For Americans who’ve been waiting to go back to Europe to ski, the winter of 2022 is shaping up to be the perfect time. The month of January has long been the sweet spot for such a vacation. The holidays and holiday crowds are gone, and it’s at least a month before the European school vacations begin, bringing lots of families to the slopes. Bookings for European skiing vacations in January are picking up, says Chips Lindenmeyr of Lindenmeyr Travel.
“A fair amount of people are going to Zermatt this year,” Lindenmeyr says. “Quite a lot, in fact. Seeing the Matterhorn is a big attraction. I’ve also got clients who have booked Kitzbuhel in January in order to see the Hahnenkamm Race.
Lindenmeyr not only knows the fabled Swiss resort of Zermatt well and can get rooms during the Hahnenkamm, the most prestigious and exciting FIS Alpine Ski World Cup race. She works with resorts in Italy and France as well, and may know more about organizing a European ski vacation than anyone else in the business.
Celebrating the 35th anniversary of her company, Lindenmeyr has long served as the go-to person for Wall Streeters and others in Manhattan seeking the perfect European ski vacation.
Her real expertise is about crafting the perfect European ski experience. Any conversation with her reveals a remarkable depth of knowledge about hotels, restaurants, ski runs and the best places for après ski. The fact that she knows the hotel managers, a given hotel’s history, the best rooms, when they last renovated and other insider tips makes her an invaluable source for time-pressed American skiers.
While Lindenmeyr works with five-star properties, she also arranges stays at select four-star hotels, in many cases because they offer a better experience. She revisits and inspects them often, and can explain the benefits of traditional resort dining where you receive a buffet breakfast and a three course dinner daily.
Her packages include transportation from arrival cities such as Geneva, Zürich, Venice, and Munich and she also includes an eighth night in a gateway hotel for Americans catching a morning flight on departure day. It’s a smart move that avoids a middle-of-the-night departure from the resort to get to the airport in time for a flight home.
She’s also opinionated. Take Italy as an example. Italian skiing holidays are more popular than ever, yet it when it comes to Dolomites, she doesn’t favor Cortina, the largest and poshest resort in the region.
“The hotel rating system is different in Italy, it’s provincial and not national,” she says. “Cortina is in the Veneto and honestly, there are too many bad hotels in Cortina. So we go to Alta Badia, which has a much more reliable hotel system. I love places like the Hotel Lagacio, a relatively new 24-suite hotel.”
In terms of Covid-19, she notes that everyone must be vaccinated and everyone must have a Covid test minimally 72 hours prior to their departure. We all need to mask-it on Europe’s public transport, in public areas, at concerts, in restaurants, and museums. Switzerland’s not in the EU, but they’re complying with parameters set by the EU.
Where to go in January? Here are three suggestions from Lindenmeyr:
Stay at the four-star Europe Hotel & Spa in Zermatt. Package rates in January start at $2,795 per person and include rail transfers from Zurich Airport to Zermatt; seven nights accommodation in a standard double with bath; buffet breakfast and multi-course dinner daily; six-day adult all-area ‘Zermatt International’ ski pass; and eighth night in a standard double with bath and buffet breakfast in the five-star Hotel Storchen in Zurich.
St Anton, Austria
Stay at the 17-room four star Hotel Garni Dr. Otto Murr. The offer, for $1,885 per person, includes round trip motor coach transfer from Zürich Airport to St Anton; seven nights accommodation in a standard double with bath; daily buffet breakfast; six-day adult all-area ‘Arlberg’ ski pass; and an eighth night at the three-star Hotel Rössli in Zürich with buffet breakfast.
Alta Badia, Italy
Stay at the four-star Hotel Lagacio. The package includes round trip motor coach transfer from Venice to Cortina, then a private transfer to the resort; seven nights’ accommodation in a standard double with bath; buffet breakfast; six-day all-area adult ‘Dolomiti Superski’ ski pass; and an eighth night at Venice’s five-star Hotel Londra Palace in a classic double with bath and buffet breakfast. The cost is $2,350 per person.
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