Almanac: Zermatt, Switzerland

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Population 5,600

Elevation 5,315 feet

Median Price Of A Single-Family Home By law, only Swiss citizens can purchase property in Zermatt. Nice two-bedroom apartments have sold recently for between $700,000 and $1 million.

Main Businesses Tourism and construction.

Public School Population 684 (1st-9th).

Local Ski Areas Four interconnected areas access 155 miles of maintained slopes, plus expansive off-piste. Vertical Rise: 7,217 vertical feet. Average Annual Snowfall: 220 inches (and glaciers).

Season Pass: adults, $900; children 9-16, $450; children under 9, free. Lift Ticket: adults, $40; 9-16, $20; children under 9, free; 65 and over, 25 percent off.

Best Event The annual International Zermatt Symposium for five days in mid-January brings in the likes of Maya Angelou and Mario Vargas Llosa for lectures, workshops, panels and concerts.

Locals' Favorite Restaurants Fondue at the Restaurant Stadel; Backerei Fuchs for great sandwiches; enjoy excellent regional cuisine at the Hotel Christiania.

Locals' Favorite Hangouts The Hotel de la Poste taught Zermatt how to rock nearly 30 years ago and is still going strong. Family-size pastries and a wooden bowl of "grole" (the local rum drink) are an après-ski tradition at Max and Gretl's Zum See Restaurant.

Best Places To Stay (Dial 011-41-27 before all numbers; rates are for two people per night, including breakfast and dinner.) Luxe: the five-star Grand Hotel Zermatterhof (966-6600; www.zermatt.ch/zermatterhof; $250-$500); the four-star Schonegg with stunning views (966-3434; www.reconline.ch/schonegg; $200-$400); family-friendly Christiania (967-1907; www.reconline.ch/christiania; $150-$300); the budget two-star Touring (967-2863; www.touring.buz.ch; $85-$135).

How To Get There Numerous airlines fly direct to Geneva and Zurich, which are four and five hours, respectively, from Zermatt by train.

Information Zermatt Tourism, 011-41-27-967-0181; www.zermatt.ch.