Inside, it was silent and dark — heavy shutters blocking out the glare of snow and sunshine, the power turned off for winter. Old floorboards creaked as we moved along the high-ceilinged corridor and into a grand wood-panelled room, the sudden stillness a shock after the adrenaline of the ski runs.

We pulled back dust sheets and bent down to look at the treasures beneath. Here was a bridge card, the players listed in a flamboyant fountain-pen curl, among them Sir Ernest Cassel, the millionaire British banker who built this bizarre mountaintop mansion in 1902, and his friend Edward VII, noted here simply as “the King”. A walking stick was put into my hands, the light of an iPhone illuminating the twisted wood and the initials of its former owner, Winston Churchill.

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