Andermatt , Switzerland
Andermatt (the spiritual home of Stockli Skis) is a lovely traditional ski resort set in the very heart of the Swiss Alps. It is a resort that has changed very little over the last 40 years and the hotels (mostly 2 and 3 star) remain as they were when first built; unfussy, unpretentious, friendly and serve good, wholesome food. However, in December 2013 the luxury 5 star Chedi Hotel opened its doors which has brought a different dimension to the resort.
Andermatt with the towering Gemsstock Mountain (offering North facing slopes) has always been a mecca for good skiers searching for wonderful off-piste terrain and it's not hard to see why. Although there are only 74km of piste skiing there is almost limitless off-piste potential offering the highest quality expert terrain - cliff bands, chutes, wide open powder fields of perfect pitch, high altitude touring - it has it all. For a traditional alpine ski holiday Andermatt is a must.
Andermatt is not a party resort like Ischgl or St Anton but then not everyone likes thumping German "Schlager" music! The Spycher is the place most people meet up after a day on the mountain. They also do great pizza there! You can enjoy a beer in the sun outside the Aurora (opposite the Gemstock lift) or on the terrace of the 3 star Konige hotel.
Although in the heart of the Alps it is only an easy 2 hour drive away from Zurich making it very possible for a weekend ski holiday destination. If you spend most of your skiing time off-piste then Andermatt, like Alagna and La Grave, is the right ski resort for you. And when you do visit the chances are that you'll be back again very soon.
Pros & Cons
- Very attractive and traditional Swiss mountain village
- Excellent snow record
- Fabulous off-piste and ski touring terrain. Especially for experts
- Easy access from Zurich airport
- Great resort for weekend ski holidays
- Can get busy at weekends
- fairly limited skiing for beginners and intermiates although things are improving
- limited nightlife although again this is changing - read below
Resort restaurants tend to be the dining facilities of the resort hotels. These tend to be local, traditional and good value.
There are a couple of restaurants on the mountain but it is probably easiest to ski back down to the resort for lunch and try any number of good, local style restaurants in the high street. The main lift seldom has any queues during the day and as it is a large cable car you'll be back up the mountain skiing again with a minimum of wasted time. Alternatively you will need to pack some food in your rucksack coz where you're going there are no restaurants within miles and miles.
What apres ski scene? Andermatt is a serious skier/boarder resort, it's not for those that want to party till dawn. That said there is a good bar in the very centre of the resort called the Spycher which is lively enough straight after skiing. It is full of Scandie raggey skiers and boarders, rucksacks, helmets, touring gear and the laughter and smiles from those that have enjoyed some of Europe's finest back country terrain.
Revolves around the Pinte, the Spycher or the Gotthard bar.