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Shh - Secret Skiing in Switzerland
Where do freeriders, ski tourers and piste goers go, that no-one’s talking about? Why to #Switzerland of course, because the variety of courses available is amazing, including; igloo building, avalanche training, sledging, and of course #skiing!
Ever wondered where the skiers “in the know” go that isn’t a mainstream resort - with accommodation options on-piste, at really affordable prices, to top end spa and restaurant loaded luxury at the other end of the scale ? Where people freeride, tour and sledge the many kms of sledge runs. You can also cross country ski and night ski, or even just ski the pistes.
Welcome to one of my favourite ski areas - SkiArena in Switzerland, encompassing Andermatt and Sedrun.
Welcome to one of my favourite ski areas - SkiArena in Switzerland, encompassing Andermatt and Sedrun
I came across it by chance when I went to visit a friend renting an on-piste “hut” in Milez (1900m). A little hamlet of 15 or so “huts,” a restaurant and the bar Las Palas - serving after the lifts close - so you need to be aware that the only way home is in the dark on the snow (you can imagine some of those stories!).
Bernina Trail Hike in Switzerland
Romantic Rhine River Cruise
Ski Touring the Ortler Circuit
These basic level huts are on-piste which is their beauty, but basic is the key word - you can contact the local tourist office for links to book these. From Milez you can take the sledge run down (nearly 4km long) with your own sledge, or you can rent one there. Not for the faint hearted as it’s pretty steep ! There are more kms of sledging over in Andermatt if it takes your fancy. In the Milez hamlet the ski schools have meeting points, which saves you a trip down the mountain.
There are two locally (www.saegerei.ch for boarders and www.snowsport-sedrun.ch for the ski/board school). In addition Sedrun has a specialist school where you can book lessons, but also - how about a day out learning how to build your own igloo ! (www.aurira.ch).
learning how to build your own igloo
Over the mountain from Milez there is a snow-park for boarders and skiers alike. Up and over the mountain to Oberalp (check out the lighthouse - the source of the river Rhine). There you can catch a train to Andermatt (chair lift connection coming soon) and then either use the lifts or catch the bus connection (or walk, it’s not far) to take the gondaler to Gemmstock where there’s on-piste, off piste and snow-park fun to be had.
In Andermatt, if you fancy some luxury, you can book into the new Andermatt Chedi Hotel - the epitome of contemporary luxury, complete with spa and pool; it has a touch of Asian fused with Alpine style.
Hotel The Chedi Andermatt
Chocolate Factory Cailler
Guided City Tour of Lucerne
In Andermatt there are a couple of ski schools (snowlimit.ch, skischuleandermatt.ch). Or for some alternative #active fun rent a snow bike and try out your skills (www.bullskate.ch).
If ski touring is your thing SkiArena is one of the most comprehensive touring areas in Switzerland - safety is top of course, so booking into a small group with a guide is the best bet - a great local company (based up the road in Disentis) is Alpventura (www.alpventura.ch).
Or book in first for your avalanche training in the Gurschenalp Training Centre in Andermatt - it’s free!
book in first for your avalanche training
This ski area is not yet known like the big name resorts. Facilities are sometimes a little “retro” (but big plans are currently in progress for updates and expansion). But if you like to ski, this is one place where you won’t need to queue forever, where you can have some active skiing in whatever form takes your fancy and mix with a crowd from young boarders and freeriders to middle aged tourers and piste bashers. Just, maybe, don’t spread the secret too far please.