[R517R, Zermatt] has special package deals available to skiers and boarders who want to get on to the fresh snow this month to test the new season's equipment.

Zermatt has a series of gear test weekends planned right through 23 November on the Matterhorn glacier paradise ski area. It's open 365 days a year for snow sports (weather permitting) and offers up to 21km (13 miles) of slopes, and modern skiing facilities surrounded by the fantastic alpine world. 

The season's new carving skis and snowboards will be available to test. 

Guests may arrive on any Friday and the ski or board testing is possible on the the weekend.  Packages include two nights in a hotel with breakfast, or in an apartment without catering (half board, single rooms and child discounts on request), a two day ski pass, access to equipment for ski testing to your heart's content at the ski test center at Trockener Steg on both days.

You will also be able to access an auxiliary test center on the slopes at Plateau Rosa at the bottom of the Furggsattel Gletscherbahn chairlift and carving courses on the slopes with licensed ski instructors.

The gear fitting takes place in the sport shops in the village before you ascend and  there's entertainment laid on each weekend at Trockener Steg and in Zermatt.  You will need to bring your own ski or board boots and for skiers, poles.  Only boards and skis are provided to test.

Prices per person range from 315 Swiss francs for a one-star hotel to 462 Swiss Francs for a four-star and from 280 Swiss francs to 348 Swiss francs per person for an apartment, depending on its quality.