FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Skiing, Swiss Alps

by Becca Hensley

Feb 1, 2019
February 2019

WITH FUR-LINED LOUNGE CHAIRS at mid-mountain huts, fondue for sustenance, chalet-style hotels and lift tickets costing less than what you’d pay at most American ski resorts, Switzerland caught my snow bunny daughter’s attention first for another reason. “Mom, can we go to the real Matterhorn?” Having seen the fake mountain at Disneyland, she was smitten. We’d been planning to go to Colorado for winter skiing, a ritual repeated for years and years. But why not make a change? While the Rockies never get old, perhaps it was time to point our skis (and snowboards) in a new direction.

Tiny Switzerland, just the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined, holds a mind-boggling number of ski areas — some 250-plus. Many are large, others diminutive, and all — wedged cheerfully into mountainous terrain — occupy characteristic villages reflective of their regions. Though Norway gets the credit for inventing schussing, the Swiss embraced the sport in the late 19th century as a utilitarian means to traverse the landscape. Not long after, blue blood British tourists discovered skiing’s thrills during long winter stays at tony resorts such as St. Moritz, ensuring the cold-weather phenomenon took hold.

Today Switzerland, a legendary gathering place for glitterati, famous for its white-gloved service and having hosted the winter Olympics twice, reigns as a snow lover’s paradise. With ski destinations in all its three language regions, each accessible by the efficient Swiss train network, it offers riders long, meandering ski runs; heart-thumping vertical drops; glaciers galore; miles of treeless expanses; and eye-popping vistas. Not necessarily secluded, though set amid stunning nature, resorts often connect to one another, allowing skiers to S-turn from village to village — sometimes even to neighboring countries — all in the same day. Add in a vibrant après-ski culture plus chilly activities from tobogganing to skating to snow polo, and Switzerland’s largesse convinced us to give its slopes a try. Even better, we decided to ride the storybook Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt, a train trip that would allow us to try out two famous ski towns on one trip.

Upon arrival at Zürich Airport, we haul our suitcases, laden with puffy ski clothes and layers, to nab our first train for the adventure. We’ve bought a Swiss Pass, a remarkable travel savings allowing children under 16 to ride free on their parent’s unlimited travel ticket throughout Switzerland. It also provides gratis admittance to museums and transportation on boats and buses. With that magic ticket firmly in hand, we walk from the airport to the train station, find the platform for the next train to glamorous St. Moritz and take a seat.



St. Moritz, famous for its celebrity guests, nevertheless imparts a sporty vibe. We snuggle into swanky Badrutt’s Palace, poised minutes from the foot of Corviglia, perhaps the region’s most famous ski mountain. Ideally located for whooshing home at day’s end, the hotel also lies close to St. Moritz’s famous lake, frozen in winter but thronged with warmly clad revelers. That’s where we attempt skijoring, a nervy sport where a muscular horse pulls a scrambling person on skis across the ice. I decide I’m happier under blankets on a horse-drawn carriage ride, a hot wine in hand, tromping along the snow-carpeted forest trails. Later, after a much-deserved, truffle-strewn (pizza-like) flammkuchen, I retire to the Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski’s spa for a marmot oil massage, a time-honored Swiss tradition said to restore overused muscles. To wit, I return the following day, repaired and rewired, to redo my skijoring efforts with a modicum of success.

When it’s time to board the fabled Glacier Express to Zermatt, we’re sorry to leave St. Moritz. But once seated on the nostalgic-styled train, complete with panoramic windows, we’re ready for the next phase of our escapade. Called the “slowest fast train in the world,” the Glacier Express averages 22 miles an hour, chugging for nearly eight hours across Switzerland. Thankfully, it’s also famous for its cuisine, and along the way we sit at starched white-clothed tables, sipping Swiss libations and nibbling charcuterie. En route, the train passes through 91 tunnels, crosses 291 harrowing bridges, trundles out of snowcarpeted valleys and climbs myriad Toblerone-shaped peaks. From the windows we see cross-country skiers with groceries balanced on their backs, cows with bells, and children sledding.

As we near Zermatt, our excitement grows. We disembark and drag our bags up the pedestrian main street, filled with après-skiers, St. Bernard dogs and romantic carriages. “Where is it?” says my daughter, furtively searching for the Matterhorn, disappointed it isn’t in sight. Suddenly it appears as if summoned, majestic and authentic, at the end of the street — just waiting to be skied.

Info to Go

Fly to Zürich or Geneva on Swiss International Air Lines to make quick train connections to all regions of Switzerland. You can purchase a Swiss Travel Pass for the trains online through RailEurope.com. Swiss Deluxe Hotels offers a collection of characteristic yet opulent hotels across Switzerland.


FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.


Insta Feed
Jan 26, 2021

Best Cities for Locavores in 2021

A locavore diet consists of food from local places, like nearby gardens, farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants. As lockdowns and the pandemic continue, naturally people have been partaking more in a locavore diet. LawnStarter, America’s leading outdoor services provider, determined 2021’s Best Cities for Locavores.

Jan 25, 2021

Private Jet Travel Predictions 2021

Global aircraft charter company Air Charter Service analyzed private jet travel habits in 2020 to predict trends for 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected air travel worldwide in 2020, but Air Charter Service looks ahead to 2021 with optimism.

Jan 22, 2021

Getting Cozy in the Catskills

The Urban Cowboy hospitality brand is no stranger to making city-adjacent stays feel a little more country. The newest addition to its roster, The Chalet, goes a rustic-chic step further at The Urban Cowboy in the Catskills, New York.

What To Expect When Flying: oneworld Debuts Information Portal

Though air travel slowed as airports temporarily closed and borders shuttered to stifle the spread of coronavirus, the airline industry — led by oneworld alliance member airlines — enacted enhanced protective measures to reduce risk and protect passengers.

Jan 21, 2021

8 Reasons to Put Poland on Your Travel List

As the vaccine rolls out and travel begins to pick up, it’s time to start dreaming of your next international trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Poland with us.

eFlyer Deals
Jan 20, 2021

A Room Full of Roses at The Rose Hotel

The Rose Hotel Chicago O’Hare, a Tapestry Collection by Hilton is offering lovers something extra special for Valentine’s Day this year. The extravagant A Room Full of Roses offer features a suite filled to the brim with 400 long-stemmed roses, as well as a welcome amenity and a bottle of sparkling wine or cider upon arrival.

Adventure Redefined: Volvo Overseas Delivery Program

Are you looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own refined adventure of a lifetime. You can custom order your new Volvo, tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.

eFlyer Deals
Jan 20, 2021

Spa Grande at Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort Offer

Reset your health and wellness this year with Spa Grande at Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. The property introduced the Live Grande Reset offer, at the largest spa in all of Hawai’i at 50,000 square feet.