Andermatt-Sedrun, CH, Jan. 27, 2019

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Andermatt-Sedrun, CH, Jan. 27, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:58 pm

The Natschen ski area on the opposite side of Andermatt from Gemsstock did not draw my interest when I was here in 2013, but there have been big changes since then. Egyptian investor Samib Sawiris has invested $1.5 billion in Andermatt since 2005. In 2013 the 5-star Chedi hotel was barely under construction near the train station and the Natschen base, but now it is open with $1,000 per night rooms. Liz strolled over to the Chedi on Monday and took a few pics.
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But the big news was the construction of probably 7 lifts to connect Andermatt with Sedrun on the other side of the Oberalppass. The road over the pass is closed in winter, leaving Sedrun and Disentis at the end of the valley west of Flims-Laax. However a train connection exists between Andermatt and Sedrun/Disentis (including the apres-ski train James posted about earlier), so many people ski the new circuit in one direction and take the train (included in your lift ticket) on the way back. As yet Sedrun and Disentis are not connected by lift but will be soon via a tram like Arosa/Lenzerheide. For now skiers can take the train both ways to ski Disentis.

Sawiris consulted with local racing legend Bernhard Russi (for whom the black 71 piste at Gemsstock is named) about expanding the skiing, and Russi recommended the sunny and mellower terrain between Andermatt and Sedrun as being more attractive to intermediate skiers than the freeride oriented Gemsstock.
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Weather was predicted to deteriorate Sunday afternoon, so Liz and I got out at 9:30 to check out the new terrain first open in 2017-18. We figured if the weather got too bad we could take the train back.

We took the 2 stage gondola to Gutsch and were greeted by this view as we headed east.
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Here’s the view across the valley of totally shaded Gemsstock.
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Those faces would be the guided lines to the valley floor far skier’s right from the top of Gemsstock: Great skiing I’m sure but you need a blue sky day.

Here’s the view of Schneehuenerstock, above midpoint of the expansion terrain.
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The lift terminals right of the peak are the high point of Andermatt/Sedrun lift service at 8,500 feet vs. 9,700 at the top of Gemsstock.

With weather holding up OK, we took some extra runs here on the #4 chair and the #5 gondola. Pistes were in fine shape but most of the off piste had some wind or slight sun effect. There were a few powder pockets in sheltered east or west exposures.

Here’s the view from Oberalppass up the gondola to Schneehuenerstock.
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As we move farther east, we leave Gemsstock behind and now the view across the valley is of a dam.
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After riding lifts 6 and 8 we are finally at the top of a broad piste above Sedrun.
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Lower down we get a closer view of Sedrun and Disentis.
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Restaurant Sudada and the train station are just steps from the bottom of the 47 piste.

We moved to Sedrun’s upper chair 10 for a couple of laps into a shaded NE facing gully.
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Liz skiing the gully powder:
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I traversed out the left side to the point I took the above picture.

I’m a small figure dead center of this picture on the ridge.
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Here’s the view below me.
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The exit below that powder was a bit more tedious than Liz’ exit skier’s right side of the gully. View back up where we joined piste #45.
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Liz went into Milez to thaw a bit while I took a second gully run more difficult in deteriorating light and then joined her. We decided not to have lunch but to head back at 2PM before weather got worse. We noticed that chair 7 is a real sleeper for 1,500 vertical of nice NE facing wide open off-piste. Unfortunately a lap here was out of the question in flat light, and you never see this terrain skiing from lift 6 to 8 in the other direction on piste #37.

From the Schneehuenerstock gondola you can ski continuously to Unter Stafel for just one more chair ride to reach Andermatt but the #27a piste is very flat. In good weather it’s better to use the #3 chair on the way. From Gutsch we caught a break in the cloud for a smooth run down piste #4 to Natschen. The final descent into Andermatt was a bit more tedious on a winding trail with a fair amount of traffic. I skied 24,800 vertical with some decent powder in that gully by Sedrun. We caught a break that the storm arrived late, not becoming total overcast until 2PM and not snowing until we were done skiing.

On a Sunday I would say the new Andermatt-Sedrun connection has been successful in attracting the desired intermediate skiers who would have little interest in Gemsstock, yet traffic was not excessive so the pistes remained pleasant all day. I’m sure it’s an economic boost for Sedrun and Disentis too. I’m generally critical of heavily sun exposed areas, but the expansion terrain is nearly all over 6,500 feet and we know the Andermatt region is a real snow magnet.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Andermatt-Sedrun, CH, Jan. 27, 2019

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:42 pm

You really hit the jackpot with mostly sunny weather on this trip.
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Re: Andermatt-Sedrun, CH, Jan. 27, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:29 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:You really hit the jackpot with mostly sunny weather on this trip.

Yes the first 9 days of the trip were close to ideal for skiing where we were in eastern Switzerland.
1) A deep and stable snowpack
2) The sunny weather, so no lift closures and good visibility to ski off-piste
3) Cold temperatures and low sun to preserve the snow: even sun exposed pistes and "home runs" to resort level remained packed powder. Off piste powder was still good a week after the last storm in Engelberg.

Not all of this was accidental. #3 above is more likely in January; we had similar weather two years ago though without this year's deep snowpack. And once again we benefited from flexibility in choosing our resorts no more than a week in advance. Conditions during the first part of the trip were not as good at the places closer to our gateway airport Geneva.

The weather became more problematic for the rest of this trip.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10363
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California


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