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E - T R AV E L E D I T I O N

TRAVEL ISSUE 2011

The exclusive magazine for Lansdown Place Financial Management

CHIC CHALETS

MONT CERVIN PALACE

THE FINEST PROPERTY IN THE REGION

HOSPITALITY AT ITS FINEST

GET STOKED

ZERMATT’S GIFTED GUIDES

ZAI

ENGINEERING THE FUTURE OF SKIS

SWISS

Delight

ZERMATT POSSIBLY THE FINEST SKI DESTINATION IN THE WORLD HOTELS

R E S TA U R A N T S

FLIGHTS

SIGHTS

FOOD & DRINK

FA S H I O N

LUXURY


o l l He

The Exculsive Magazine For

Lansdown Place

Guten Tag from Zermatt. Well, it’s our last travel supplement of 2011. I hope we have saved the best till last. To recap the year in air miles, myself and the team have endeavoured to report on the finest retreats and resorts the world has to offer. From Zighy Bay in Oman, (3606miles) to the Gansevoort hotel in Manhattan, (3471miles), a little closer to home with Lower Mill Estate in the Cotswolds, (38miles) and now the Swiss skiing haven of Zermatt, (524miles). That comes in at an impressive 7639 miles. Imagine our jet lag in 2012. So it’s December, winter is here and snow is waiting in the wings. If you’re not filled with eggnog and alpine nostalgia yet, read the magazine cover to cover. Having never skied before, I knew this was

going to be an interesting trip, potential surgery bills and alike. “Can you review an Eastern paradise or lie on a beach for a week, team”, Not surprisingly there is a rousing “yes”. “How many of you can ski?” It appears not as many as one would imagine. cue my crack team of ski specialists. A number of people had asked me why we hadn’t headed for the slopes to prepare a ski review yet, given this pastime’s popularity amongst our readers. Rather than labour this question, I secretly knew that I had been planning a review of the truly breathtaking Zermatt for over six months! Zermatt lies on the Italian border of the canton of Valais in the west of Switzerland at the end of the 30km long Nikolaital. There are many places to choose from when considering a ski review. Very few have the reputation that Zermatt has and as the slopes are the highest in the world, and we were travelling in November, we needed snow. I would like to take this opportunity to thank not only the companies on the ground in Zermatt that helped us, but the people of the town who were incredibly welcoming. We truly hope you enjoy this issue and wish you a happy and prosperous 2012.

Peter J Robinson Peter Robinson Director

peter@getmediamanagement.com

Laith Al-Kaisy Editor in Chief

laith@getmediamanagement.com

Andrew Hobson Art Director

info@andrewhobsondesign.co.uk

Adam Wood Director

adam@getmediamanagement.com

Get Media Management 1st Floor, Prudential Buildings 11-19 Wine Street, Bristol, BS1 2PH T: +44 (0)117 3702 471 www.getmediamanagement.com

Lansdown Place Lansdown Place 27 Clare Street Old City, Bristol, BS1 1XA T: +44 (0) 845 30 50 222 www.lansdownplace.co.uk

Lansdown Place is a trading style of Lansdown Place Financial Management Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Our Financial Services Authority Registration Number is 126762. Lansdown Place Magazine is designed by Andrew Hobson Design. All rights reserved. Lansdown Place Magazine is funded solely through the kind support of advertisers. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions relating to advertising or editorial. The publisher reserves the right to change or amend any competitions or prizes offered. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent from the publisher. No responsibility is taken for unsolicited materials or the return of these materials whilst in transit.

2 TRAVEL 2011

www.lansdownplace.co.uk


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Contents

Contents 10

14 14

10 Chic Chalets We review three of the town’s most stunning 5* Chalets. 14 Let’s get Stoked Stoked is the region’s ski hire, school, guide and boot specialist, far from a jack of all, they are master of many. 16 Majestic Mont Cervin This hotel is quite possibly the region’s most famous hotel, having stood there since 1852. We join the GM for a spot of supper.

16

18

18 Performance by ZAI We talk to Benedikt Germanier on the evolution of the ski. 21 You’re having a Bubble! There is one thing you need master apart from skiing; the art of the Apres. We get some help from Andreas, Mark and Glenn.

Our Contributors

Irish Empresario and all round good guy Jason Shankey, takes time off the slopes to visit the stoked ski shop on page 22.

Life and soul of the party Glenn Holmes, is our token ‘boarder’ and carves his way from Switzerland to Italy on page 14.

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

Dr Paul Farrow, or ‘the charming man’ for those that know him, takes us to some of Zermatt’s finest night spots on page 30.

Feisty lady, Vikki Little, our gastronomic guide for the week, takes us to the Mont Cervin for dinner with Karin Kunz on page 26.

OceanStyle’s Laura Hodd swaps super yachting for the slopes to rediscover Zermatt. See Pages 24 and 28 for ski and spa perfection.

Chris Bevan, our most critical critic, tackles the red runs into Italy and reports on the guiding skills of the team at Stoked on page 16.

TRAVEL 2011 5


The Exculsive Magazine For

f t l i o p S

Lansdown Place

The Ski region around Zermatt is on a vast scale. There are 29 peaks over 4000m and as they’re the highest peaks in Europe, you’re sure of snow. All three of Zermatt’s ski areas soar to at least 3100m (10,200ft). This translates into excellent snow conditions and long runs to the village (8 to 13km / 5 to 8 mil). Not only are the slopes long, but they are open most of the day! Lifts begin operation at 8-8.20am and do not close until 4.30pm in midwinter, while in April it is possible to still be skiing at 6pm! The longest run is from the Klein Matterhorn into town. At 3820m (12,500ft) the Klein Matterhorn lift is the highest cable car in the world. As a comparison, to stand at the top you are higher than all the highest mountains of Austria and New Zealand. From Klein Matterhorn to Zermatt is thirteen kilometres (8 ml) and 2200 vertical metres (7250 ft) of varied terrain. It makes for one hell of a run. This is one of the highest and longest runs which is consistently open in the world (from

late November to mid April). Take this run and some of Zermatt’s incredible diversity becomes rapidly apparent. Stepping out of a tunnel blasted through the rock, one comes into a vast white glacial world. The panoramic views over much of Switzerland, deep into Italy, even to distant France are astounding. All around lies the eternal white wilderness of the high Alps. Pleasant in sunshine, but freezing in bad weather, the descent begins with coasting over enormous glacial fields, before dropping into steeper mogulled terrain. With Zermatt there is a run for everyone. <<    

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6 TRAVEL 2011

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       

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         

        

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Spoilt for Choice

     

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      

      

                                               

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          

        

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Lansdown Place

In the arms of

s l e g n The A Even though I had poured over the images of Chalet Les Anges for some months, its design took me completely by surprise. Designed by the renowned interior architect Magali de Tscharner and able to accommodate 14 guests, it’s no surprise that the chalet is spread across some 750m2 and over three floors. One of these was mostly dedicated to a wellness centre and relaxation zone clad in Italian marble. Having travelled for most of the day, a champagne reception was just what we needed. Peter Robinson looks at three truly breathtaking chalets in the region. We had arrived in Zermatt after sundown, so hadn’t quite yet had a chance to acclimatise or get our bearings, so we were whisked from the chauffeur drop off point, into an electric taxi and up the hill to Chalet Les Anges by Glen, our chalet manager, in the blink of an eye. As we arrived we were greeted by a delightful reception of champagne and canapés from Anna and began to explore the cavernous Chalet Les Agnes. If you have ever skied with a large group and chosen to share a chalet you will know that things can get awkward and cramped quickly, with 750m2 we were more likely to get lost in the chalet. Chalet Les Agnes is available through Quintessentially travel, the bespoke luxury tour operator and part of the Quintessentially Group. Les Anges comes with a full staff and as with most chalet bookings, everything is included in the booking price. Launched in 2000, Quintessentially’s original offering was a global concierge service that has now grown to a portfolio of 32 sister businesses encompassing property, events, wine, art consultancy and even a chauffeur service. With over 60 offices world-wide, they truly are a global specialist but with a localised approach. Recall if you can, the look on children’s faces when they come down on Christmas morning, to find presents under the tree: my team and our guests were not too dissimilar. When you walk into Les Agnes you are faced with a beautiful open fireplace and grand piano. My instant thought was, ‘what a truly breathtaking grand piano, can anyone play’. Luckily, Jason played like he had spent a year with the London Philharmonic. A dining room and luxurious seating areas set across the third floor make it perfect for both large groups or family gatherings by the fire. Behind a flush set wooden door by the piano was the TV nook with flat screen and more electronics than a Kiss concert. I spent more than one night with a bottle of red in the nook I can tell you. Shortly after we had been shown to our rooms and our bags had been stowed we toured the rest of the chalet. There were no less than seven large twin/double en suite bedrooms spread over two floors with balconies. Six bedrooms

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had a breath-taking Matterhorn view. One of the Chalet’s most impressive features was the wellness area. It included a sauna, hamman/steam room, a relaxation area and a massage room. The relaxation zone was clad in white Italian marble, with further stone masonry outside in the form of a 3 metre square black marble, all year heated plunge pool with massaging jets and underwater lighting.

Chalet Les Anges clearly has it all. Not to mention the food and general dinner setting was some of the finest I have witnessed. John, our chef during the stay, concocted delicacies such as Venison in homemade sloe gin, vichyssoise, pea and mint Risotto, lemon and ginger sorbet, the list goes on. But perhaps seven courses are too much for you, perhaps you’re on a strict diet, this is of course no trouble. The general approach at the chalet was ‘nothing is too much trouble’. From the first class turn down service to the five star food, Chalet Les Agnes is still a fairly recent addition to the Quintessentially portfolio, but one that is already booked out until early February.

Quintessentially www.quintessentiallyvillas.com Tel: +44 (0)845 269 6673

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Les Anges

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Call me old fashioned but when I imagined a swiss ski lodge, my mind’s eye conjured up nostalgic alpine images in the form of spruce trees, toboggans and chubby cheeked Swiss children eating chocolate. Chalet Grace really embodied what I had hoped for. It was definitely my kind of chalet: warm, inviting and homely, it really was everything I had hoped for. Warm furnishings, chic, sumptuous and luxurious. Peter Robinson indulges at Chalet Grace. Chalet Grace boasts a luxuriously seated cinema, a games room with a pool table and a card table and sleeps 12. Built in 2007 by Sarah Newman, an entrepreneur who appears on the Irish version of Dragons’ Den, Chalet Grace boasts several south-facing balconies capturing the breathtaking scenic views of the Alps. When we arrived at the Chalet I didn’t even have enough time to view it when dropping off our luggage as I was whisked down into the town to meet with the team at zai. When I arrived back later that evening, weary and bruised from a day on the piste, I was glad to see everyone had settled in like they had always been there. The stylish and comfortable open-plan lounge features a French stone open fire-place and a discreet bar area, opening up to a large adjoining outside living space with loungers, tables and chairs. The uninterrupted views from the picture windows are unrivalled. The chalet package includes champagne receptions, daily tea, magnificent dinners and carefully selected house wines, an open spirit bar and more. The chalet is run by the team at Elysian Collection, a luxury ski chalet company operating in Klosters as-well as Zermatt. Every Elysian Collection chalet has it’s own chalet manager/concierge and professional chef as well as a team of experienced staff. I was impressed to see that once their staff are selected to work for Elysian Collection, they’re sent to Jane Urquhart at the London Academy for more training to meet an exceptionally high standard. I find though that its the little touches that really make a great trip, a lifelong memory. On the evening of our first night at Grace we were faced with a formal dinner at the Mont Cervin, this meant slipping out of our ski gear and into something a lot smarter. The team at the Chalet already knew this and had asked the group if they would need anything pressed. The following morning I was due out to a meeting at 0900hrs and due to a late awakening I didn’t know if I would have time for breakfast. Greg, like a den mother, assured me that I would need something to eat and kindly prepared a cheese and ham croissant for me to take on the trip. Their techical pièce de résistance however was bloody impressive. Later that night myself and a small band of dedicated cohorts had decided to watch a snowboarding video called ‘the art of flight’. The 60inch Pioneer and Bose sound system was a serious piece of kit. Therefore we saw no reason we wouldn’t be able to re-engineer the system with a lap top. Eventually we managed to wire a Blackberry into the TV and sound separately via a laptop. Dull, I’m sure you

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will agree but fuelled by some truly fantastic local red wine, we were literally on a mission. The following night, as we sat down to a fine meal of Moroccan inspired dishes, the chalet Grace team had, unbeknownst to us, rigged a projector up at the head of the table projecting the very same film on the wall above the table. Evidently Glenn and Upton had heard about our technical mission the night before and treated us to a seven foot projection during dinner. What truly great guys. This leads me nicely onto the food that evening that our chef, Murray Slinn, had produced, a veritable cacophony of fine Moroccan dishes,

ranging from Chicken B’stilla to spiced tomato soup with seven seed bread, roasted rack of lamb with minted couscous & cucumber raita. We started the meal with canapés of sushi, tempura prawns and vegetable frittatas, which was because a member of the team, Glenn, had been asked by the chalet manager, Greg, what he thought the team might enjoy that night, he suggested lobster. I will add that both Glen and Greg are Australian so I will forgive them the sense of humour. Sure enough, the chef decided that fish was the dish of the day and so the sushi starter was our Amuse Bouche. Once again, the little things make all the difference. For me, Chalet Grace was everything I wanted, styled impeccably, with everything you expect from a top tier chalet; fine wine, entertainment and a truly muscle mellowing hot tub. The staff were exceptional; they assessed us during the first day and then adjusted their demeanour to suit ours so that it became a lovely environment for all the guests during our stay. Seriously on-form.

Elysian Collection www.elysiancollection.com Tel: +41 325 123 833


Chalet Grace

Good

Grace

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Some people call me

Maurice

Reached by a private funicular railway through the mountain, and located in the exclusive Petit Village area of Zermatt with outstanding views of the Matterhorn, Chalet Maurice is one of the rare free-standing properties available to rent. The Sunnegga lift is only three minutes away and the centre of town a further two minutes by electric taxi. Peter Robinson tours another beautiful Elysian property. This property, designed by renowned architect Magali de Tscharner, was built in December 2008, and is filled with sumptuous fabrics and rich wood in palates of charcoal grey, cream and white, all combining to form a luxurious and chic alpine retreat. The open plan living area and dining room create a feeling of comfort and light, whilst also presenting a fabulous space for entertaining. Large south-facing balconies extend from each floor, offering the perfect spot to recline with a novel or survey the breathtaking views with a glass of chilled champagne. The chalet sleeps 12 guests in five good sized ensuite bedrooms

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spread over three floors, and a master suite that spans the entire top floor and features fabulous panoramic views. The modern interior is complemented by all the essential facilities needed to ease weary muscles and revitalise spirits for the evening. Enjoy a variety of beauty treatments in the massage room, cleanse spirits in


Chalet ChaletMaurice Maurice

the sauna, or experience a rush of fresh air on your face whilst submerged in the steamy bubbles of the outdoor hot tub. To ensure no unnecessary energy is used when off the slopes, a lift provides access to all levels. Waking up to the sight of the morning sun warming the Matterhorn, mixed with exemplary service, is one of the things that make a trip to Zermatt very special and why I would recommend Elysian to all our readers.

Elysian Col www.elysia

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lection

ncollection .com Tel: +41 325 123 833

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Stoked

Lansdown Place

Let’s get

When I was looking for the constituent parts of our on-piste review, we kept being told that if we were truly looking for outstanding guides/, ski and snowboard lessons, hire and boot fitting, there was only one choice and all from one company, Stoked. Having been on the mountain since the early 90s, they have a clear prestige that ranks the Meier brothers that run Stoked above all others. Christian, Jürg and Michael have pioneered the one stop shop approach on the mountain whilst maintaining first class service and high quality products. I was told we would be in good hands working with them and they were a tour de force. Glenn Holmes and Chris Bevan take to the slopes for a trip to Italy with Stoked guide Richard Seary, Paul Farrow and myself take some intensive lessons with Stoked instructor Karen Ogg and Jason Shankey heads to the boot room with Micheal Meier for some fancy foot work. Glenn Holmes on Boarding the mountain As a seasoned boarder I was ‘stoked’ to be invited to experience Zermatt with the team from Landsdown Place Magazine and as the only boarder amongst skiers on this trip, I knew I would have my work cut out for me. After spending many seasons boarding around the globe, I had my reservations about Zermatt and the piste conditions so early in the season but after a little research, I realised that Zermatt

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is very snow sure due to its high altitude and glaciers offering year round skiing and snowboarding. The winter season is one of the longest in Europe, starting in early November and finishing in mid May. I also had reservations about Zermatt being a skier’s paradise and a boarder’s nightmare, as I have found many resorts are designed for skiers with pistes groomed steep and ending with long flat trails, leaving us tray riders in for an

www.lansdownplace.co.uk


Stoked

extremely long walk before reaching the next decent. Fortunately I was pleasantly surprised with not only the amount of snow and piste conditions so early in the season but also the structure of the runs which were excellent for boarding. On our first day we were joined by our guide Richard and having never had a guide before, this is now something I would highly recommend. Having a local at your disposal means you get to carve the best runs on the mountain without wasting

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

any time trying to find them. Richard also knew where the snow conditions were best and so after a leisurely red to get our legs in, we were taken to the highest point in Zermatt to make our way over to Italy for lunch. Descending from a breathtaking height peaking at 14,691 feet, the skiing and snowboarding terrain consisted of long well groomed fast carving trails which for a boarder I found absolute bliss. Although Zermatt had had no snow fall for two weeks, the pistes were maintained to a extremely high standard and although a little hard, I found perfect harmony riding a 154 cm team edition carbon fibre board. The run to Italy was not only magical but one that I would highly recommend, if not only for the shear pleasure of telling colleagues back at the office that you have just skied to Italy for lunch and seeing the envy form on their face. As itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s currency is euros, you do get a lot more for your money. Food at our restaurant was rustic, delicious and reasonably priced at around 18 euros for a main and donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t worry if you only have Swiss Franks as theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re accepted too. The runs to Italy were magnificent and in my opinion had the best snow on the mountain at the time, with most pistes being on the scale of the M5. With full stomachs and a reasonable distance to cover we left Cervinia and had a not so leisurely run back to Zermatt, Richard our guide had the stamina of an athlete and knew the mountain like the back of his hand, stopping only momentarily to give the skiers useful tips to improve their technique and share local >>

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knowledge. He managed the group as a whole, knew his game and pushed us to ski and board harder than we ever had, without going beyond our limitations . The mountain was ours, we were Kings, carving our way over perfectly groomed wide expanses of snow in November while the Matterhorn watched over us with an impressive gaze. And so the question remains, as a boarder who has experienced some of the best resorts this world has to offer, “would I recommend Zermatt as a top ski and board destination?” My answer is simple. Most definitely!!!!!!

Chris Bevan on Skiing the mountain Zermatt is a great resort, whatever your level of skiing ability and experience, and is particularly good for intermediate skiers. There is an extensive network of interesting red runs and wide blue runs. The beginner area is not large, however due to the lack of snow on lower runs, we couldn’t assess if there were other suitable beginner areas. We went at a time when almost all of Europe had no snow, yet higher up the slopes and on the glacier in Zermatt there was plenty to ski and board on; one of the many benefits of skiing in Zermatt. The whole area of the Matterhorn ski paradise has an excellent network of well-pisted runs, and with an international ski pass skiing in Italy is available. You can easily ski over to Italy, which has a range of good quality restaurants, offering value for money and great views. We had an excellent ski guide from Stoked, which not only helped us to explore

16 TRAVEL 2011

the mountain, but also meant that we could queue jump and proved very helpful with local knowledge and booking restaurants for lunch. We booked our ski guide for the first day, which was perfect as it enabled us to start to get to know the area at the start of the trip, so we spent less time later in the week wondering where to ski. Stoked also provided ski guides, lessons for all levels and ski equipment, all under one roof, which was perfect for our mixed group. Skiing with the view of the Matterhorn was a unique and special experience. For those who ski later in the season, when there will certainly be more snow, there are a number of runs which take you right down in to the village and the après ski it has to offer.

Stoked VIP Guiding Tel: +41(0)27 967 70 20 www.stoked.ch

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Stoked

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Peter Robinson on learning the slopes

It was only as I ascended the mountain that I was told “oh yes, you will find it hard to learn to ski as an adult”. It seems like if you’re not thrown into the north sea strapped to a mountain bike atop a car you have no chance in life. Everything, it seems, is easier to learn as a child and of course that stands to reason. I however had a secret weapon, Karen Ogg from the Stoked Ski School. Myself and my class members for the day, Paul and Adam, (close to a biblical story but not quite) were chomping at the bit to head up the mountain but first we needed to grasp the basics. Having surfed and ice skated this all seemed like a simple learning curve to grasp. Knees bent, lean forward, plough if in doubt. Myself and Paul grasped this I feel somewhat quicker than Adam, who after five laps of the Apres Ski Bar was about ready for lunch. Karen had taught us the basics, speed control, balance and most importantly how to fall. I can’t say that I have ever considered myself to be extremely academic, i do however have a knack for retaining information. “Have you done this before”, Karen >>

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asked me, “no, never”, “not even on a dry slope”, “no”. I appeared to have mastered the basics and i was intent to find out if Karen was just trying to keep morale high but she assured me that I clearly had a gift for skiing. Music to my ears. After lunch Paul and I continued to try the 40 metre route we had been told we weren’t to deviate from and for good reason, how do you turn?. After seven hours we clearly were shattered and it was time to call it a day, que the ice packs, champagne and hot tub. The following day, however, after meeting Karen at the Ski Lift and a quick check that we had remembered the lessons from the day before, we were on the T lift and onto a blue run. I can only liken the feeling of being let loose on the mountain as passing your driving test and being allowed to drive on your own. Having gone around in circles the morning before we were dying to get out on the slopes and cause havoc. As we approached the lift a kind American gentleman commented on our bambi-esque status: “If you can’t hack it down here, you shouldn’t go up there”. Well, suffice to say for once I was silent. I didn’t quite know what to say or do, knowing of course that any lunge would result in

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y r e p p i l S

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Slop es

Stoked

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me face down in the snow. For the time being, the yank had silenced us. As Paul and I struggled onto the T-bar for our ascent we were grinning from ear to ear. Adam, however, having chosen to Apres Ski yesterday afternoon and not practice, was a little behind. He was convinced that it would make no difference. Not head strong at all. As we reached the top of the run and prepared to head down it I could hardly believe that we had made it this far in two days. Thus is the power of the Stoked Scot! Karen was clearly a gifted teacher, to teach three guys in the their twenties who had probably drunk a wee dram too much the night before their first lesson was pretty exceptional and we were on a hlue run for breakfast. It did, however, take us a little longer than usual as we were waiting for Adam to slowly make his way down with Karen and so stopped ever few hundred metres for him to catch up. On the following run Karen explained that we were doing exceptionally well and had started to carve naturally. After a brief but essential carb lunch of potato gratin, fried eggs and bacon, Paul and I headed back to the blue run for a final test to ensure we were able to do this without our bonnie instructor. Success; a complete run, down the mountain with no broken bones and I don’t think even one fall. This of course excludes the first attempt when we were half way up the slope on the T-Bar and for some reason both fell off. Luckily on the slope and not a desolate area off piste. Either way, I felt I was ready for more. Jason and Glenn assured me that the red run accessed via the chair lift wasn’t really that difficult and that I would be fine. I’m fairly sure of my limits most of the time and not

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Stoked always to my benefit, so I approached this one with trepidation. I needn’t have worried, the only legitimate fall I had was, as i said, because i was too sure of myself and was a fall from around 30mph to zero. With no bones broken but a refreshing face full of snow, I made my way down the run with white knuckles but safe in the knowledge that Karen at Stoked had fully prepared us for any trials and tribulations we may face that week. The team at Stoked offer private and group lessons, whether you’re in a baby grow or have been skiing for years and are looking to work on some of those bad habits. They were the first and only school in Zermatt to make it compulsory to wear a helmet and since they were established in 1994 all instructors are trained by one of the following; Swiss Snowsports, BASI, Schweizer Snowboardschulungsverband or another accredited education-association. If you’re looking for a top-notch school for beginners or experienced skiers, the Stoked Ski and Snowboard School has it all.

Stoked SKI and SNOWBOARD School Tel: +41(0)27 967 7020 www.stoked.ch

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Jason Shankey, “if the shoe fits”.

The annual ski trip is always my favourite trip of the year. Being a ‘winter person’, I’ve always put a lot of thought into the gear I bring with me. It’s mainly because you have to be prepared for both heat and snow, and because skiing is quite a cool pastime, there’s a lot of stuff to get fitted and matched. I invested in my own skis and boots three seasons ago so I didn’t have to use hired ones, and whilst they’ve been up to the mark on most occasions, I did notice at times that they seemed to be cutting off the blood supply to my feet and causing a lot of pain when I was skiing hard (and believe me, that’s not a nice feeling). So, during our trip to Zermatt, I was introduced to Michael from the Stoked Ski Shop. After leaving the Swiss Alps he moved to Fulham, London making custom-made ski boots for sports lovers and people who take the fitting of boots very seriously, Michael is now back in Zermatt and I was assured that he could help my boots fit like a dream, utilising custom made insoles. Given the pain I had been in the days before, I thought I would give it a try. I had nothing to lose and he told me the process would take just over an hour. I turned up for the fitting at 9am and was taken to the fitting area at the back of the shop. It was full of specialised, scientific equipment, designed to make the perfect insole. The process began with me standing on a pressure pad which was linked to a computer. On the screen was a depiction of the pressure each area of my foot was putting on to the ground. In my case, it was clear to see that most of my body weight was being put through my left heel and my centre of gravity was to the left of centre. Basically, I had an uneven posture which Michael would be helping to correct with my new insoles. We then moved over to the seating area where Michael showed me the various

n i g the t t e S

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layers of support he would be using to build the insoles up. They consisted of a selection of different fabrics and bonding which, when coupled with my imprint and heated up in the vacuum forming machine, would make up the perfect fit for my feet. My feet were then placed in a device which takes an imprint of them. It was a kind of rubber material which was inflated and contracted using compressed air. Once the imprint was taken, air was removed from the device so that the rubber could ‘remember’ the exact shape of my soles. At this point, the hot insoles were removed from the heated bonding machine and placed on the rubber imprints. I was then asked to stand on the insoles whilst my feet bedded in to the pliable fabric. Triangular wooden wedges were then placed under my toes to compensate for my posture. After a few minutes, the insoles had cooled and I was able to take a seat. Michael then took the finished insoles to a machining room where he lathed the insoles to the shape of my boot inners. Michael also told me the correct way to do up my boot straps to ease pain, and he made a few adjustments to my ski boots to aid my posture. It was coming together nicely. They were a perfect fit and we headed uptown to the gondola where I would be able to test them out. I was unsure as to how I would review the insoles. Because of the fact they were a perfect fit meant there was very little to say about them (which I suppose is the best compliment I could give). They were very comfortable and even at high speeds with my boots really tight (in the right places), I didn’t suffer any pain or blood loss to my toes. I also felt a little more confident and pushed the skis harder than I normally do. Prices for the service vary depending on whether or not Stoked provide you with new boots. My verdict? Yes, I’d recommend it. Comfortable boots mean a lot to you when you’re skiing up to 40 hours in a week. Coupled to the fact that I felt I was able to push the skis harder means I’d give Stoked’s insole service a five out of five.

n a St dard


Stoked

ts o o b e l b ta o you r o mf lot t kiing o C n a s e r a â&#x20AC;&#x2122; me n you hours whe o 40 t p k. e u e w a n i

d Fitting Stoked Boot 67 70 20 Tel: +41(0)27 9 www.stoked.ch

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a passion for Per

The Exculsive Magazine For

Lansdown Place

Perfection is, broadly, a state of completeness and flawlessness. Zai produces a range of top-tier ski products to complement its revolutionary ski range. They follow no trend, no tradition and having worked with both Hubolt and Bentley they’re clearly on the right track. If the Bugatti Veyron is the pinnacle of automotive engineering, then we might have just found our eureka moment for the ski industry. Laura Hodd and Peter Robinson report.

The Romansh word “zai” is a term used in the mountainous region of canton Graubünden in southeastern Switzerland, meaning tough or resistant. Zai was founded in 2004 by former Saloman designer Simon Jacomet, who now works in collaboration with entrepreneurs Benedikt Germanier and Patrick Markus Aisher. When I met Benedikt and first saw the Testa, Nezza and Laisa skis I could have been forgiven for thinking they had been designedfor a Manhattan art gallery. Carbon fibres, bonded cedarwood slats, Dyneema®, Nano high-speed racing surfacing, HRC38 steel edges. I’m a fan of cutting edge engineering as much as the next man but the team at zai is going for platinum. There is evidently no compromise at zai when it comes to material and design. Zai was the first manufacturer to employ a stone core in production, a revolution in itself. Wrapped in carbon fibre to allow it to flex without breaking, the stone produces an impressive

24 TRAVEL 2011

dampening effect and opens up a whole new dimension in effortless smoothness and agility. Where does a company go from here? Well, team up with the leaders in the automotive luxury field, que Dr. Paefgen, CEO of Bentley. Having visited the zai manufacturing plant, a partnership was born. Zaiìra®, the novel composite material used in the skis, was originally created for use in the latest generation of aircraft. It contains carbon fibres that are used on the skis’ top layer, in combination with natural rubber in the central part, as well as a carbon fabric in composition with chrome steel in the torsion part and long carbon fibre Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites (LFRTP). This combination of technology and performance give maximum performance with minimum weight as well as the ability to lie firmly and reliably in the snow, whatever its condition. As one of the least experienced skiers of the team I begrudgingly asked one of the more skilled team members if they would mind trialing the zai ‘Testa’ skis. Over to Laura Hodd. >>


rfection

I picked up the classic zai ski from the new Stooked ski shop opposite the infamous Hotel Post. The Testa has been refreshed with walnut veneer, stainless-steel upper edges and carbon fibre innovations deep within. With that, off I went up Klein proudly holding a pair of skis valued at that of a small family car. I was informed that they epitomise zaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interpretation of carving: not limiting me to short radii, but enabling a variation of curve position and speed. Messing around on a red, I found the curve stability of the Testa remarkable. The skiing was limited due to the lack of snow so early this season, but the fun I had playing with these skis was not!. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very versatile in turn radius and quick edge-to-edge. The Testa ski

ZAI

has chosen performance over accessibility and is not designed for beginners in my opinion. The Testa is none the less an excellent ski for the slopes, designed for athletic skiers who already have good technical skills and are seeking to improve their performance. I only wish I could have had a chance to review more of the range, but the season is still young and zai are already running at peak performance.

zai www.zai.ch

Tel: +41 81 936 44 55 TRAVEL 2011 25


The Exculsive Magazine For

Lansdown Place

t in

Hospitality at its

Even before we reached the 5 star Mont Cervin Palace we knew we were in for a special evening. Its reputation as the finest hotel in Zermatt is well deserved; from pre-dinner drinks at the start of the evening to coffee at the end of our meal, the quality of food, surroundings and service was second to none. Vikki Little spends an evening at the Le Cervin Grill.

From the outside, the striking building promises much, and it doesn’t disappoint. Once inside, the décor is welcoming and stylish, offering a choice of bars and restaurants, in addition to its beautifully appointed and recently refurbished 165 bedrooms and suites, some of which enjoy views of the Matterhorn through floor to ceiling windows and accommodation on two levels.

We enjoyed dinner in Grill Le Cervin, which serves an extensive menu of dishes from locally-sourced produce and wood-fired grills during lunchtimes and evenings in a relaxed yet stylish atmosphere. Once again, the service was exceptional, and our questions on the food and wine answered expertly. The wine list was a joy, as were the white and red wines we chose. You could say that we were spoilt for choice.

We began our evening with pre-dinner drinks in Salon Davidoff, which provided the ideal surroundings to enjoy a relaxed conversation with friends prior to dinner. The service was first rate and the choice of drinks extensive.

We chose a variety of starters and main courses, including delicious locally-sourced fish, lamb, venison and vegetarian dishes and no-one was disappointed with their choice. Each evening there is a meat dish of the day, as well as a wonderful choice of fresh fish and vegetarian dishes. The trio of salmon starter proved very popular in our group and tasted as delicious as it looked, as did the mouth-watering ravioli and the steak tartare.

Before dinner, we were treated to a tour of several recently refurbished rooms, suites and apartments, all of which featured wonderful views, stylish furnishings and relaxing surroundings. For those holidaying with children, Mont Cervin Palace’s apartments within the hotel offer the perfect family accommodation; with spacious bedrooms with super kingsize beds, sumptuous sofas and stylish bathrooms. Canine friends are also very welcome, with doggy day care available while you’re on the pistes. After our tour of the hotel, we took in the rather swish Rendevous Bar, with its striking saloon bar and piano in the corner; ideal for relaxing before or after dinner in one of Mont Cervin Palace’s two acclaimed restaurants. Situated on the fourth floor of the hotel, Ristorante Capri offers delightful Mediterranean dishes coupled with stunning views and has just been awarded a Michelin star again. This very special restaurant serves wonderful food in a beautiful setting; perfect for a romantic dinner for two or a special occasion.

26 TRAVEL 2011


Mont Cervin Palace

Main courses of lamb cutlets were cooked to perfection and accompanied by a choice of potato dishes and vegetables. The venison melted in the mouth and there was much sharing of each others dishes to make sure no-one missed out. For those who still had room, desert was another delicious course and the cheese board was simply the most impressive I have ever seen (and I’ve enjoyed some great cheese boards!). The mustard marmalade was exquisite and quite the perfect accompaniment to cheese and certainly one of the most memorable flavours of the meal. Our evening at Mont Cervin Palace was wonderful, and is still being referred to during our many ‘Zermatt’ reminiscing conversations. Nothing is too much trouble at Mont Cervin Palace, where the service is impeccable and unobtrusive, the food and wine simply delicious and the surroundings worthy of its 5 stars.

lace Mont Cervin Pa tt.ch www.palacezerma Tel: +41 27 966 88 88

TRAVEL 2011 27


Lansdown Place

a p S The Exculsive Magazine For

Seekers

If there was one thing the team could have done with during the trip it would have been a full body massage. If you think the hot tubs and saunas in the chalets are for partying, think again, they’re for soaking those aching muscles. If you’re in the region and looking for a day of rejuvenation and relaxation, then look no further, Laura Hodd spends the day at the Mont Cervin Palace, Spa and Wellness Centre.

Following an excellent, if not raucous night at Chalet Les Anges, and a hard day’s skiing, I felt grateful to be a guest at the Mont Cervin Spa and Wellness Centre. I was greeted by a friendly and helpful receptionist who showed me around the pool area, pointing out the complementary teas and cold drinks. We went down to a modern steam room and sauna area – with both ladies and mens only areas. Back upstairs, I rather liked the look of the indoor pool that leads out through an opening to a whirlpool situated outdoors, with views of the mountains. Magical. Once out of my ski clothes and settled into my robe I made my way to the pool to relax. My Kindle failed to hold my attention for long. As I flicked through the MCP beauty spa menu, I learnt that my pending treatment was a combination of various massage techniques and hot herbal stamps that would activate my skin’s self healing powers and help me to relax…I couldn’t wait! Other treatments of note include ‘The Serial Suite’, an alpine herbal bath and body peel, an alternative sauna with significantly higher air humidity, as well as facial treatments for both men and women. Most treatments can be enjoyed side by side with someone, for those on a romantic break. Before I got lost in all the potential treatments, I was taken upstairs to the spa for my Swiss Alpine Well-Being Ritual

28 TRAVEL 2011

Massage. Anastasia greeted me at reception and offered me a drink before taking me to a spacious treatment room; imaginatively decorated with an origami towel masterpiece on the massage table. The room seemed to further echo the philosophy of the spa menu – clean, simple and professional. It’s the details that reinforce this at every juncture. As I placed my head down through the massage table hole, my eyes were greeted by a delicate floral arrangement on the floor beneath. It seemed that every detail had been carefully considered to ensure my serene state. The treatment was one of the most relaxing experiences I have ever had (and I am a big fan of spa treatments so I consider my opinion to be of merit). The general spa ambiance and professionalism of Anastasia, combined with an excellent massage and innovative and well-executed techniques left me feeling a million dollars. You can either enjoy the pool and wellness area and spa as a guest at the Mont Cervin Palace, or like me indulge in a spa package during your stay in Zermatt. There is also a well-equipped, modern gym for those so inclined.

Mont Cervin Palace www.palacezermatt.ch Tel: +41 27 966 88 88


Bang & Olufsen of Bristol, 69 Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1QL. Tel. 0117 922 7522 Bang & Olufsen of Truro, Chiverton Cross, Truro, TR4 8HS. Tel. 01872 561558


Après

Lansdown Place

The art of the The Exculsive Magazine For

Ask anyone who’s been on a snowsports holiday what makes a good trip, and most of them will tell you that the activities off the piste are almost as important as what happens during the day! Everyone enjoys a warm gluwein, Chartreuse or demi-pression after a hard day on the mountain, Paul Farrow guides us through Zermatt.

After finally getting to grips with walking in ski boots, we hobbled our way from the lift to a little bar situated just off the high street, near the church. ‘The Bubble’ is an intimate venue that’s run by three friends - Andreas, ‘Pocket’ and Glenn - all of whom share a passion for skiing and have all received sponsorship deals for their endeavours. I got chatting to Andreas, a Swedish telemark skier who jumped onto a bicycle one sunny day in 2002 and cycled the entire distance from his hometown of Stockholm to Zermatt, intending to stay for just one season. Needless to say, having fallen in love with its unparalleled charm, Andreas has remained in Zermatt ever since. As my compatriots and I guzzled down ice-cold beer, Andreas explained to me that he had previously worked at the infamous Hennu Stall, located at the bottom of the run down to town from Furi and one of the liveliest local haunts in Zermatt. Having learnt the fine art of the après- over a decade, Andreas teamed up with Pocket and Glenn to open The Bubble, which – whilst still in its infancy - has already gained a reputation as one of the coolest bars in Zermatt, thanks largely to the popularity of the guys that run it.

30 TRAVEL 2011

After spending what seemed like four lifetimes trying to remove my ski boots, I finally kicked-back and was able to soak in the atmosphere. The Bubble has a very homely feel to it. In fact, when I went down to the bathroom and began perusing the photographs on the wall, I came across several shots of my own personal friend! It transpired that he and Andreas have been friends for many years after he, too, had bid farewell to his hometown in search of adventure. The Bubble has plenty to offer in terms of food and drink, with a menu that consists of hearty burgers and rich curries for those made ravenous by a day spent in the great outdoors. Alternatively, visitors are welcome to sample from a variety of starters and tapas dishes, which are a speciality of the house. As well as serving excellent food, The Bubble also has a large selection of beverages. I suggest you sit back, kick off your boots and get a round of beers and a ‘Bubblicious’ cocktail shooter.

The Bubble

www.zermattbubble.com Tel: +41 (0) 78 798 75 58


The Bubble

Andreas

Mark

Glenn

TRAVEL 2011 31


The Exculsive Magazine For

Lansdown Place

Snowboat After several pints of lager and some cheeky shooters, we drifted out of the Bubble and into the early evening light in search of an après-après-ski. Because we had arrived in Zermatt pre-season, this proved more difficult than you might expect. Fortunately though, we had made contact with the guys at ‘The Snowboat’, who had agreed to open-up their bar just for us!

32 TRAVEL 2011


Snowboat

From the moment we stepped inside, it was clear that the Snowboat is a venue that oozes charm and sophistication. Modelled on an actual boat - complete with sundeck and bow - the architecture of the Snowboat is as intriguing as it is aesthetically alluring, and walking in is like being transported to another time and place. Upstairs in the bar area, we were greeted by Bart, a Dutch bartender who had come to Zermatt two seasons ago, fallen in love with it and never left. A theme that was beginning to develop… After being shown around the lower deck, which contained the restaurant, complete with a fish tank and other marine paraphernalia, we sat down to talk about The Snowboat’s history. Bart informed us that the innovative design had come from the pen of Heinz Julen, an artist and architect who is a native to the hills of Zermatt. Heinz is also responsible for the conception and design of many other notable attractions, such as the Vernissage and the Rüsterei.

Snowboat

www.snowboat.ch Tel: +41 27 967 43 33

We sat down at the upper deck bar and Bart gave us a demonstration of the excellent service at the Snowboat by treating us to some cocktails. I started with a variation on the traditional Long Island Ice Tea, which contained Blue Curacao and lemonade (as opposed to coke; known as the Atlantic Iced Tea). Then we moved onto some drinks you would struggle to find elsewhere, such as the Swiss Martini, which was vermouth flavoured with Swiss cheese! Bart was an excellent host and all of the drinks he created were exquisitely balanced and perfect representations of the individuality of the bar. After an evening of cocktails and laughs it was time to head home. If I had had my way, we would have stayed in either bar for the duration of the evening. However, the slopes were calling, and whilst I was growing more proficient each day, having a hangover is not conducive to efficient snow ploughing. So, the next day I awoke, fresh as a daisy, images from last night dancing through my mind, eagerly anticipating my next après-ski.

TRAVEL 2011 33


The Exculsive Magazine For

Lansdown Place

A to B

Far from

Whilst i greatly admire the Swiss initiative to keep their beautiful country smog and pollution-free, the prospect of three changes post landing didn’t seem like a fun prospect for myself and the team. A coach transfer or train is a great idea when travelling solo or with a friend but with some eight people and an excess baggage bill running into the hundreds, no one relished a potential bus journey to Zermatt. Luckily there is one company on the mountain that has been getting Zermatt’s well-healed holiday makers to the slopes since 1972. You cant argue with heritage.

Airport transfers, even saying it out-loud fills me with dread. The prospect of taking my family or a group of clients from Geneva to Zermatt via a coach or rail link was the last thing I wanted after having got everyone there in one piece. A holiday is about switching off from the trivial things in life. Let’s face it, if you’re heading to Zermatt for a break then you will know about the general price tag of things, so ease and accessibility are evidently more important than price. As I weaved my airport trolly laden with baggage towards the arrival area i could already see our name being held aloft on card like a commandment, freshly scribed. When choosing your airport transfer company it needs to be done with care. You want a reputable company that will lift your stress and strains away from your the minute you shake the drivers hand, in this case, ours was Jacob. The firm Alphubel was founded in 1972 in Täsch near Zermatt. Out of respect to the deep roots of the founding family Lauber to this region, they have named the company after the mountain Alphubel that sits above the idyllic village of Täsch. In the 2nd generation the company became one of the most modern transfer and limousine businesses, which offers a variety of services centred around the needs and expectations of the traveller.

34 TRAVEL 2011

When we boarded our Mercedes people carrier and sunk into the leather seats we were all about ready for a power nap. Once the inevitable was over, spirits were high and there were several rest stops on our three hour drive to Zermatt. One of the main perks of an airport transfer by car to the region, is the company’s ability to get you a stones throw to your lodge. General motorists can drive as far as Täsch. The last 7 kilometres must be travelled by train (sFr 7.40 per person one way) or by taxi (sFr 8.per person one way, minimum charge sFr 30.-). When you travel with Alphubel however, you are allowed to drive right into the town before transferring, which cuts out a significant chunk of time. You’ll know as well as I do, the stressful part of taking a holiday or break is the travel aspect, especially with a family and you want to make the transfers as painless as possible and get to your destination as fast as possible. Alphubel were second to none and we couldn’t have asked for a smoother ride. The company currently has a fleet of vehicles from the Mercedes S500 for 3 passengers to the Mercedes Sprinter 316 for up to 11. They also offer car rental, city transfers and park and ride services to Zermatt. Could you ask for more?

Alphubel

www.alphubel.ch Tel: +41 27 967 15 50


Homeward

Will travel

Bound

Most travellers take the train from the airports in Geneva or Zürich to Zermatt, which is by far the most enjoyable way to reach this car-free village. As someone who rarely uses the train in the UK, let alone abroad, I was a little worried that my trip back to Geneva Airport was going to be tiring and stressful. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The journey was both straightforward and relaxing, thanks to the efficiency of the Swiss Rail network and the stunning views of the Swiss Alps. Vikki Little goes public.

Trains are fast, clean, reliable and frequent from both Geneva and Zürich Airports, which take four hours and five hours respectively to reach Zermatt. Hourly rail connections run to Zermatt directly from Geneva and Zürich airports, with an easy change at either Brig or Visp. Both airports have the Swiss rail network integrated into them, making it possible to be on a train to Zermatt in less than hour after landing. I travelled from Zermatt to Geneva Airport, which took just over four hours, including an hour and ten minutes on the mountain train to Visp, where I changed train, and three hours straight to Geneva Airport. The journey to and from Zermatt is very scenic and was a memorable part of the trip, taking in lakes and mountains along the route. My one way ticket cost CHF95 and a return ticket is

approximately CHF175. You have the option to book first class, although there isn’t a huge amount of difference and if you would prefer a little more space and comfort I would simply suggest a leisurely meal in the buffet car. I was able to work during the journey, in between admiring the views, helped by a useful powerpoint next to my seat. The only difficulty I had during the whole journey was struggling on and off trains with a large bag of heavy ski gear, although there was always a charming man there to help. Most people would be travelling in groups, so this wouldn’t pose a problem to many travellers. When I arrived at Geneva Airport I simply got off the train and on to an elevator straight to the flight check-in desks; it couldn’t be simpler. As transfers to ski resorts go (and I’ve experienced a few), this was one of the easiest and most enjoyable, which is exactly what you want TRAVEL 2011 35 from a journey to a ski destination.


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Zermatt Travel Supplement  

There are many places to choose from when considering a ski review. Very few have the reputation that Zermatt has and as the slopes are the...

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