News from the snow
Flims, Laax and Falera had been jointly marketed as Laax over recent years, although Flims was historically the better known ski resort. Located on a wide and normally sunny mountain terrace, Flims is made up of two centres, the larger being Flims Waldhaus which dates back to 745 AD. The lifts, however, are at Flims Dorf, and Europe's first chair lift was built here in 1945 (entirely out of wood, with steel being in short supply after World War II), linking the resort to Foppa. The resort's history as a tourist resort dates back a further 70 years before that first chair lift, when the local pastor had the idea to build an hotel, the Kurhaus Waldhaus, with 120 beds. Walks to a newly built restaurant at Lake Cauma were also constructed and the initiative was so successful that illustrious guests began to arrive, the hotel was enlarged and a casino added by the time the Dutch Queen Wilhelmine arrived in 1893. The tourist office opened in 1904 and winter sports were embraced straight after the war ended. The Naraus - Cassons cable car was completed in 1956. In 1978 this was extended up to the Vorab glacier, where a chair lift and two T Bar lifts are operational. In 1996 the Mountain Transportation Companies of Flims and Laax combined to form the White Arena Corporation.
Laax is the name that the tourist office of the villages of Flims, Laax and Falera prefer to be collectively known by. Flims itself, the largest of the three, is made up of two centres, the larger being Flims Waldhaus which dates back to 745AD. The Tourist Office promotes these two centres as well as Laax and Falera, neighbouring villages, as one place in terms of facilities. The lifts however are at Flims Dorf (as well as Laax and Falera) and Europe's first chair lift was built here in 1945, linking the resort to Foppa. There is a huge sunny ski area between them and Laax/Falera, called simply Laax, which is crowned by the Vorab glacier.
Beginners can start off their skiing careers on the wide gentle nursery slopes by Flims Dorf or take the chairlift up to 1,410 metres at Foppa. 36% of the terrain suits intermediates, as does the 44% of trails graded easy, giving most cruisers four-fifths of this huge area to enjoy. Recent investment in lifts includes the new eight seater gondola 'Arena Express' from Flims to Nagens, and a new six seater chair from Plaun to Crap Sogn Gion, so it's easy to get back up the mountain quickly too.
Highlights for good skiers, who have 22% of the terrain graded black, include the downhill from Vorab to Alp Ruschein (6km (4 miles) of pure joy") and the World Cup Descent from Crap down to Laax offers its own special challenges. Other favourites for good skiers and experts are the black down from Cassons Grat to Naraus and, at the end of the day, the long descent through the trees down from Nagens, which can ultimately continue on to Flims Walhaus. So you can ski back to the resort centre, even if you need transport to get to the lifts from there in the morning.
If your children are aged four years or older, there are the excellent new Snow Wonderlands Village at the base stations of Flims Laax and Falera with integral lift.
Although Flims Waldhaus has the majority of the facilities, those looking for lively nightlife are more likely to find the action in the slopeside bars such as the Iglu at the base station in Flims. The nearby bar is also busy as soon as the lifts close and can continue right through the night.
Waldhaus has the more sophisticated, and quieter après ski scene, with more emphasis on refined live music and gourmet dining.
Laax is a particularly good places for children to learn to board as the Snow Wonderland Village incorporates many snowboarding features such as a mini half-pipe and mini boarder-cross and a big snowboard Tipi base.
The resort has snowboard-insiders Reto Poltera and Martin Garbeli working all season and they guarantee that the obstacle parks and boardercross are always up to the newest standards. The resort also boasts a "Pipe Monster" - a pipe groomer - that will ensure that the halfpipes are always in the best condition and keep them trimmed down to 6.7meters.