Skiing in Andermatt: the Swiss resort that is not a swizz

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The little-known resort of Andermatt makes for great-value, laid-back skiing, says Yolanda Carslaw.

Andermatt might not look much from the road; bleak, with few trees, a shady summit above and a barracks standing guard. But if you venture on to its pretty streets, then An-der-Matt (“on the meadow”) is quaint and compact – and surprisingly good value for Switzerland. At an altitude of 1,444m between three mountain passes, it has inexpensive hotels and restaurants on an L-shaped main street, as well as 78 miles of quiet slopes – and down-to-earth locals and visitors.

Some of this may change: developers are building six large, high-end hotels by the barracks, due to open next year, and there are plans for a lift link to nearby Sedrun. Whether the new Andermatt will be “a harmonious whole”, as claimed by those behind the link, is not clear, but my advice is to go now, while it’s tranquil.

What will not alter is the exhilarating, snow-sure terrain. Andermatt has two mountains: gentle Nätschen, and a looming hulk, Gemsstock (top station 2,963m), where the north-facing bowl stays little tracked long after a blizzard. The red runs of Sedrun – included on an area ticket – are well worth the 20-minute train to the Oberalppass.

Guests are more likely to be Swiss weekenders and confident Scandinavians, Germans and some British. It’s an excellent choice for plucky families, couples or solos who want value, an authentic Swiss atmosphere and the odd challenge.

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