Ski Season Opening 2014

Well, the ski season has well and truly opened, with Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Davos-Klosters, Flims/Laax, Verbier, St Moritz and even low-lying Gstaad open, if only partially. Locals say this is the heaviest November dump in living memory, and the snow conditions are so good that even some resort runs are open, e.g. Verbier. Of course, the avalanche risk is also high and in some areas the snow cover hasn’t formed a good base over the rocks and meadows below, but it is a promising start. My wife is down in Sierre and Sion home-hunting today, within site of working lifts… and I am in the Netherlands being an ice hockey dad! Oh well, not long before I will be donning skis and hitting the piste.
Verbier ski season opening

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Where the Rich and Famous Ski

Patrick Thorne writes for InTheSnow (http://www.inthesnow.com/feature/skiing-tracks-rich-famous/) about some of the celebrities who ski.
St Moritz village from Corviglia
There are some interesting gems. Apparently Prince Charles took Princess Diana to learn to ski in Lichtenstein – presumably Malbun – to avoid the media expecting them at the Walserhof Hotel in Klosters, well known as a royal favourite. Prince Harry, it is claimed, prefers St Moritz, as does King Carl Gustav of Sweden. Charlie Chaplin was reputedly the first man to drive to St Moritz in the winter and Alfred Hitchcock kept a suite at the Palace Hotel for many years.
Gstaad Palace HotelSophia Loren, however, preferred Gstaad and the Gstaad Palace. David Niven was a near neighbour, choosing to winter in Chateau D’Oex.
I am not sure how many of the rich and famous actually ski at Davos during the World Economic Forum (21–24 January 2015), but you could do worse.
George Michael stayed at the Ferienart in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, 30 years ago to film the video for Last Christmas.

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Winter Ski Deals in Graubünden

I am a great fan of the winter sports resorts in Graubünden, and will be spending the Christmas period in the canton. It is probably the most complete ski and snowboard destination in the world, but it caters well for ever type of visitor – including the budget conscious.
Arosa ski resort
This season Graubünden once again has a range of excellent deals. The season starts on 18th October 2014 on the Diavolezza in the Engadine, which celebrates 150 years of winter tourism. On 22nd November, Corvatsch and Corviglia in St Moritz open. Progressively other resorts open, with Arosa, Samnaun, Flims Laax Falera and Davos Klosters opening in November.

A great deal for getting there is the Rhaetian Railway (RhB) offer, “Railhit 2 for 1” in which two people travelling together from Monday to Thursday only pay for one if they are hotel guests or in self-catering accommodation. The offer lasts from 8th December 2014 to 10th April 2014. RailHit is not valid on a handful of special services, including the pass associated with using the Preda-Bergün sledging slope.
Skiers in Davos on the Parsenn
For 35 SFr per person per day for visits of at least two nights, a ski pass is included with accommodation at participating hotels in and around St Moritz.

Arosa once again features the “Ski School Included” for youngsters staying in the resort, whereby lessons are available at no charge.

Now linked to Arosa, Lenzerheide gives you a free lift pass if you book a stay at any time between 28th of November to the 20th December.

Up until 21st December 2014 you also get a complimentary ski pass for slopes in Davos Klosters for every overnight stay in a partner hotel in the area. From 20th December until 6th April the resorts are also offering a local insider to accompany you and show you the best of the mountains. Remember also that Ski Club of Great Britain members still can ski or snowboard for free with a Ski Club representative.

More details on these and other offers are posted at the Graubünden Tourism website.

There are also the usual range of budget options if you are going to Graubunden, with some excellent hostels and budget hotels. Check out the Winter Sports Accommodation Guide.

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The Best Three Star Hotels in the Swiss Alps

Last winter the Swiss newspaper, the Sonntags Zeitung, published a list of the best hotels in Switzerland. The full article is here, but I have listed what they consider the best three star hotels:

skier gets ready to hit the piste

1. (Last Year: 4) Alpine Lodge,Saanen-Gstaad BE
Tel 033 748 41 51,alpinelodge.ch
Doubleroom from 360 Fr.

2. (1) Waldhaus am See,St. Moritz GR
Tel 081 836 60 00, waldhaus-am-see.ch
Doubleroom from 310 Fr.

3. (3) Romantik Hotel Schönegg, Wengen BE
Tel 033 855 34 22, hotel-schoenegg.ch
Doubleroom from 380 Fr.

4. (2) Krone, La Punt GR
Tel 081 854 12 69, krone-la-punt.ch
Doubleroom 250 Fr.

5. (5) Misani, Celerina GR
Tel 081 839 89 89, hotelmisani.ch
Doubleroom from 230 Fr.

6. (6) Jungfrau, Wengernalp BE
Tel 033 855 16 22, wengernalp.ch
Doubleroom from 440 Fr.

7. (8) Hotel Kernen,Schönried-Gstaad BE
Tel 033 748 40 20, bruno-kernen.ch
Doubleroom from 320 Fr.

8. (-) Chesa Randolin,Sils Baselgia GR
Tel 081 830 83 83,randolins.ch
Doubleroom from 236 Fr.

9. (11) Eienwäldli, Engelberg OW
Tel 041 637 19 49,eienwaeldli.ch
Doubleroom from 280 Fr.

10. (-) La Couronne, Zermatt VS
Tel 027 966 23 00,hotel-couronne.ch
Doubleroom from 256 Fr.

11. (7) Sporthotel, Pontresina GR
Tel 081 838 94 00, sporthotel.ch
Doubleroom from 250 Fr.

12. (13) Bella Vista, Zermatt VS
Tel 027 966 28 10,bellavista-zermatt.ch
Doubleroom from 235 Fr.

13. (12) Parkhotel Schönegg, Grindelwald BE
Tel 033 854 18 18,parkhotelschoenegg.ch
Doubleroom from 340 Fr.

14. (16) Alphubel, Saas-Fee VS
Tel 027 958 63 63, hotelalphubel.ch
Doubleroom from 314 Fr.

15. (15) Chesa Grischuna, Klosters GR
Tel 081 422 22 22,chesagrischuna.ch
Doubleroom from 439 Fr.

16. (20) Alpenblick, Fiesch VS
Tel 027 970 16 60,hotelalpenblick.ch
Doubleroom from 150 Fr.

17. (9) Le Mont Paisible,Crans-Montana VS
Tel 027 480 21 61, montpaisible.ch
Doubleroom from 220 Fr.

18. (14) Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl, Samedan GR
Tel 081 842 82 32,muottasmuragl.ch
Doubleroom from 240 Fr.

19. (18) Adler, Adelboden BE
Tel 033 673 41 41,adleradelboden.ch
Doubleroom from 308 Fr.

20. (19) Müller Mountain Lodge, Pontresina GR
Tel 081 839 30 00, hotel-mueller.ch
Doubleroom from 300 Fr.

21. (24) Meisser, Guarda GR
Tel 081 862 21 32, hotel-meisser.ch
Doubleroom from 230 Fr.

22. (17) Bodmi, Grindelwald BE
Tel 033 853 12 20, bodmi.ch
Doubleroom from 294 Fr.

23. (10) Homann,Samnaun-Ravaisch GR
Tel 081 861 91 91,hotel-homann.ch
Doubleroom from 290 Fr.

24. (21) Europe, Zinal VS
Tel 027 475 44 04, europezinal.ch
Doubleroom from 200 Fr.

25. (25) Alphorn, Gstaad BE
Tel 033 748 45 45,gstaad-alphorn.ch
Doubleroom from 252 Fr.

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