Disentis is an archetypal Swiss Alpine town, encircled by towering mountains and glacial lakes, with the added bonus of being home to one of Europe’s oldest Benedictine monasteries, the 8th-century St Martin. Until recently, the challenging local terrain has been a closely guarded secret among intrepid freeriders, yet the winds of change are now starting to blow through this sleepy corner of Switzerland.
Disentis boasts 60km of pistes, which are supplemented by the 200km of diverse slopes of the Gotthard Oberalp Arena ski area shared by its neighbours, Sedrun and Andermatt. Sedrun is easily reached from Disentis by a 15-minute scenic train ride over the Oberalp pass, with Andermatt located further along the line. Andermatt is the best known of the three resorts and is about to get a lot more famous, as it emerges this winter after a substantial facelift. The quaint village has been transformed into a luxury resort, with the (ongoing) construction of multiple hotels, restaurants and shops. As part of this transformation, Andermatt’s lift system is being extended and, come next winter, the town will be linked by ski lift to Sedrun, expanding its appeal even further.
With Disentis tipped to become the next big thing, skiers looking for superb off-piste skiing and a refreshingly simple village – a good alternative to Andermatt – should make their way there quickly, before Switzerland’s best secret gets out.