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Switzerland is prized for its pristine ski slopes and picturesque Alpine villages, not to mention the stunning mountain backdrops that complete almost every scene. What’s more, in September, a government body released details that the country will escape the recession, although the growth forecast for 2012 has been lowered to 1%. The economic slowdown has now reached Switzerland – it performed less well in the second quarter of the year than the first – however the Secretariat for Economic Affairs declared that a ‘marked recession’ is not likely. This is great news for locals as well as tourists thinking of heading overseas for a winter trip.
If you’re looking for ski holidays in Switzerland, you are spoilt for choice in terms of where to make your base, but the following destinations offer some of the best in facilities, charm and atmosphere to be found among the mountains.
Known for its Royal clientèle, the village of Klosters near the Austrian border has all the visual delights you’d expect: wooden chalets, pine-covered slopes and the quintessential Swiss watch and chocolate shops. The experience here is a quietly classy one, with Michelin-starred restaurants and open fires, but it’s also home to one of the longest ski runs in Europe; nearly 17 kilometres. This said, there are slopes for all abilities and the varied off-piste terrain keeps skiers coming back season after season.
Mürren is a mountain village situated at the foot of the Schilthorn, with sweeping views of the Lauterbrunnen Valley below. Only cable cars can take you past waterfalls and impressive crags to the centre of the village, which is also refreshingly free of traffic due to its precarious position. Your journey is rewarded however, by some of the best snow in the shadow of the Jungfrau and Eiger mountains. Those looking for a buzzing nightlife might want to seek out one of the larger resorts like Davos, but Mürren will please anyone wishing to get away into a somewhat unreal land of glaciers and heart-stopping views.
One of the more popular options is the resort at Zermatt, beneath the huge bulk of the Matterhorn, with majestic views of the surrounding gorges and ubiquitous pine trees. It’s busier than some of the smaller villages but the centre retains a traditional appeal, and offers a wide range of skiing opportunities for intermediates and experts, as well as beginners who are looking to improve. Zermatt is also blessed by long winters and the highest peaks in Europe – some 29 of them in total populate this area. The massive scale of the Zermatt certainly should be seen to be believed.
Picking your ski holidays in Switzerland may seem difficult, but it really only remains to decide whether you want the challenges of the biggest peaks, or the tranquillity and untouched snow of the remotest villages. Whatever you go for, the grand Alpine vistas, cosy chalets and crisp mountain air come as standard. And of course, in the current climate, economic stability is certainly reassuring for visitors looking towards Switzerland.