Switzerland is known for clocks, cheese and chocolates. But for winter sports enthusiasts it means snow. Our group selected to ski Davos.
Davos Davos, Switzerland is a mecca for sports enthusiasts and holiday travelers. Located in the Graubunden Valley about 92 miles from Zurich. It’s place in alpine history is secure for opening the first surface lift in the early 1930’s and modern history for hosting the world’s leaders at the Annual World Economic Forum.
The town is several miles long and is divided into Davos Platz and Davos Dorf. The town of Davos is not a pretty town. You will not see many traditional Swiss Chalet type buildings. Davos is pretty plan but the Alps surrounding the town makeup for the dull looking town.
Sadly during our visit Switzerland was having their worst snow year in 40 years. However, the skiing was still pretty good. The Davos area boosts nearly 200 miles of ski trails and is divided into seven areas Parsenn, Pischa, Rinerhorn, Mardisa-Gotscha, Jakobson and Strela-Schatzalp (private resort).
Parsenn is by far the largest of the seven areas. It offers a little bit of everything. The Davos lift tickets are an electronic system. As long as the lift card is located somewhere on the left side of your body, you will pass through the turnstiles no problem. The only bad thing is you must buy consecutive days on the lift ticket. If you miss a day, to bad. All the passes have an expiration date. Your lift ticket comes with a transportation ticket that covers all travel on buses and the ski train.
Parsenn’s has a method of transporting skiers is very unique. Parsenn uses funicular railways to lift skiers up to the lift system. While it’s very cool, it’s not the most efficient way to get people on the slopes. You are crammed into standing room only cars for the 10 minute ride. Arrive early morning or late morning if you want to avoid long waits in line.
The wait was worth it to get to the top of Parsenn. Most runs are graded for intermediates, yet wide enough for beginners to fearlessly negotiate. Have no fear experts, Parsenn has some great steeps and long bump runs plus plenty of opportunity to go off piste. The other bonus by skiing Parsenn is you can ski a 6-7mile (10-12 km) trail down to the playground of the British Royal Family the Klosters.
Plenty of places to stop for a bite or a beverage including an ice bar igloo made of snow. Enjoy a beverage and the wide open skiing of Parsenn. You have to options for ending the day. You can ski down to Davos Dorf following the funicular down the mountain or you can ride the funicular back down to the town.
The Klosters are famous being the background for photo-ops with the British Royals. However, the skiing is wonderful. From Davos Platz, you board the ski train for a 30 minute scenic ride to Klosters. I recommend taking the shuttle bus or a very cheap cab to Madrisa for morning skiing. Madrisa is separate area. It’s above the trees skiing, with rolling hills and a snowboard terrain park. It is serviced by T-bars which will wear you out. Have no fear there is a lovely ice bar where one can rest and relax and enjoy the views of Klosters
After your morning in Madriasa, enjoy a leisure lunch and some shopping in the town of Klosters. If you are looking for the Swiss experience a visit to Klosters is a must.
After lunch take the Prince of Wales tram to the top of the Gotschnagrat area of the Klosters. This is a beautiful bowl area with nice long runs. Unfortunately it has really long T-bar rides. I think that is the secret of European ski dominance are strong leg muscles from years of riding T-bars. You can ski to Parsenn’s from the Klosters and ski back down to Davos Dorf or take the funicular down.
Jacobkorn is a nice snow field, walking distance from most hotels in Davos Platz. This is snowbroader heaven. The terrain park and halfpipe are located under the tram. Jakobshorn is a challenging area . The black runs are separated from the others. You take a tram to the top of the mountain to the restaurant/tram station. While riding the lifts, you will see a sky full of paragliders on a clear day. Paragliding starts on the roof of the restaurant at the top of Jacobkorn. It’s a tandem ride where the instructor handles the controls, the rider simply soars over the mountains and down to the valley floor. Jacobkorn has some great skiing featuring wide open slopes with rolling runs. Several restaurant/bars perfect for enjoying a relaxing lunch in the sun. You have two ways down the mountain you can ski down the cat walk under the tram or you can download on the tram.
Pischa is a small area located on the other side of Jakobshorn. The runs are reminiscent of those found on glaciers. Plenty of skiing for everyone. You can be done with Pischa in a day and enjoy the sights and shopping of Davos in the afternoon. The views from Pischa are memorable ,but during a storm with no trees to guide you, whiteouts are very possible.
Rinerhorn is the area next to Jakobshorn. You can see the runs of Jacokhorn from the top of Rinerhorn, sadly there are no lifts or trails connecting the two areas. Rinerhorn is serviced by a tram and T-bars. It’s a short bus ride from Davos to Rinerhorn. Rinerhorn is primarily known for the Tobbogon run. Toboggan rentals for the 3.5 km run are available at the Rinerhorn Valley station. It’s open from 09:30am-4:30pm and 7:30pm-10:30pm. Beware it can be icy at night which equals fast and dangerous.
Everyone must try curling on Europe’s largest natural ice rink. The 2-hour curling lesson is held at night. Dress warm because you will be outside. You spend the first hour learning to curl, sweep and score. It will be awkward but so much fun. The next hour you will split up into teams and play two games.
Cultural highlighting include the Kirchner Museum with the world’s largest collection of works by the eminent expressionist artist Ernst Ludwig Kirrchner and the Davos Congress Centre. Check out the churches of Davos. Shop until you can walk no more. Remember the stores close for 2 hours from 12:30pm until 2:30pm and on Sunday most stores are closed. Enjoyed the beautiful Alps while having a drink and some chocolate at the Panorama Café.
I recommend skiing Davos and Switzerland.