski on legs that, by the end of the run, are ‘shot’. Then it’s time to survey the full view of the Italian side of the Matterhorn, significantly different from the Swiss side, as we have shifted our viewpoint by another seventy or so degrees clockwise.

18-Matterhorn from Cervinia-DSC_4805Then it’s time to start the long ride back up the hill.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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20 Responses to From the ground looking up

  1. Great images as always Andy – the third image of the Italian side came as a bit of a surprise, as I’ve never seen the mountain from that angle.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Paul. Yes, it is so totally different from the Italian side – but then all mountains have good and less good sides to them as you and I both know. When cloud covers the Matterhorn, Zermatt is a very reduced place.

  2. suej says:

    Oh, lovely….I’m having a serious bout of nostalgia here – it’s about 2 decades since I last was on skis

    • LensScaper says:

      I learned to ski as a teenager and then didn’t ski again for the best part of forty years. It’s a bit like riding a bike, you never totally forget and I am skiing better now than at any time before. Went back to ski school and some one-to-one work together with an off piste course about ten years ago.

      • suej says:

        Good for you! Alas, I shall never ski again because of muscle fatigue due to Multiple Sclerosis….but I have the memories!

        • LensScaper says:

          The memories are, I am sure, very precious Sue. There’s nothing quite like the buzz from skiing confidently on piste. I will be off to Zermatt soon for a week’s skiing. Snow is forecast every day out there for the next week so the depth is accumulating at a rapid rate. Just need some sun to complete the picture. Fingers crossed.

  3. oneowner says:

    Excellent images, Andy. Hope you’re having a good time.

  4. shoreacres says:

    The views of the mountain are marvelous. Well, the mountain is marvelous. But non-skier me has a question about the second photo. What are those snow ridges? The first thing that came to mind was “speed bumps” — the thought that perhaps they’re there to slow down someone who got off track, so to speak. Surely not!

    • LensScaper says:

      It’s a marvellous place, Linda, and thanks for your comments. The furrows are made by what are called the ‘Piste Bashers’ or Snow Groomers that toil through the night preparing the pistes for another day’s skiing – smoothing out the ruckles and borrowing snow from alongside the piste to repair thin patches – hence the furrows where snow has been ploughed through and onto the piste.

  5. Chillbrook says:

    Fabulous images Andy! I visited Zermatt when I was 18 after a spell picking grapes on a vinyard close to Lausanne. I was determined to get closer to the mountain. I can see why it is your favourite ski resort. I love that first image with the skiers flying by the mountain.

    • LensScaper says:

      And I trust you tasted more than the odd glass or two of Swiss wine, Adrian. Fendant is one of my favourite white wines. Very pleased to hear you made the journey there – you chose one of the best places, arguably the best, to visit to see the high mountains.

  6. John says:

    Andy, love that first image. What a wonderful view and perfect weather. I would love to get back to Zermatt some day. A wonderful and interesting village, add bottle of good white wine and a cheese fondue and I am in heaven.

  7. Len says:

    Terrific images Andy. I especially like that first one that shows a bit of compression that a long lens brings.

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  9. Jim Nix says:

    that’s just absolutely gorgeous Andy!

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