Daredevils will love these thrilling Swiss slopes. PICTURE: Instagram

Andermatt is perched 1,437m above sea level but hopes to reach still dizzier heights.

This Swiss village in the Urseren valley population of 1,387 residents has plans to rival Heathrow’s third runway.

The resort hasn’t featured on the British skiers’ map since the Eighties. It’s been one of those ‘best-kept secret’ places for off-piste, free-riding, armpit deep powder fans and James Bond, who pursued Goldfinger round the Furka Pass, refueling his Aston Martin in Andermatt.

That’s all changing, thanks to Samih Sawiris, an Egyptian billionaire developer, who has opened the five-star Chedi hotel and by 2018 intends to have six more hotels, plus 500 apartments and 25 chalets.

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Changes are afoot on the slopes, too, with three new lifts set to link Natschen and Sedrun. Once it’s all done, this resort will have 24 lifts, 85 runs and 120km of slopes. Enough to keep James Bond busy.

The village has kept its traditional feel: no glitzy shops selling floor-length furs and diamond watches. New buildings can’t be taller than the church tower and noisy snowmobiling and heli-skiing are banned. But there’s still plenty of excitement to be had.

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A two-stop cable car takes you to the top of the intimidating Gemsstock. At 2,963m, it’s steep, north-facing and not for the nervous. From the top there’s a 3.5km red run, the St Annagletscher, a black run (named after Bernhard Russi, the glamorous local hero who won a gold medal in the 1972 Winter Olympics), ski routes and lots of off-piste powder.

You can’t ski between Gemsstock and neighbouring Sedrun, but a train ticket is included in the price of the lift pass. It’s to-the-minute-punctual and takes you on a 20-minute ride to the Oberalp Pass. With lots of long red runs, it’s the most enjoyable area for intermediates.

From there, it’s easy to take the train to Natschen for more reds and blues, and a long and easy run back to the village.

The pistes aren’t crowded, the village is full of charm (if you ignore the gloomy former army barracks) and it offers thrilling slopes for experienced skiers.

Huge as Andermatt’s plans are, they’ll definitely be finished before Heathrow’s third runway.

Daily Mail