Andermatt Ski Resort Switzerland

The chime of church bells and scent of melted Bergkäse fill the crisp air of the chocolate-box-like Andermatt Ski Resort Switzerland, the target of Egyptian billionaire Samih Sawiris’ $1.5 billion redevelopment of the decade. The project, led by Benno Nager, now Director of Development at Genting Secret Garden in China, links pistes and lifts as far as the neighboring village of Sedrun, increasing glorious groomers to 75 miles amid uninterrupted Swiss peaks. And soon, for 2019-20, a new lift connecting Sedrun to Disentis, a powder-rich hub of deserted off-piste splendors. Reached in only 90 minutes by car from Zurich, or via rail on the super-scenic Glacier Express, these majestic mountains are attracting attention for all the right reasons.

Uber-trad Andermatt began its evolution in 2013 with The Chedi, a deliciously decadent Asian-Alpine five-star spa hotel, complete with 205 fireplaces, a 16-foot high cheese humidor, destination spa and Michelin-star Japanese restaurant. A new four-star Radisson Blu now adds nearly 300 more rooms to the mix, flanked by residences aimed at an international market whose investments are exempt from Switzerland’s otherwise strict foreign ownership rules.

Olympic gold and World Champion Bernhard Russi played a pivotal role in the resort redux. The renowned race course and piste designer (the Andermatt local was also James Bond’s ski double) recognized the need to give the people what they want.

“First, people built the steepest runs to the highest points, but to compete in the market you need intermediate runs and lots of sun,” says Russi, perfectly characterizing the panorama of 10,000-foot-plus peaks that encircle the new Schneehüenerstock Express gondola. “If I didn’t believe in it, I wouldn’t have become involved. And now we are a little bit proud.”

Andermatt Ski Resort Switzerland this winter!