We are surprised how close canton Uri is from our home near Zurich. After a 45-minute drive, we reach the Schöllenen Gorge and the Devil's Bridge.
After negotiating the switchbacks up to the Ursern valley, one of the first structures that welcomes us to Andermatt is the Radisson Blu Hotel Reussen. This resort with 180 hotel rooms and nearly 100 apartments is situated like a cornerstone on the valley floor. And luckily for us, the property is seamlessly connected to the ski lifts either by way of shuttle bus or footpath.
An alpine chalet with Scandinavian design
The lobby of the Radisson Blu Hotel Reussen is very spacious. It has several functional spaces: a circular fireplace, a table that serves as a coworking desk, the “barbar” lounge, or large couches that invite to linger.
Somewhere, Mamiko even discovers a built-in shelf that is stacked with popular board games for guests to borrow. And there is plenty of modern Scandinavian design, too. We particularly like the oversized origami polar bear…
Our room type is a “One Bedroom Residence”, which definitely deserves the name. This studio apartment features a kitchen, a living room with a guest toilet, and a bedroom with a master bath. We are only here for a weekend, but we could just as easily imagine staying for a couple of weeks!
The materials are of high quality - the kinds of structures and textures we are used to from five-star hotels. Take the wooden elements, such as the floor or the doors: they are a warm reminder that we are nestled amid the Swiss Alps.
Powder to spare at the SkiArena Andermatt Sedrun
The next morning, I am the first to draw the curtains of our floor-to-ceiling windows. I go straight back to bed from where I gaze at a Winter Wonderland. The cable cars are already operating, taking skiers from Andermatt straight to the slopes.
Andermatt offers two options for skiing. There are the steep black runs at Gemsstock, or the expansive blue/red slopes connecting Gütsch and Sedrun. Due to the different cable car stations, it would not be practical to ski both regions in one day. We opt for Gütsch, which seems sunnier and more adequate for our skills.
Instead of hopping onto the cable car to start our day, however, we fetch the iconic red train that leaves from the Andermatt station. The cable cars are great if you are spending the day skiing the slopes of Andermatt. But since numerous lifts are connected, spanning from Gütsch all the way to Sedrun in the canton of Graubünden, it would take quite some time to traverse.
An added benefit of the 18-minute train ride to Oberalppass are the sweeping views. Those seated on the right-hand side of the train will overlook Andermatt as the regional train makes its way up the mountainside.
It’s all red slopes between Oberalppass and Sedrun - just the way we like it. Our favorite run is from Cuolm Val at 2215 m to Mulinatsch at 1660 m. With all this powder, we zig down on this scenic piste... While there are several different runs from the top, they all end up at the same chair lift.
Combining ski slopes to create ever different runs is fun - and time passes way too quickly. Everything in the SkiArena Andermatt Sedrun is well organized. While we could have traversed back to Andermatt towards the end of the day, we opt for the train again. From the station at Dieni, it is a slightly longer return trip to Andermatt: 46 minutes.
Please note that due to the pandemic, advance reservations are required to reach the peaks of Gemsstock and Gütsch.
On our departure day, a walk through charming Andermatt
The next morning, we enjoy breakfast at the Radisson Blu before checking out. We store our luggage in the car, but we are not ready to depart just yet.
From our first visit to Andermatt we remember that we were quite fascinated. While other Swiss resort towns such as St. Moritz or Zermatt have shopping streets with the type of boutiques you would find in Milan or Zurich, Andermatt has retained a local flair.
This time, our aim is to walk the side streets where the locals live. We come across a souvenir shop that advertises an internet café. Down the path, a bridge leads across the Unteralpreuss creek from where we soon spot a stable with herding llamas. The St. Peter and Paul church is impressive - especially when everything is covered in fresh snow.
Beyond Gotthardstrasse, the main street of Andermatt, there are more residential buildings. Our destination is the chapel on the hilltop, and we somehow manage to find the way there by sneaking around a few houses.
From up here, the views of Andermatt and the Ursenen Valley are rewarding, to say the least. We reflect on everything we have experienced in just one weekend, and we make a pact to return again soon.
How to get to the Radisson Blu Hotel Reussen Andermatt
Getting to Andermatt is easy: either switch trains in Göschenen or take the Göschenen exit off the A2 freeway before it enters the Gotthard tunnel. We learned the hard way that we should have taken the earlier Wassen exit: traffic headed to Gotthard was backed up, and we were stuck in the middle of it...