When Telegraph readers told Lizzie Frainier that the secret to finding love in real life lay on the slopes, she decided to take their advice and book a flight before the season was over. She never expected them to be right – but during a whirlwind ski trip in the Chamonix Valley, she found that romance really is easier at altitude.
Not to mention countless Telegraph readers responded in kind in the comments section, detailing how relationships were carved into the sides of mountains and sparks fired while drinking schnapps at après ski bars.
We spoke to three readers, Susan, Steve and Claire, whose snowmen have stood the test of time. As for Lizzie and Maxime’s, only time will tell.
‘There is definitely magic in the mountains’
Susan met Jörg in 1993 in Obergurgl, Austria, when she was 33 and working in London as a strategic planner, while Jörg was 28 in his final year of law school.
“We went on holiday for two weeks and had a really good time the first week, both on and off the slopes. The bars were very lively at the time.
“The second week the weather turned and we took shelter in the ‘Nederhütte’, where there were loud après ski parties on Mondays with a house band and lots of participation – polka-ing in ski boots, dancing on tables and the like.
“A mixed group of young Germans came in in colorful ski outfits and asked if they could sit with us,” said Susan.
It was then “a really tall, handsome fellow” who asked Susan to dance – “I was tossed around, waltzing in ski boots. It was all pretty hot and sweaty, but great fun.”
“I’m sure at some point the immortal words ‘Would you like a Willi?’ were uttered (this is, of course, a Pear Williams schnapps).”
Susan and Jörg agreed to meet in Obergurgl the following year, and that’s when their relationship really took off.
“There’s definitely a magic in the mountains for me – the feeling of being close to the stars, close to the sun, the excitement. Even if you meet someone whose native language isn’t English, you have to be straightforward. There’s less space for playing subtle games.
“We have returned to Obergurgl many times. The last time was in 2022, where we went as a family – with our son Marius (who is now 22). He had his first Obergurgl holiday when he was 18 months and on small plastic skis sat at the age of two and a half!”
‘I slipped on ice on top of the Männlichen in front of her class’
In 1986, Steve took up seasonal work in Interlaken and Wengen, Switzerland, for a UK school holiday company, where he met his current wife, Nicola – who was then a qualified English teacher.
“Among other things, I organized her prom. In fact, the first memory she has of me is of me slipping on the ice at the top of the Männlichen in front of her class and uttering several unrepeatable swear words, my ego in tatters.
“She clearly loved that aspect of my character (which comes back with monotonous repetition!) because she contacted me on my return to London based on my invitation to take her for a helicopter ride (I was on my transition to a civilian license and needed the flight hours).
“We started dating and it went like this. We have lived in Switzerland for over thirty years, have Swiss nationality and have our family, business and home here.”
Steve later attended the Ski Club of Great Britain leadership course where he witnessed a number of romances, comparing them to Love Island.
“Although we’re definitely not talking about six packs and cosmetic surgery, but I’ve seen some nice skis!
“Most importantly, the romances blossom at a slow pace – we’re not talking about skiers jumping into bed at the end of a hard day, but many of the resulting relationships have been long lasting. I myself have many dear friends from the ski club.
“My children are grown up now and can of course ski very well, but my wife really turned out not to be a skier at all – I found out later. Her love is horses!”
“We shared the two-person T-bar, kind of like an anchor”
While staying at her cousin’s flat in Verbier, Switzerland, Claire joined a group of fellow avid skiers for a day, where she met her husband, Philip. They have now been married for 30 years.
“I told him since he’s tall and I’m short when we were queuing for the two person T-bar that he’d better go with someone else because he was so much taller than me. But he because he was a little stubborn, he said no, he wanted to come with me. So we shared the two-person T-bar, kind of like an anchor.”
Claire was 30 at the time and said she changed her mindset to seek love, especially on that skiing trip, but on the slopes it happened “completely naturally”.
“The thing is, skiing just makes you happy, being in the clean air and the light and being active, and I think it really helps to do something with other people.
“It was an instant connection, but I didn’t think it would go anywhere else because it was a holiday romance. But maybe that makes you feel more relaxed.
“That night at the ‘Village’ nightclub was pretty busy, and I sat on his lap – I tried not to put all my weight on his lap, I must say. Someone said how long you’ve been together – we said good we had just met today and they couldn’t believe it.
“It wasn’t like we were all over each other, there was a kind of low-key bond.”
On their return to the UK, Philip took Claire out on a date. They now live in Cornwall with their two children.