The skiing in Davos Klosters is divided into six areas: the extensive Parsenn, Jakobshorn, which is much favoured by boarders, the quieter Rinerhorn and Pischa and Schatzalp (the slow mountain), which reopened in 2010-11 with "nice and easy" slopes and two of the seven toboggan runs in the region. The Davos ski area is also lift-connected to the Klosters areas of Gotschna and Madrisa.
The Parsenn is the largest ski area in the Davos region. The Parsennbahn funicular connects to a train and chairlift to the major lift junction of Weissfluhjoch - gondolas from Klosters also reach here - from where you can carry on upwards via a cable car to Weissfluhgipfel at 2,844m. From here it's a vertical descent of over 1,300m back to Davos or, if you aim for Küblis, you'll get 2,000m vertical of continuous turns.
Two consecutive cable cars whisk you to the 2,590m summit of the Jakobshorn, a Mecca for snowboarders with its half-pipes and boarders' hotel, the Bolgenschanze. Its central location, just behind the Davos Platz railway station, also makes it a popular choice with skiers.
The Rinerhorn ski area is at the most southerly extent of the Davos region and is reached by car (free parking), bus or train to Glaris. On first inspection it seems to be a limited one-cable-car-and-four-T-bar area, but in reality it has some great descents and because of the trees it can be a good option in bad weather. Often mid-week both Rinerhorn and Pischa are deserted.
Davos' fourth ski area, Pischa, is a ten minute drive up the Flüelatal valley and is reached special ski bus leaving the Pischa Terminal at Davos Dorf or by car (free parking). It faces due south and is often a good bet in the morning.
After being closed for a few seasons, Schatzalp has been re-opened and the Strelapass Restaurant has been renovated to serve skiers who prefer their winter sport to be "nice and easy". It takes just four minutes to reach Schatzalp via the funicular which runs from the centre of Davos Platz providing access to fairly easy pistes.
The Gotschnagrat, with links to the Parsenn, is the key to Klosters' skiing. It is also the area where the Prince of Wales was involved in a fatal avalanche in 1988, when his friend and equerry Major Hugh Lindsay was killed near the Gotschnawang run. Another member of the royal party, Mrs Patti Palmer-Tomkinson sustained serious leg injuries. This avalanche-prone off-piste area is now technically off-limits but can still be skied. One equally challenging but perhaps safer alternative is the tough Drostobel run.
The Madrisa area across the valley from the Gotschna area is more of a family mountain. You reach it by taking a picturesque gondola ride from Klosters Dorf above the forest to a snowy and often sunny plateau at Albeina-Saaseralp. The Madrisahorn (2,826 metres), close to the Austrian border (which you can cross) commands spectacular views across the Prättigau Valley. The Kidsland near the summit station is well-equipped including a special adjustable chairlift allowing children and skiers with disability to reach the summit more easily: young children have access easy slopes on the Rubing Run or play in a bouncy castle.
The old Davos Klosters lift system, with its creaky old funiculars, cable cars and T-bars, has largely been upgraded with high-speed chairlifts, newer gondolas and a complete rebuild of the main Davos access lift, the Parsennbahn, which has resulted in a huge improvement on the queues previously seen here. Yet even now, Davos doesn't seamlessly interconnect and Rinerhorn, Pischa and Madrisa still have to make do with mainly T-bars. To discover the best terrain requires planning, imagination, perseverance and local knowledge.
The Rega ski pass covers all of the ski areas in the Davos and Klosters region, which includes a total of 53 ski lifts, 300km of pistes and huge off-piste potential. It also covers the local buses and trains, which are essential for accessing the different ski areas and returning from many off-piste adventures. The season pass TOP CARD is also valid for the Alpenarena (Flims, Laax, Falera) and Ischgl Samnaun.
For more information about ski lifts and lift passes in Davos Klosters contact the lift company:
There are two small areas for beginners: Bolgen, at the base of the Jakobshorn (where it is claimed the world's first drag lift was built in 1934), and Bünda, a ten minute hike from the base of the Parsenn. When you're ready to move off the nursery slopes, there are some good wide blue runs on the Parsenn to tackle.
In Klosters, the best bet is to make for Madrisa and the beginners' ski area at Selfranga.
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The Davos Klosters ski area offers many wide and confidence-boosting red and blue runs, some of which are over 10km long. The Parsenn has many wide pistes, perfect for big carving turns, although it can get busy. Their one marked 'carving piste' can be mayhem, but hit it when it's quiet and it can be out of this world. Much of Klosters' intermediate skiing can be found at Madrisa.
The Weissfluhgipfel is the starting point for the long run down to the village of Küblis - one of the longest and most dramatic on-piste runs in Europe. It is 12 km long and the vertical elevation is well over 2,000m. All but the very first part is skiable by good intermediates and those who don't fancy the short, steep first section can start at Weissfluhjoch instead. From wide open runs at the start, the itinerary changes to narrow tracks through pine forests, Schwendi huts in clearings and on into meadows and past farm buildings.
When you finally reach Küblis, the café on the railway platform has indicators allowing you enough time to finish and pay for your meal before catching the train back to Klosters, and then the Gotschnabahn cable car back into the ski area. Variations on this run include descents to the other valley-floor villages of Saas and Serneus or even direct to Klosters.
Two challenging black runs lead down to Wolfgang at the end of Davos Lake, via the Meierhofer Tälli and the Gruobenalp. If you're searching for moguls try the run beneath the Schwarzeealp chair on Gotschnagrat or piste number one off the top of the Weissfluhgipel, which offers plenty of other challenges too: it has almost 360-degrees of off-piste skiing, but it's steep stuff and involves some drop offs. On Rinerhorn a wide black run descends from Nüllisch Grat through woods and fields to the cable car station giving over 1,000m of vertical descent.
The only run back into Davos is a black piste, which has a tendency to be extremely icy (due to the high water content of the snow cannons). Unfortunately the run ends abruptly some 200m from the base of the Parsenn, necessitating a walk down a slippery section of road. Consequently, most people return via the funicular from the half-way station.
The piste map also indicates eleven off-piste routes, which are unmarked on the ground and unpatrolled. Sometimes these runs can be left untouched for days until people spot others using them, then the sheep mentality kicks in and they become well used. There's a wonderfully long run from Madrisa down to Schlappin - red most of the way but rated black for the last section. Thanks to a new magic carpet at the end of the slope, it's no longer necessary to catch the Zügenhüttli chair back towards Madrisa before you reach the black section.
By 1990 Davos had already gained a reputation as a snowboarding Mecca. Jakobshorn is THE place for boarders.
Offering two half-pipes, the one at the base of the mountain is floodlit till 9pm. Jakobshorn is where you'll find the dedicated snowboard hotel, the Bolgenschanze. Also popular are the Bolgenhof and Snowboarders Palace.
Parsenn offers boardercross and skicross, and the Iglu village
Although the main mountain restaurants high up are self-service and not very appealing, the one notable exception is the Bergrestaurant Weissfluhgipfel, which does wonderful salads, traditional and gourmet dishes and mouth-watering deserts - and the views are fantastic. Although it's expensive, it fills up quickly and unless it's early season or early in the day you'll need to book.
Bruhlin's apart, however, our advice is to stay low for lunch - try the Höhenweg bar / restaurant at Parsennbahn mid-station or find out for yourself why everyone raves about the Chesetta, Alte Conterser, Schifer and Serneuser 'Schwendi' huts on the way down to Klosters.
Restaurants on Madrisa are nothing special although Erica on the run down to Klosters offers cheese fondue as a house specialty. Further up on Pischa, the Mäderbeiz is a popular rustic hut. Over on Jakobshorn the Jazhütte is a cool place to hang out and good for rösti cooked in a giant frying pan, while Güggl on the same mountain is charming and serves good food, but rather slowly. When skiing on Rinerhorn Hübelhütte is the preferred choice. The Kulm restaurant at Davos Wolfgang makes a good stop before catching the bus or train back to town.
Over the last 10 years, there has been a marked shift from heavy traditional dishes of rabbit, beef and cheese to snacks such as pizzas and lighter options such as salads, although the local rösti dishes remain a firm favourite.
Alphütte Garfiun Tel: +41 (0) 81 422 13 69
Alte Conterser Schwendi Tel: +41 (0) 81 332 13 24
Berggasthaus Gotschnagrat Tel: +41 (0) 81 422 22 15
Berggasthaus Parsennhütte Tel: +41 (0) 81 416 36 52
Berghaus Alpenrösli Tel: +41 (0) 81 422 13 57
Berghaus Erika Schlappin Tel: +41 (0) 81 422 11 17
Berghaus Gemsli Schlappin Tel: +41 (0) 81 422 13 39
Berghaus Schifer Tel: +41 (0) 81 332 15 33
Berghaus Vereina Tel: +41 (0) 81 422 12 16
Berghaus-Restaurant Stafelalp Tel: +41 (0) 81 413 66 31
Berghütte Chesetta Tel: +41 (0) 81 330 56 88
Bergrestaurant Chalet Güggel Tel: +41 (0) 81 413 51 48
Bergrestaurant Clavadeler Alp Tel: +41 (0) 81 413 69 42
Bergrestaurant Fuxägufer Tel: +41 (0) 81 413 23 78
Bergrestaurant Hubelhütte Tel: +41 (0) 81 401 14 46
Bergrestaurant Höhenweg Tel: +41 (0) 81 417 67 44
Bergrestaurant Jatzhütte Tel: +41 (0) 81 413 73 61
Bergrestaurant Pischa Tel: +41 (0) 81 416 15 43
Bergrestaurant Rinerhorn Jatzmeder Tel: +41 (0) 81 401 12 55
Bergrestaurant Saaseralp Tel: +41 (0) 81 410 21 80
Bergrestaurant Strela Alp Tel: +41 (0) 81 413 56 83
Bergrestaurant Strelapass Tel: +41 (0) 81 415 52 67
Bergrestaurant Weissfluhgipfel Tel: +41 (0) 81 417 66 44
Bergrestaurant Weissfluhjoch Parsenn Tel: +41 (0) 81 417 66 11
Bär's Hütte auf Selfranga Tel: +41 (0) 81 422 51 53
Clavadeler Alp Schaukäserei & Restaurant Tel: +41 (0) 79 484 17 04
Franzl's Blockhütte Erezsäss Tel: +41 (0) 81 332 36 00
Gaudy's Graströchni Tel: +41 (0) 79 620 35 13
Grialetsch Hütte SAC Tel: +41 (0) 81 416 34 36
Jschalp Bergrestaurant Tel: +41 (0) 81 413 64 01
Kesch-Hütte SAC Tel: +41 (0) 81 407 11 34
Mäderbeiz Tel: +41 (0) 81 416 17 27
Naturfreundehaus Clavadeler Alp Tel: +41 (0) 81 413 63 10
Nülli Schneebar Tel: +41 (0) 81 401 12 55
Panoramarestaurant Jakobshorn Gipfel Tel: +41 (0) 81 413 70 04
Rätscha Bar Bergrestaurant Saaseralp Tel: +41 (0) 81 410 21 80
Scharf Eck Tel: +41 (0) 81 401 12 52
Schatzalp Panorama Restaurant Tel: +41 (0)81 415 51 60
Schatzalp Snow Beach Terrassen-Restaurant Tel: +41 (0) 81 415 51 51
Schneebar Schwarzseealp Tel: +41 (0) 81 422 22 15
Schneebar Totalp Tel: +41 (0) 79 633 13 36
Silvrettahütte SAC Tel: +41 (0) 81 422 13 06
Ski- und Berghaus Schwendi Tel: +41 (0) 81 422 12 89
Skihütte Gruobenalp Tel: +41 (0) 81 422 62 30
Spina Bergestaurant Tel: +41 (0) 81 420 31 01
Stafel Bar Tel: +41 (0) 81 332 43 91
Sunnebeizli Hennagadä Tel: +41 (0) 81 420 26 78
Wunder-Bar Tel: +41 (0) 81 401 12 55
Zügenhüttli Bergrestaurant Saaseralp Tel: +41 (0) 81 410 21 80
With two centres, Platz and Dorf, the sprawling town of Davos isn't pretty, but it's an interesting mix of modern offices, apartment blocks, elegant old sanatorium-style hotels, cows and milking parlours. The backdrop is quintessentially beautiful Swiss mountain scenery with the characteristic red trains running through it.
Part of the canton of Graubunden, Davos' transformation from a remote farming community into an international resort began in 1860 when Dr Spengler opened the first tuberculosis clinic. Davos soon became the leading health resort in Switzerland and was popular with the British, including well-known personalities such as author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.
With the decline of tuberculosis after the Second World War and growth in tourism many of the elegant sanatoriums were turned into hotels. Today the town still has clinics offering specialised treatment for allergies, respiratory illnesses and dermatological conditions. There is also the High Altitude Training Centre, used by many professional and amateur athletes, which claims the 1,560m altitude provides ideal training conditions, particularly for endurance.
Although Davos' town and ski areas are spread out there is a good bus and train network. Parking can be difficult and you'll be charged a flat rate fee of SFR5 a day in most of the ski areas, more if you want to park centrally for the shops and again in the supermarket car parks.
Klosters is much more in the mould of what you'd expect from a typically attractive chalet-style Swiss mountain village. It benefited greatly from a new by-pass in 2005 which diverted traffic between Davos and the Vereina tunnel. Of the two, Klosters Platz is the bigger, and accesses the Gotschnagrat and the main Davos ski area at Parsenn. Klosters Dorf is at the base of Madrisa
As with any other good ski resort, in Davos the partying begins on the slopes, notably the 'Schwendis' in the woods on the way down from Parsenn, including the possibility to make torchlit descents as night falls. For those preferring an earlier end to the day's skiing, Café Schneider and Kaffee Klatsch in Platz and Café Weber in Dorf are popular for afternoon tea and cakes. And there are plenty of expensive clothes shops to spend your money in.
In Davos Platz, Scala's outside sun terrace is a popular spot for après ski, but liveliest of the lot are Chämi, popular with locals and very atmospheric later in the evening, and Ex-Bar, which attracts a smarter mixed age group. At the other end of town in Davos Dorf, many ski instructors congregate at the Montana bar while Bar-Senn, near the entrance to the Parsennbahn, is a squeeze but has good atmosphere after skiing.
The partying in Klosters begins with a riotous time at Gaudy's Graströchni, one of those rotunda shaped see-through bars so popular on the slopes in Austria. Later on Klosters' nightlife revolves mainly around its hotels, particularly the Chesa Grischuna, with its stylish piano bar, and the Hotel Pardenn. The main disco (visited by Prince Harry) is on the ground floor of the Casa Antica in the Silveretta Parkhotel. In Klosters-Dorf the in-places include Rufinis and the Madrisa Pub.
The local Gastroführer guide, available from the Davos tourist office, will help you pick from a wide choice of restaurants, including fine gourmet restaurants in some of the ritzier hotels, and narrow the choice to your palate and your pocket.
Scala is a modern restaurant with innovative cuisine, La Caretta serves Swiss and Italian food in rustic surroundings and Extrablatt offers specialties straight from the grill. Al Ponte has the best pizzas in town and if you want Chinese food you should try Zauberberg or Goldener Drachen. For gourmet dining in Davos, Mann & Co (15 Points Gault Millau) at Waldhotel Davos is highly recommended and Restaurant Hänggi's at Davos Platz offers excellent food at reasonable prices and good service even though it cannot yet claim to have won any special awards.
As with any other resort the guest demographics vary throughout the season. Off the slopes Davos once seemed better suited to an older clientele, but things have obviously changed. These days its numerous bars, discos, nightclubs and casino are reportedly buzzing late at night, even though it may be a bit quieter (Sunday - Wednesday) as some guests prefer to spend a quiet night in the comfort of their hotel or apartment, particularly those staying towards the outer limits of the town, from Thursday - Saturday the nightlife is first rate.
Davos is partnered with Aspen in Colorado and Chamonix in France, and it seems it's no longer the odd one out in terms of lively après ski. According to the Sonntagszweitung (the main Sunday newspaper) Davos now has the best winter nightlife in the whole of Switzerland. The most popular nightclubs in Davos are Cabanna, Rotliechtli and the Postli, which is "the" place to be on Friday and Saturday nights in winter.
Klosters also has a few lively bars and more than its fair share of fine dining. In Klosters, the liveliest bars are the Rossli, with its giant TV sports screen, the Cresta Hotel Bar which announces proudly "you may even be smoked" - translation "where you may smoke" and the Gotschnabar by the cable car base station. Good restaurants in Klosters include the Michelin-starred restaurant at the Hotel Walserhof (The Prince of Wales' favourite hotel, with 17 Gault-Millau points) and the traditionally rustic restaurant at the Chesa Grischuna.
Davos, a sprawling town, offers a wide range of activities and entertainments for skiers and non-skiers alike. As well as Alpine skiing and boarding, the choice of winter-sports includes ice skating, curling, corss-country skiing, tobogganing and winter walking. Other sports available in Davos include paragliding, hang-gliding, indoor tennis, swimming and a climbing wall. Davos also offers a wide range of shops and a plenty of exhibitions and events.
Ice skating, curling, ice hockey and speed skating are all popular with a choice of Europe's largest natural ice rink, an outdoor artificial ice rink, a large ice stadium and a smaller rink at the base of Parsenn. There's also an ice rink at the leisure centre in Klosters.
There's often a chance to watch high profile events too; Davos hosts the International Speed Skating Championships and the renowned pro ice hockey Spengler Cup and from September - March each winter ice hockey matches are an almost weekly occurrence. As well as hosting the Spengler Cup and numerous other matches, Davos' ice hockey team HC Davos were the Swiss Champions for the 30th time in 2010/11 and Davos is the only ski resort in Switzerland offering Swiss premier league ice hockey - great fun to watch live!
For those who enjoy walking there are over 84km of well prepared winter walking paths, popular routes are around the Davos Lake, along the river from Platz towards Frauenkirch and the Hohenweg, which runs parallel to main street from Dorf to Platz but higher up. Klosters also has some excellent walking.
Davos is one the most important centres in Switzerland for cross-country skiing. The Swiss Cross-country ski team home and training camp is based in Davos (most athletes live here) and there are no fees to use the cross-country tracks in Davos Klosters! 75km of Nordic track stretch from Glaris to beyond Wolfgang with branches into the side valleys of Sertig, Dischma and Flüela. A 2.5 km floodlit loop at the entrance to Dischma is also open from 18.00 to 21.30. Each year the Flüela runs challenge the world's best skiers during the Nordic FIS World Cup Races. Klosters also has good cross-country skiing on 35km of freshly groomed tracks for skating and classic with options to meet the needs of beginners and advanced cross-country skiers.
At Rinerhorn there is sledge run, which is seriously steep in sections and is often manic with children belting down out of control. Floodlit until 9pm, goggles are essential! There is also a sledge run down from the hotel at Schatzalp accessed by the mountain railway from Davos Platz. There's also a five mile toboggan run in Klosters from Madrisa to Saas.
There is also a wintersports museum tracing the development of equipment and clothing through the years, as well as a museum dedicated to the expressionist painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, who lived in Davos between 1917 and 1938. A folk museum, a doll museum, a mining museum and a museum of medicine complete the list.
For more information contact the Tourist Offices in Davos: