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