Why Zermatt Will Never Host the Winter Olympic Games

By   November 11, 2019

Zermatt has so much going for it as a venue for winter sports that you might be surprised to read that we think it will never host the Winter Olympic Games.  What could possibly be stopping this lovely Alpine village from serving as a host for the Winter Olympics? 

It certainly deserves to – Zermatt is a top-rated ski and winter sports resort.  What better place could be found to hold all those exciting Winter Olympics competitions?

So what’s the problem?  It’s not like the Swiss aren’t able to pull off hosting such a complex, immense event.  St. Moritz has hosted the Winter Olympic Games twice, once in 1928 and again in 1948.  So why shouldn’t Zermatt join the list of Olympics venues?  Here are a few factors in favor of Zermatt, followed by one big drawback.

Factors in Favor of Zermatt Being Selected as an Olympics Host

The main things in favor of Zermatt are its climate, terrain, and excellent winter sports.  When it comes down to it, there aren’t many resorts that offer better skiing and snowboarding.  Zermatt has some of the best winter sports conditions you’ll find anywhere.

And then there’s the Matterhorn.  It’s probably the world’s most immediately recognizable mountain, and it’s visible from many parts of Zermatt.  The Matterhorn is hard to beat as far as sightseeing is concerned.

Zermatt also has comfortable, cozy hotels, restaurants that serve appetizing food, interesting shops, and a festive nightlife.  There’s enough to do in Zermatt that no visitor is ever bored.

Factors Working Against Zermatt Being Selected as an Olympics Host

The factors working against Zermatt’s selection are mostly related to its small size.  For example, although there are more than enough Zermatt hotels to accommodate a normal number of visitors, there isn’t enough room to build an Olympic Village (the area where the athletes traditionally stay). 

Likewise, while there are plenty of challenging ski runs and snowboarding slopes close to Zermatt, there isn’t enough room to build the big structures that are needed for some of the other winter sports.  For example, there’s simply no room in Zermatt to build the big enclosed stadiums that would be needed for ice hockey, figure skating, speed skating, curling and so on. 

Plus, even though Zermatt hotels are plentiful – plenty to handle the resort’s normal number of visitors – there aren’t nearly enough to accommodate the huge numbers of spectators at any modern Winter Olympic Games.  It’s the same problem with Zermatt’s restaurants, pubs and cafés.  There just aren’t enough of them to handle tens of thousands of visitors at any one time, and there’s not enough room to build many more. 

When you add it all up, Zermatt’s winter sports are magnificent, but the village just isn’t large enough to serve as a host for a modern Winter Olympic Games.  Of course, its small size makes it an ideal spot for a winter vacation that isn’t related to the Olympics.