Matterhorn Ultraks event weekend offers several beautiful single-loop courses, which take you from the chocolate-box Swiss mountain town of Zermatt, to various peaks around the valley, and back again – all with an almost-constant view of the most photographed mountain in the world – The Matterhorn!
The 49km ‘Sky’ race involves a climb up to a breathtaking 3,100m altitude, at the top of Gornergrat mountain. This is a world-class and challenging mountain skyrunning race, complete with a festival-style start and finish in the beautiful town of Zermatt, in the Swiss Alps.
The 32km ‘Mountain’ race ‘peaks’ at the Schwarzee mountaintop, before rewarding runners with a rollercoaster 10+km descent from high mountain to wooded trails, which take you back down into Zermatt for the finish.
The 19km ‘Active’ race is a beautiful loop course, with two significant ascents up to mountaintops at 2,200m above sea level. The 19km and 32km courses are less technical than the 49km event, with a greater proportion of buffed hiking trails and ski runs to puff up and fly down!
The Vertical Kilometer event is run at a VK ‘gradient’ but is shorter than average – starting with a 1km fairly flat run from Zermatt’s main square to the foot of the mountain, where the timer starts, timing how long it takes you to cover 2.3km and 645m of elevation gain, with no descent.
In addition to the four races summarized here, race weekend also offers an ‘Extreme’ technical 22-26km race, and a relay event.
When does it take place?
- August – please check the race website for this year’s exact dates.
Where does the race start?
- Zermatt, Switzerland.
Matterhorn Ultraks 49km ‘Sky’ Race Profile
- Distance = 49 km
- Elevation Gain = 3600m
- Cutoff time = 11Hr30 (plus cutoffs at checkpoints during the race).
Matterhorn Ultraks 32 km Race Profile
- Distance = 32 km
- Elevation Gain = 2000m
- Cutoff time = 9hr45
Matterhorn Ultraks 19 km ‘Active’ Race Profile
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- Distance = 10 km
- Elevation Gain = 1150m
- Cutoff time = 8 Hr
Matterhorn Ultraks Vertical Kilometer Race Profile
- Distance = 2.3 km (plus a 1km ‘warm up’ from Zermatt to the foot of the mountain, where the timer starts!)
- Elevation Gain = 655m
- Cutoff time = None
When we ran the races, they were called 46km and 30km, respectively, although the overall distances were closer to 49km and 32km! See below for the start and Alastair’s finish of the Sky distance Ultraks race:
Matterhorn Ultraks Reviews
Recommended Gear for this race
- All-mountain trail shoes or Ultra Running Shoes
- Best GPS Watches for Ultrarunning & Trail Running in 2019
- Hydration Pack (Men’s / Women’s)
- Trail Running Poles
Compulsory Gear for Matterhorn Ultraks
- There is no compulsory gear needed for Matterhorn Ultraks (except the Extreme race), although you’ll need your own bottles or cup as the aid stations are cup-free