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The MacLean family has been putting together World Class adventures for 70 years. Arrowcreek resident Hawley MacLean is the Chief Adventure Planner and along with Jill Savery and their adventure team they create unique trips unlike any others. Hawley and Jill have a chalet in Wengen they purchased last year and they are well versed in the Swiss culture and lifestyle.
MacLean Adventures after a two year hiatus due to COVID, had their annual ski adventure in Switzerland. As you can see, the trip involves a lot more than skiing and there are some exquisite venues.
Hawley, tell me a bit about this trip and some of the special experiences the group enjoyed.
The trip was from March 4th to the 13th and we had 10 people all of whom have traveled on MacLean Adventures in the past. In fact, most had been on every ski trip over the past 25 years. We generally are in the 20 person range for our trips but there was still some impact from COVID.
We began in Zurich for the first day and stayed that evening at the Hotel Storchen in the heart of the city. The next day we traveled by first class rail to Gstaad where we enjoyed six days of skiing, some fantastic meals, and an interesting afternoon with one of the premier paper cutting artists in the world, a traditional art in that region.
Gstaad is known as a popular venue for billionaires and is one of the most exclusive cities in Switzerland. The skiing is extensive as there are three large resorts connected by train and tram with venues serving all abilities and extensive off piste areas as well. On a typical day we meet in the ski room of the hotel at 9:30 in the morning, catch the tram or train depending on where we will ski that day and are on the slopes by 10. We stop for lunch about 12:30 and the swiss ski lunches are spectacular. We have arranged all in advance and our tables and wine await. About 2:00 we are back skiing till 4:30 or so. I averaged 18,000 to 25,000 vertical ft. per day and had a top speed one day of 67mph.
Wow! Does everyone ski at that level?
Some do, but most don’t. Our trips are designed to include skiers of a variety of abilities. We are very social and enjoy the camaraderie of the trip as much as the venues.
I understand you enjoy some special dinners and wines on your trips, tell me about Gstaad.
Here are a couple that stand out – each from a different perspective. We had dinner at 16 Art Bar Restaurant which is very popular with locals and is located in a 300 year old bell factory. It is small but filled with character and charm. It is owned by Nik and Simon Buchs and along with the terrific traditional Swiss food, they are passionate about wine and we enjoyed some very exceptional Swiss wines with our dinner.
The other dinner that stands out was at Megu restaurant located in the 5-star Alpina Gstaad. Megu has a Michelin Star and this is from the Michelin Guide: MEGU offers a highly successful combination of classic Japanese cuisine and modern influences which produces some punchy, interesting dishes. Setting the scene is star designer Noé Duchafour-Lawrence’s sophisticated and distinctive interior inspired by Far Eastern themes. I would consider it among the 10 best restaurants in the world.
We had arranged that evening to have a tour of one of special accomodations at The Alpina Gstaad. They have one that is $25,000 per night and another that is $35,000 per night. Pretty incredible lodging!
What was the paper cutting workshop?
There is an art where an intricate scene is created with a single piece of paper cut by a master artist. We met with the artist who described how these masterful works are created, answered our many questions, and then guided us along as we tried our hand at it. It was very fun and informative and lent a new understanding to a Swiss traditional art form.
It sounds like it was a very fun trip.
It was. We plan trips a year in advance and pride ourselves in providing a unique, enjoyable, first class experience that bring people together in memorable locales.We will be going to Verbier for our ski adventure in 2023 and we encourage anyone interested in learning more about that trip or other trips being planned to get in touch. Verbier is an Alpine village in Switzerland’s Valais Canton. It’s the gateway to the 4 Vallées ski area. Trails on Mont Fort Glacier have views of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. macleanadventures.com
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