Situated only 150km from Zurich, and much less from the German border, Laax Murschetg might be virtually unheard of in the UK but its appeals are not forgotten by the locals who visit by the bus load every weekend. Laax Murschetg has skiing up to 3,000m, an area twice the size of Saas-Fee and some of the best snowboarding facilities in the Alps.
Laax Murschetg is linked to Flims and Falera and 29 lifts serve patrons in the Alpenarena ski area. Gondolas and cable-cars leave from the main base stations at Laax Murschetg and Flims and climb up towards Crap SognGion at 2,200m. If you're up the mountain, lifts and pistes go in every direction - the routes back down across the trees are typically red or black, as well as a World Cup downhill piste towards Laax, although above the treeline things start to flatten out gradually. For novices, Flims Dorf and Falera has some un-snowsure nursery slopes. When the snow is poor, there are a few confidence-building traverses (marked in orange on the map) on the somewhat flat glacier.
The mileage-hungry intermediate is the central attraction on the Alpenarena's impressive 220km of piste, with acres of red cruising and having a maximum descent of 14km from the peak of the glacier down to Flims. For a bit of an adventure there are also 40km of unprepared but labeled free-ride slopes for everyone from off-piste beginners to powderhounds; just look for the blackdiamonds - the more there are, the steeper the ride.
Up at Crap Sogn Gion the No Name Cafe is the best place for an espresso, while the Rock Bar is rocking with splendid views and tunes. For lunch, go on farther down the mountain: Startgels Alpenrose is a cozy spot featuring a strong gourmet reputation.
Laax is featured in the half-pipe World Cup calendar and is one of Switzerland's top boarding destinations. The snowsure center of the action is Crap Sogn Gion, featuring two monster-pipes, boardercross course, a terrain park, and 'park and pipe' lift ticket.
For a place of pampering, the Hotel Signina is recommended, complete with a pool, steam bath, water jets, massage, and acres of Swiss flesh. If that all seems a bit too intimate, step back outside and hop in the free bus to Flims, where the Sports Centre offers everything from ice-skating and Bavarian curling to curling up inside a sun bed.
© 2012 Athena Goodlight
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