For about 190 Swiss francs ($200), one can go paragliding for 20 minutes and glide up, down, and around Zermatt's mountains, all with the Matterhorn in view. I hadn't planned to do this but a couple of friends insisted that it was a unique and exhilarating experience. So I went for it.
Indeed, I wasn't let down. I left my skis near the ski train (I was told that was the best spot), and took the tram and gondola to Rothorn peak where I met the instructor. He unfurled the sail right on the ski slope, strapped me into a seat of sorts (with the instructor strapped to my back), and together we ran down the slope until the wind picked us up. Like a bird, we flew around and around. At one point, we zoomed literally just a dozen feet above skiers below, before pulling up.
Towards the end of the gliding, the instructor asked if I liked roller coasters. I said yes, and with that he pulled on the sails and we turned up, down, and nearly did a summersault over! What a rush it was. I've done parasailing before but this was in a league of its own. I think doing it with soaring mountaintops, including the Matterhorn, in view made it particularly special.
The weather was perfect – sunny and not too cold. I heartily recommend paragliding in Zermatt since the setting is so unique.
For general trip-planning information, see our Switzerland Travel Guide.