As we edge towards ski season in Switzerland, sportsmen and women are chomping at the bit to hit the slopes once again. But for those who take a more recreational approach to the season, the prospect of dealing with gear is always a thorn in the side of happiness, luckily, with The Chedi Andermatt’s Ski Butler service, a day on the slopes has never been easier.
Forget for a moment that Andermatt sits within the furrows of some of the best slopes in the world in the Swiss Alps, and forget also that it doesn’t have the hordes of mountain hogs that migrate north in the winters to most other mountains; no, that’s not what’s important – rather, that’s not who is important. It’s having a dedicated ski butler, or so they are called at The Chedi Andermatt, on hand that makes the experience different. A team member whose sole purpose is to make your day on the slopes runs as easy as possible, the ski butler is as close to Superman in the snow as you’ll get.
Perhaps the most attractive of draws to grabbing yourself one of these ski saints is breezing through the technical process. Renting your gear (all official HEAD gear), lugging it from place to place and making sure it’s going on and coming off at the right time throughout the day is all in a day’s work, what’s more, is that this is all done in the warmth of a dedicated skiing “living room.” “We don’t have a foul-smelling boot room like most other places. And that’s because we’re usually up at around 6:30 in the morning preparing warmed boots for those who are ready to ski,” says Eric Zeller, the head ski butler at The Chedi Andermatt. “We drop the boots in the living room and when you’re ready, you pop in and we personally kit you up. You’ve really got nothing to worry about in the mornings, just show up and go. And of course it’s the same at the end of the day.”
But the ski butlers aren’t there just to help you with your gear. Zeller says a typical day for a ski butler is about nine hours, but can get anywhere up to 15, and contains giving food recommendations, slope recommendations, and even weather forecasts throughout the day. And there are few people more qualified to trust your day on the slopes. Zeller, who has been skiing since he was three, says that Andermatt is a place that he has been skiing seasonally for five years, and first skied back in 2007. An experienced on- and off-piste skier, Zeller is as familiar with the slopes of this central Swiss retreat as he is his own skis, and has a number of reasons that he has made Andermatt his go-to ski haunt.
“One thing that is great is the diversity of slopes here,” he says. “We have 160 kilometers of on-piste skiing and 240 kilometers of off-piste, and within that, we have a fantastic range of slopes for anyone from first timers to seasoned veterans. Something I promise is that I can find anyone a challenging run, even if you are used to running in the Alaskan spines.” And while I know I won’t be skiing those types of slopes anytime soon, the range in terrain is something that any avid skier won’t take for granted in Andermatt.