Perched on the side of a mountain in Valasi at 1400 meters you will find an enchantingly unique eco winter escape of Whitepod. Fifteen dome shaped ‘pods’ or tents are dotted along a slope with breath taking views of the Alps and surrounded by some of the best skiing in Switzerland. Combining a strong ecotourism ethos with adventure and luxury has made the original eco ski destination a perfect destination for thrill and peace seekers alike.
This is a truly individual eco luxury destination in the village of Les Cerniers that attracts those wanting to immerse themselves in the stunning scenery and incredible skiing. At the base of the Dents-du-Midi Mountains the slopes are literally outside your door or a short ride in the private ski lift. Apart from local villagers in the know, there is rarely anyone skiing apart from in house guests so it is a chance to get away from the busier resorts and enjoy the exhilaration of this pristine alpine environment in privacy.
On arrival at the prettily authentic main chalet, dating back to the 1800’s, you will then be guided to your pod. This season the new deluxe pods are open for 2015 that include indulgent breakfast in bed and in pod Wifi and an upstairs mezzanine level for children. These sumptuous geodesic tent suites are sustainable and elegantly comfortable with unparalleled panoramic vistas. A wood burning stove in each room keeps it cozy and warm, to lay back on the vast king sized beds in the sensuous organic bedding and enjoy the snow covered scenes or head out to the deck and enjoy a drink as the sun dips and dazzles on the valley below. Individually decorated, creating an atmosphere of pleasurable privacy and peacefulness.
Wake up to crystal clear mountain mornings with breakfasts of freshly baked pastries, breads, farm eggs, ham, cheese of course and Nespresso from the warmth of your own deluxe pod. The perfect start to a day of ski or even snow shoeing or tobogganing right on your doorstep. No waiting for ski lifts or being on crowded slopes, the seven kilometres of skiing that is spread over 700 meters of altitude are perfect powder for beginner to intermediary. This is a wonderful place for beginners and children to take ski instruction, with its gentle and empty slopes. It is a rarity to have such a pristine and private setting during the ski season in Switzerland so this is a must for those looking for an alternative and environmentally sound property.
If exploring the natural beauty at a slower pace is appealing then snowshoe paths are mapped and stretch over twenty - five kilometres of the Alps letting you feel the fresh air and take in some truly spectacular scenery. For the more adventurous turn your hand at dog sledding across the sparkling snow or even paragliding down the mountainside for the ultimate adrenalin rush and a bit of Bond inspired adventure. Snow scoots are fun new additions that are a cross between a bike and a snowboard, definitely a new trend for action seekers. All the activities are based around as being as kind to this enchanting and fragile environment as possible whilst retaining the excitement of winter sport activities and an authentic Alp experience.
The laidback eco luxury of Whitepod is its main allure, to get away from the bustle of the resorts and really immerse yourself in the nature and peacefulness of the Swiss Alps. After a day of adventure what is better than to come back to camp and unwind in a traditional sauna in the pod house. Accommodating six, it is the typical way to soothe tired muscles and cleanse the system after an exhilarating day. Or head back to your pod and have a relaxing massage to soothe away any aches or pains or simply drift away into the sound of silence and rebalance. A range of treatments such as aromatherapy and Ayurveda massages are available to cater to your individual needs from skilled therapists in the privacy of your pod overlooking this incredible view.
Dinner is an intimate affair down at the Chalet de Cerniers Restaurant that is also open to the public and serves a rich array of traditional mountain cuisine utilising the finest seasonal locally sourced ingredients as much as possible. Dinners are delectable with wonderfully wholesome ingredients such as Jerusalem artichoke cream served with a truffle brioche followed by Guinea Fowl stuffed with cranberries served with mashed potatoes and chestnuts. Finish off with a warm chocolate tart and Verbena ice cream melting into your mouth and drenching your senses. Swiss Cheese Board is the natural conclusion to a wonderfully warm dining experience in this chalet. For the ultimate dining experience a seven course private dining experience with fine wines can be booked in the upstairs room if you would like a romantic gastronomic night.
Whitepod is a completely unique winter eco escape, not only with its totally unique eco design domes, but also with its unwavering commitment to the environment over the last decade. The pods themselves are built on wooden platforms so if the resort is removed it leaves no trace in nature. Wood is sourced from local suppliers, as is as much as possible. Guests agree to walk to their pods from reception and snowmobiles are used for luggage and as minimally as possible to reduce both ground and noise pollution. All guests are actively encouraged to travel to and from the resort by public transport if possible too.
Whitepod Eco Luxury Hotel & Alpine Experience is a must for ethical explorers and keen ski enthusiasts. Open in summer it is the perfect place for those wanting to experience the spectacular Swiss Alps in all their natural beauty without impacting upon this pristine environment. This is a truly inspirational, beautiful and unique European winter hideaway.
Photos Courtesy of Whitepod & Words by Electra Gillies