The Swiss ski resort of Arosa, now linked to Lenzerheide, offers a good range of ski terrain for beginners, intermediates and experts, with 40km of freeride on top of the 70km of pistes - and that's before you add in Lenzerheide's contribution of another 155km!
OverviewArosa has a lovely setting in a wooded basin surrounded by rugged mountains, and the journey to the resort whether by road or rail is spectacular (the rail journey is amongst the most dramatic in the Alps).
It tends to be overlooked for the better-known Graubunden resorts of Davos and Kloster, but that all looks set to change with the installation of a lift to link to nearby Lenzerheide (with 150km of pistes) increasing the potential ski terrain impressively.
Ski areaArosa is pretty respectable size-wise – whilst it’s certainly nowhere near size of the bigger resorts of the Alps it has a very acceptable 16 lifts (7 chair lifts, 6 surface lifts) serving 900 metres of vertical descent on 70 pistes with a total length of 70km, along with 40km of excellent and easily accessed backcountry terrain.
Add the new connection to Lenzerheide to all that and you have more than enough to keep you going for a week or more.
Snow reliability and quality is generally excellent due to a combination if altitude and several north-facing slopes.
Arosa is well suited to intermediate skiers and boarders as the ‘in bounds’ terrain is not especially challenging and consists mainly of fun cruisers above the treeline – check out the shady Hörnli area for what are generally the best conditions.
There is also some decent beginner terrain on Tschuggen and several ski schools to choose from, although it can get busy at times.
The expert terrain is not to be sniffed at either - 40km of trails and routes are left ungroomed for off-piste freeriding and all of the routes accessed from the top of the Weisshorn (2653m) are either pisted reds or blacks or off-piste black routes, whilst the neighbouring Bruggerhorn is known as ‘Freeride Mountain’ on account of the numerous freeride options here.
For off-piste skiers and boarders a great option is the ‘tour’ to Lenzerheide from the lift-accessed top of 2511-metre Hörnli, which takes you there via the tiny resort of Tschiertschen, which has just 25 km of pistes.
Boarders will find the slopes are easy to get around and the terrain park on Tschuggen includes a 150m-long World Cup standard half-pipe.
For families the ‘Arosa Junior Club’ offers lots of kids activities in addition to skiing and several discounts, whilst kid’s lift passes here are very good value.
Off the slopes and apres-skiThere are 32km of cross-country trails around Arosa to suit all ability levels, as well as some lovely footpaths wending up beside the pistes which give non-skiers a chance to meet up with skiers on the slopes or at one of the mountain restaurants, and 4.5km of toboggan runs which kids will love.
Many visitors will want to wander around Arosa and its lakeside setting (where you can ice skate) or take sleigh rides between the village and Inner-Arosa (separated from Arosa by a large hill and the centre of most of the on-slope action).
The spa at the five-star Tschuggen Grand Hotel is one of the best in the Swiss Alps (see 'Cool Lodgings').
There is a good selection of mountain restaurants, the best of which include the Weisshorngipfel and the Sattelhütte, notable for the hundreds of sun loungers outside. In the town, good options include The Eden and the gourmet Kachelofa-Stübl.
The après-ski scene is relatively lively, with a good range of bars and clubs including the Kuhbar on the mountain and in town the Kitchen Club and the Nuts Club.