|Scraping knuckles in Switzerland (Switzerland Tourism)|
There are three separate lift areas, which are nicely graded according to ability. For beginners, the Ndtschen and Stvckli chairlifts (accessible from the town) lead to smooth, flat, south-facing terrain. Intermediates will enjoy the Winterhorn, located above the village of Hospental, where a long chairlift and T-bar give access to mid-range and safe off-piste terrain. Not too steep, this area holds the powder well and many of the runs lead back to the village. Gemsstock is a real charge. A two-stage gondola rises 1,600 m (5,249 ft) above the valley floor, giving access to three excellent long black runs, from which pockets of powder, hits, jumps, and couloirs can be reached. The options are endless, but the main runs are the Gletscher, the Gurschenstock, and the Sonnen. Across the other side of the glacier is the Felsental (Cliff Valley), the best-known off-piste area in the valley, but—you have been warned—it is suicidal without a guide.
Though the resort diligently promotes its half-pipe and fun-park, they are neither well-groomed nor in the same class as the rest of the mountain. The fun-park has a few fun boxes scattered around, but not in any cohesive order. The half-pipe has the same chaotic feel. Andermatt is better for freeriders and serious off-piste riders.
There are three long, red runs that are excellent for groomed-trail carving. Alpine boards are used in abundance here.
The Nitty Gritty
Mountain chain: Central Alps (Uris)
Vertical meter range:
1,447 m—2,963 m (4,747—9,721 ft)
Length of season: November—May
Number of lifts: Two cable cars, six drag-lifts, four chairlifts
Snow-making facilities: There is little need, as there is usually too much snow!
Safety: Andermatt probably receives more snow than any other part of Switzerland. For this reason, and because of the steepness of the slopes, it's extremely avalanche prone. There are indicator boards at the mountain base and middle station, with warning lights that should be heeded.
Guides: Contact the local snowboard shop, Snow Limit.
Lifts to avoid: The Gemsstock gondola can be as slow as slush. It tends to leave spasmodically when the resort's not crowded (which is exactly when you want it to leave on time).
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication