Andermatt has opened new hotels and new ski lifts over recent years, and this winter season will be linked to neighbouring Sedrun to form central Switzerland's largest, most modern ski resort. There are 120 kilometres of runs (and as many for cross-country skiing), with Gemsstock mountain famous for its steep, expansive, adrenaline-inducing off-piste terrain and great powder. Ample groomed runs elsewhere cater to all levels of ski prowess and, on weekdays, you'll never encounter lift queues.
Andermatt sits at the headwaters of the Rhine and Rhone and intersection of four valleys that form a crucial cross-alpine route. The attractive village is replete with churches and gnarled, patrician chalets, the most beautiful housing Ursern Valley Museum (museum-ursern.ch), which documents the region's long history. Decommissioned, underground army installation Sasso San Gottardo (sasso-sangottardo.ch) highlights Andermatt's strategic importance. Scenic Schollenen Gorge and its Devil's Bridge lead to the famous St Gotthard Pass (passosangottardo.ch).
Restaurant Sonne (hotelsonneandermatt.ch) hunkers in a fabulously gnarled chalet and is particularly good for its traditional Swiss dishes, including fondue and raclette, a dish of melted cheese on potato, accompanied by pickles. Toutoune (restaurant-toutoune.com) veers towards the Mediterranean with the likes of falafel, risottos, steaks and seafood. It's family-friendly rather than fancy, but good hearty cooking. On the mountain at the Gemsstock cable car's halfway station, Pastakeller (skiarena.ch) offers hearty choose-it-yourself combinations of pastas and sauces.
The Gutsch side of the valley has easy, sunny skiing, so is a favourite with families. Don't miss No. 27 blue run that, though slow, has fabulous scenery. Since skiers usually stick to runs, Gutsch can be terrific off-piste on a powder day. Sedrun (skiarena.ch) is also a family friendly ski area, with wide, gentle runs, a kids' park and variety of restaurants. Admire the scenery over a drink on the red Apres-Ski Train (matterhorngotthardbahn.ch), complimentary for ski-pass holders.
Powder hounds should head atop Gemsstock cable car (skiarena.ch) at 2969 metres. The No. 71 black run to the Gurschen halfway station often has perfect snow conditions and, although steep, is quite wide. The lower No. 77 black is better if it's windy. Gemsstock is high-altitude and north-facing, so expect great snow conditions even late season (March and April). It's outstanding for freeriding, as you can ski down in every direction.
Andermatt Swiss Alps (andermatt-swissalps.ch) has rather swish and roomy self-catering holiday apartments for between two and eight people that will have you snug as the proverbial bug. The Chedi Andermatt (thechediandermatt.com) is quite a departure for a ski resort. The luxe, slightly Asian-feel hotel is resolutely contemporary, with only the odd nod to the chalet aesthetic. It has an expansive spa, great dining and wonderfully extravagant rooms with double-sided fires, soaking tubs and oodles of space.
Andermatt is two hours by train from Zurich airport and easily accessible from other Swiss cities, making a ski-sightseeing combination a viable option. Consider a Swiss Travel Pass (myswitzerland.com), which covers trains, public transport and museum admissions.
The writer travelled courtesy Switzerland Tourism, Swiss Travel System and Andermatt Tourism.