Inside Prince Charles’ favorite ski resort, where he survived the fatal avalanche featured on ‘The Crown’

Klosters, Switzerland Dipytch - Prince Charles

  • In March 1988, Prince Charles was involved in an avalanche accident that killed his close friend, Major Hugh Lindsay, at Klosters, a Swiss ski resort.
  • The accident has come back into focus as a storyline in season four, episode nine of Netflix's hit series "The Crown." 
  • Diana never went back to Klosters after the accident, but Charles returned throughout the '90s and 2000s with their children, Prince William and Prince Harry.
  • Take a look inside the famously discreet resort where Prince Charles has two cable cars dedicated to him, and Will and Kate Middleton were first photographed sharing a kiss.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for the fourth season of Netflix's "The Crown."

In 1978, Prince Charles took his first trip to Klosters, a ski resort in the Swiss Alps, with his then-girlfriend Lady Sarah Spencer. At the time, however, Spencer maintained that they were friends, according to Time.

Source: Time

Two years later, Charles began dating her young sister, the future Princess Diana, but his love affair with the ski resort would ultimately outlast both relationships.

Source: Harper's Bazaar

Located next to Davos, home of the World Economic Forum, Klosters is a two-hour train ride through the mountains from Zurich, Switzerland.

Source: Destination Davos Klosters

Back in the 1950s, the resort was known as "Hollywood on the Rocks" for the British and American stars it attracted, such as Julie Andrews, Greta Garbo, Orson Welles, and Gene Kelly.

Source: Destination Davos Klosters, Condé Nast Traveller

Gene Kelly once danced on tables at the Chesa Grischuna hotel, and Audrey Hepburn played ninepins in the bowling alley, Simon Wells reported in a 2019 article about the destination for Condé Nast Traveller.

Source: Condé Nast Traveller

Compared to nearby Saint Moritz and other ski destinations of the well-to-do, Klosters is decidedly understated.

Source: Condé Nast Traveller

"No other world-famous Alpine resort disguises its affluence, glamour and stellar celebrity patronage with quite as much unflappable nonchalance as Klosters," Wells wrote.

Source: Condé Nast Traveller

Skiing is really the main affair, Wells added, noting that in Klosters "it's easier to buy a box of kindling than a designer handbag."

Source: Condé Nast Traveller

Charles, an avid skier, was hooked.

In the early years of their marriage, Charles and Diana visited Klosters on several occasions, traveling with friends and family including Prince Andrew and his then-wife Sarah Ferguson.

The "unwritten agreement" in Klosters is that, outside of official photo calls, royals are to be left alone by the media, The Times reported in 2005.

Source: The Times

In early photo calls, Diana appeared effervescent; however, a trip in 1988 changed how she felt about the destination.

Source: Insider

On March 10, Prince Charles was skiiing in Klosters with a group of five on an unmarked trail off the Wang run when an avalanche hit.

Source: Insider

Prince Charles survived, but another member of their party, Patricia Palmer-Tomkinson, was seriously injured. And Charles' close friend Major Hugh Lindsay did not survive.

Source: Insider

The event, depicted in season four, episode nine of "The Crown," drove a wedge between Diana and Charles, according to royal biographers.

Source: Insider

After the accident, Diana refused to return to Klosters, her bodyguard Ken Wharfe wrote in his 2002 book, "Diana: A Closely Guarded Mystery."

Source: Insider, "Diana: A Closely Guarded Mystery"

"Diana blamed Charles for his recklessness in choosing such a hazardous run," journalist Tina Brown wrote in her 2007 biographical account of the princess.

Source: Insider, "The Diana Chronicles"

Charles, however, did go back, returning one year later for a ski vacation.

Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew also returned to ski.

Throughout the '90s, Charles and Ferguson kept returning, turning their trips into royal family vacations.

Prince Harry and Prince William accompanied their dad on trips into the mid-2000s.

Tara and Santa Palmer-Tomkinson, daughters of Patricia Palmer-Tomkinson, joined them …

… as did royal staff, such as William and Harry's nanny, Tiggy Legge-Bourke, and Charles' private secretary, Commander Richard Aylard.

Royal bodyguards hit the slopes, too.

In the peace and quiet of Klosters, Charles indulged in watercolor painting, a hobby of his since the 1970s.

Source: Insider

He even had one of his paintings of the area featured on the 1997 season ski pass.

Source: Insider

Charles and the boys often stayed at the Hotel Walserhof, a chalet-like hotel with a Michelin-star restaurant.

Source: Mountain News Corporation

In 2001, the Sunday Telegraph reported that Harry, based on accounts from his friends, planned to work in the restaurant of Hotel Walserhof after graduating from college in 2003.

Source: The Telegraph

While Harry ended up spending his post-college year in Australia, a Hotel Walserhof spokesman told that Telegraph in 2001 that "Harry loves to stay in Klosters and he loves skiing."

Source: The Telegraph

In January 2006, Wiliam and Kate Middleton were photographed sharing their first public kiss at the resort, according to a 2007 report from The Guardian. They were photographed again at the resort riding a T-bar lift in 2008.

Source: The Guardian

While William, Harry, Eugenie, and Beatrice have visited several ski resorts across Europe like Verbier and Courchevel in recent years, Prince Charles has remained a steadfast visitor of Klosters.

Source: The Evening Standard

In March 2018, the resort honored Prince Charles by inscribing "HRH the Prince of Wales, celebrating 40 years skiing in Klosters" on the side of two cable cars.

Source: Seesicht

Through the years, Klosters has remained a quiet ski village where royals, like Prince Charles, can let their guard down.

"No one bothers him — he can just ski," Francisca Kellet wrote in a November 2015 Tatler article on Klosters. "There's no scene, no glitter, no flash."

Source: Tatler

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