SWITZERLAND, November 25, 2017 — With Thanksgiving over, Christmas and Ol’ Man Winter are not far behind, ‘Tis the season to be jolly. In Switzerland that means skiing in the Swiss Alps.
There is only one thing better than skiing in Switzerland, and that is skiing in Switzerland at night. It’s a magical time where you can turn yourself into a human comet as you barrel your way down the slopes. When the sun goes down and the sky is clear with a full moon to guide the way, it’s “dancing with the stars” Swiss-style, as you see that distant village looming ahead where you know a crackling fire and hot toddies await your arrival.
St. Moritz is a good place to begin. Night fun gets underway in this Swiss Alps locale on Fridays at 7 pm in Corvatsch. At 2.5 miles, the Corvatsch Chastelets slope is the longest floodlit run in the country.
No need to do it all in one fell swoop however. There’s a wood-fired oven at the Murtel middle station where pizza and hot chocolate will recharge your batteries for the final run into the village.
The apres-ski meeting place to be is the famous Hossa Bar where locals and visitors gather during the Friday “Snow Nights” between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. With a menu featuring huge burgers, chicken wings and hot dogs done up in American-style perfection, this is the place to be.
But remember: If you decide not to ski the entire run, be aware that the last cable car departs at 1:40 a.m.
St. Moritz offers more than its share of other winter activities. These include lively festivities that take place throughout the season. You can even play snow golf or place bets on horse racing that takes place on one of the frozen lakes.
Nendaz may at first be an unfamiliar name to many Swiss Alps aficionados. But once you experience the thrill of full-moon skiing in the Valais, it’s a place you won’t soon forget. This time-honored tradition begins at Tracouet mountain restaurant with a welcome drink and a themed dinner at 8 pm. An hour later, at 9 p.m., the Jean-Pierre ski run opens for moonlit trips down the illuminated slope.
Skiiers and spectators alike will find plenty of places to sip a cup of vin chaud – hot mulled wine – accompanied by the romantic, haunting sounds of Alpenhorns and featuring storytellers to boot.
No need for non-skiers to despair, however. Those enterprising Swiss think of everything. For starters, there’s an available gondola here that makes regularly scheduled – and quite spectacular – runs up and down the mountain to Tracouet.
One of the best year-round destinations in the Swiss Alps, thanks in large part to its semi-remote location, is the town and municipality of Arosa. Arriving there by train from the town of Chur, you soon discover that Arosa is a typical alpine village nestled beside a small pond at the base of a bowl of spectacularly snow-capped mountains.
Once there, resolve to go to bed early and rise before the sun comes up. That assures you’ll be the first skier to make tracks on freshly groomed virgin snow. The Proschieri ski lift or the Statzertali chair lift open at 6:30 a.m. to transport you to the Arosa Lendzerheide slopes. In winter the Swiss sun sleeps in, so the ski runs are illuminated early for those wanting to make tracks before sunrise.
After a hour or so of pre-dawn activity, the Alp Statz Restaurant will re-fortify you for the rest of the day with a delightful buffet breakfast.
Arosa is also a marvelous place to stroll at night, its streets adrift with numerous cozy cafes, horse drawn sleighs and dancing fires to warm your soul after a strenuous day in the mountains.
And don’t forget: Part of the fun of skiing in Arosa is the train ride you take to get there. Once you’ve arrived, grab your skis, hop off the train and walk just a few yards to your convenient hotel. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
You see, when night falls in in Switzerland’s winter season, that’s merely a signal for the fun to begin.
About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
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