“You look great,” says Urs, as I fall limply to the ground. Ski poles in one hand, a high powered rifle in the other and a pair of ill-advised ski sunglasses covering much of my face, I think I look anything but.
Urs, on the other hand, clearly thinks the latest traveller he introduced to St Moritz’s cross-country skiing and biathlon course is among one of the best he’s seen. And who am I to argue with Urs? After all, the 55-year old has helped hundreds of visitors realise their icy ambitions out here on the slopes and snow plains of St Moritz. For Urs Wiederkehr, as well as being a cheerfully charming, softly-spoken Swiss man, is also an outdoor butler.
Employed by the Carlton Hotel St. Moritz — a 60 suite-strong establishment that already offered all-inclusive Bentley limousine services, helicopter transfers and a ski school before introducing Urs — the outdoor butler service is the latest luxurious step in the Carlton Hotel’s new age.
Since December 2007, when the hotel re-opened their doors after a hefty refurbishment, the establishment has strived to be the best, and continue to introduce bespoke services such as Urs’.
And the services are extensive. Even as I try my hand on the shooting range of the biathlon track, Urs does his utmost to take a flattering picture — attempting to present me as more ‘alpine action hero’ than ‘clueless frosty journalist’. He does a good job, too.
The butler tells me that he prefers being out in nature, but still feels comfortable in a 5-star hotel. But, like much of the staff at the Carlton Hotel St. Moritz, he is so determined to do a good job that the focus isn’t on the status or wealth of the guests, but rather the quality of the experiences he can deliver.
Even in the kitchens of the Carlton’s restaurants, food and drinks are prepared in such a way that the altitude doesn’t cause problems with textures and tastes. And, sitting at 1,856 metres in the Engadin Valley, it’s an altitude that could.
The whole valley is a winter playground, with fresh powdery opportunities on every slope, frozen lake or forest. Among Urs’ strangest requests, he lists skating on black ice, an excursion to feed local birds and an icy hurtle down the St. Moritz ice track. This must be up there, I think, gun in hand.
But Urs, who trained as a ski instructor, is rarely taken aback. Like the entire staff of the Carlton, he is a professional — and exists on these icy slopes to facilitate the holiday of your lifetime.
So, whether you’re looking to dine on gourmet cuisine in the Michelin-starred Da Vittorio, or take the Red Train along the UNESCO World Heritage-certified route of the Bernina Express, why not check into the Carlton and allow Urs to show you the best St Moritz has to offer…
Outdoor Butler from CHF 120 per hour
Want more alpine adventure? Take a ride along the most picturesque railway in the world…