With high ex­pec­ta­tions

A stay at Switzer­land’s Ho­tel Weis­shorn takes skiers back to the Vic­to­rian era

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Northern Hemisphere Ski Holidays - LES­LIE WOIT

IN near white-out con­di­tions our Ski-Doo driver, Ru­dolph, steers cau­tiously along an in­vis­i­ble path.

It is snow­ing buck­ets, but he still pauses in­ter­mit­tently to point out, on our left, the sculp­tures of the planet Nep­tune and, just around the bend, Uranus, that lie along the space-themed trail, and to­wards the sparkling as­sort­ment of Switzer­land’s fa­mous ‘ ‘ four thou­sanders’’ (moun­tains higher than 4000m) that loom around us.

It may feel like we’re set­ting off for outer space, but I am in fact about to travel back in time. My des­ti­na­tion is the Ho­tel Weis­shorn, a high-Alpine belle-epoque beauty dat­ing from about 1891. With 30 pine-clad bed­rooms, gran­ite stair­ways and an­tique fur­nish­ings that recre­ate the style of the Vic­to­rian era, it’s a des­ti­na­tion in it­self.

For snow lovers, it’s also ide­ally perched above the spec­tac­u­lar and se­ri­ously un­der­pop­u­lated slopes of the Val d’An­niviers ski area two hours east of Geneva. As well as hav­ing 227km of marked pistes, this is a place for amaz­ing off-piste powder ski­ing, ac­ces­si­ble right from the door of the ho­tel.

The jour­ney to this hard-tore­ach ho­tel is also a real ad­ven­ture — the per­fect an­ti­dote to the usual pack­age-hol­i­day coach trans­fer. There’s no road ac­cess, so many guests ar­rive by ran­don­nee (walk­ing up with skins on their skis); oth­ers make the 90-minute j our­ney in good boots or in

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