Zermatt's critics accuse it of combining a hard-nosed commercialism, shrewdly calculating the value of every snowflake, with a less harsh obsession with Swiss folklore. Consequently, the town's main shopping thoroughfare, Bahnhofstrasse, contains branches of stores you might have expected only in much larger cities, with an emphasis on luxury goods, alpine souvenirs, and sporting goods. Ski and mountaineering equipment here tends to be state of the art. Stores selling the stuff appear virtually everywhere, but one worthwhile example is Slalom Sport, Kirchstrasse 17 (tel. 027/966-23-66; www.slalom-sport.ch), close to the village church. Well-recommended competitors, both on Bahnhofstrasse near the Gornergrat cable car, include Glacier Sport (tel. 027/967-27-19) and Bayard Sport (tel. 027/966-49-50; www.bayardzermatt.ch).

Local souvenirs in Zermatt include everything from the genuinely artful to the hopelessly kitschy. One outlet is WEGA, on Bahnhofplatz (tel. 027/967-21-66; www.wega-zermatt.ch).

Snow and ice aren't the only things that sparkle in Zermatt, so if you're susceptible to impulse purchases of jewelry, one of the best places to browse is Bijouterie Schindler, Bahnhofstrasse 5 (tel. 027/967-11-18), which stockpiles both Swiss watches and gemstones.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.