Ski and Snowboarding Destinations in Laax Murschetg, Switzerland
Laax Murschetg, Switzerland Ski Resorts Review
Located just 150km from Zurich, and even less from the German border, Laax Murschetg might be practically unheard of in the UK but its charms are not lost on the locals who visit by the coachload each weekend. With skiing up to 3,000m, a ski area twice the size of Saas-Fee and some of the finest snowboarding facilities in the Alps, who could blame them?
Laax Murschetg is connected to Flims and Falera and there are 29 lifts in the Alpenarena ski area. Gondolas and cable-cars depart from the main base stations at Laax Murschetg and Flims and go up towards Crap Sogn Gion at 2,200m. When you're up the mountain, lifts and pistes shoot off in every direction - the descents back down through the trees are generally red or black, including a World Cup downhill piste towards Laax, while above the treeline things begin to flatten out slightly. For beginners there are some un-snowsure nursery slopes at Flims Dorf and Falera. When the snow's poor, there are some confidence-building traverses (marked in orange on the map) on the flattish glacier.
The mileage-hungry intermediate is king on the Alpenarena's impressive 220km of piste, having acres of red cruising and a maximum descent of 14km from the top of the glacier down to Flims. For a mini adventure there are also 40km of unprepared but marked freeride slopes for everybody from off-piste novices to powderhounds; just find the black diamonds - the more there are, the steeper the ride.
Up at Crap Sogn Gion the No Name Cafe is the ideal spot for an espresso, while the Rock Bar is, well, rocking with magnificent views and tunes. For lunch head on farther down the mountain: Startgels Alpenrose is a cozy place with a potent gourmet reputation.
Laax features in the half-pipe World Cup calendar and is among Switzerland's top boarding destinations. Crap Sogn Gion is the snowsure center of the action, with two monster-pipes, a terrain park, boardercross course and 'park and pipe' lift ticket.
For a place of pampering, try the Hotel Signina, with a pool, steam bath, massage, water jets and acres of Swiss flesh. If that all sounds a little too intimate, slip back outside and take the free bus to Flims, where the Sports Centre has everything from ice-skating and Bavarian curling to curling up under a sun bed.
Laax Murschetg is not a culinary hot spot, but ten minutes on top of the village is Tegia Larnags, a gourmet mountain hut dishing out piste-side organic treats. Back in the resort, Cristallina is the place for pizzas while, for something a little spicier, Little China is an oriental oddity in a sea of cheese. Speaking of cheese, even in this vogue spot, fondue is still king, and the wood-panel Restaurant Muhbarack is the place to get it.
First stop for any boarder is the trendy, but sorely named Crap Bar. Set at the base of the lifts, it's kitted out using 24 tons of granite, acres of glass and cool tunes. Down the road is the Riders Palace Lobby Bar, a hi-tech bar and hip hotel - think cocktails, bean bags, UV lighting and blazing beats. If that does not make you feel old, then next door is the Palace Club, which hosted gigs by the likes of Gangstaar and Asian Dub Foundation.
The award-winning Riders Palace is the place to stay in Laax, with choices of dorms and multi-media rooms and design suites with DVD, Playstation 2, chrome sinks and Philippe Starck bathtubs. The Hotel Signina is the other side of Switzerland - a traditional, comfortable, chalet-style place opposite the primary lifts with swimming pool and fitness room, perfect for prospective Heidis. Lastly, if you want to be first on the piste, the Crap Sogn Gion Mountain Hostel is better than its name suggests, sitting at 2,200m and can only be reached by gondola.
Near Laax-Murschetg main cable car station with the public bus stop is Backpacker Deluxe Hotel Capricorn. It offers different rooms (on private or shared base) for every budget with breakfast and vegetarian dinner. The bus stop Laax-Marcau is only 100 meters from the hostel. Rates start at $40 per person.