Break for the border with a breathtaking Tri County ski holiday

Break for the border with a breathtaking Tri County ski holiday

THEY call it the Tri Country, an exquisite backwater of Europe surrounded by 9,000ft peaks where you can ski three countries in one go.

By
Jo Kessel

Break for the border with a breathtaking Tri County ski holiday  GETTY

The breathtaking Tri County peaks bordering Italy, Austria and Switzerland

It certainly impressed the children when they found out that not only would we be skiing from our Austrian resort of Nauders but that we would be delving into Switzerland and Italy too.Â

The village is a Tirolean delight, all pastel church spires towering over narrow streets while our hotel the Alpen Comfort Central, with wrap-around wooden balconies and windows framed by frescoes, takes its 400-year-old history and reinvents it with a boutique air.Â

Décor is rustic chic meets Elle Decoration. Our two bedrooms are separated by a lounge where pale pine furniture is offset by floor-to-ceiling burgundy curtains and original abstract art with rich, earthy oils painted on canvas.Â

Weâ??re on our balcony, admiring the view of the 12th-century castle, when someone knocks on the door delivering bathrobes and slippers for the spa.

Break for the border with a breathtaking Tri County ski holiday  GETTY

Jo Kessel and her children enjoying the slopes at Nauders

The kit for my children, twins Nathalie and Gabriel, 12, and Hannah, nine, is charming.Â

â??Look,â? Hannah models the slippers, â??theyâ??ve got â??Iâ??m a VIPâ?? written on them!â?Â

The children have more to make them feel like VIPs.Â

Theyâ??ve got their own games room as well as a special dinner menu (roast meat, breaded fish, pasta) if they donâ??t want the six-course gourmet feast of grilled shrimps with saffron mousse, consommé, fillet of meltingly soft pork medallions, salad buffet, cheeseboard and ice cream.Â

Next morning we take the free, five-minute shuttle bus to the main gondola.Â

Weâ??ve booked lessons for the children and once my husband Marc and I have dropped them off with instructor Remo, we explore.Â

There are almost 50 miles of slopes to choose from and we feel like weâ??re in the middle of nowhere, yet itâ??s little more than an hour to Innsbruck and its airport.Â

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The beautiful historic Austrian mountain town of Nauders

The children join us for lunch at the mountain tavern Larchenalm, where schnitzel and chips is accompanied by an oompah band.Â

Unlikely though it seems in this remote corner of the Alps, the next-door bar is called Craven Cottage after Fulham FCâ??s ground.Â

It turns out that the restaurant manager is president of the Austrian Fulham Fan Club.Â

So much for Austria but we also have Italy on our Reschenpass lift pass (including the 10-minute bus ride).Â

The bijou Italian resort of Belpiano Schöneben has only eight pistes, uncrowded, long and lined with fir trees.Â

It might not be a world-class ski area but itâ??s charming and thereâ??s even a black run, which we have a go at, and spaghetti Bolognese for lunch which somehow tastes better for being eaten in Italy.Â

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The Tyrolean mountains by night

Switzerlandâ??s Samnaun is 50 minutes by bus (about £3 each way) and we have to buy another lift pass (about £30 for adults) but weâ??re having the time of our lives, thrilled that no one bothers to even check our passports.Â

Few people have heard of Nauders although the children�s friends certainly have now, filled with stories of skiing three countries in a week

Samnaun is vast and swish, boasting the worldâ??s first double-decker cable car which transports 180 people at one go.Â

The sky is so unblemished and the velvety slopes so endless that we make only two brief pit stops all day, one being to share a huge bowl of apple strudel in warm vanilla sauce.Â

By the time we head home the sun is casting a crimson hue across the mountains, watched by the thinnest sliver of a crescent moon.Â

Back in Nauders we have afternoon tea, swim in the hotel pool and relax after our adventures.Â

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Nauderberg Castle has a fascinating museum of local life

Donâ??t miss the small town, still surrounded by medieval walls.

It has one of the earliest of Roman Catholic cathedrals, while Nauderberg Castle has a fascinating museum of local life.Â

We never quite make it to the public swimming pool or hot springs but do wander down the road to where the village of Alt-Graun was transformed into Lake Reschen, leaving only the church steeple protruding from the waters.Â

Few people have heard of Nauders although the childrenâ??s friends certainly have now, filled with stories of skiing three countries in a week.

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