News from the snow
Lenzerheide is a spa resort and lies at the top of the pass between Chur and Tiefencastel in eastern Switzerland. The two villages of Lenzerhedide and Valbella which make up the resort were once separated by the Heidsee Lake, but expansion along the lakeside has seen the two areas virtually merge into each other. As much a summer as winter destination, both resorts are long-established and traditional. Hotels are built in the traditional Swiss style and their setting is stunning with lake, woodland and mountain views. Set in a high altitude valley at 1500m the area is a real playground offering a wide range of summer and winter activities. Aside from alpine pistes Lenzerheide-Valbella has more than 50km of prepared cross-country tracks and more than 85km of signposted hiking paths for the pleasure of long winter rambles. Lenzerheide first became popular as a summer holiday destination and really took off in 1882 with the converstaion of the old dairy into the 30-bed Hotel Kurhaus. The Old Post, now the Hotel Danis, did appear earlier but there were no guest rooms, only four beds for cattle traders and travelling merchants. During that first summer the Kurhaus took in a total of 13 guests but word soon got out and the following summer every bed was booked for the entire season. The little San Carlo Church founded the core of the town in 1885 and the Hotel Lenzerhorn was next to appear a couple of years later. The main complex of the Grand Hotel Kurhaus was erected in 1899 and it was Mr and Mrs Cantieni from the Kurhaus who made an investigative trip and returned convinced that Lenzerdeide was the ideal location for a wintersports resort. The first funicular tram was built in the Val Sporz area leading up to Tgantieni and even during WW2 a ski lift was built to the top of Piz Scalottas. With the installation of the aerial tramway to the peak of Rothorn in 1962 and the inauguration of the Grisons highest elevation aerial tramway on Christmas Day 1963, both flanks of the valley were made accessible to tourists.
Two centres with a large, mostly intermediate standard ski area between them. Particularly good sports facilities include more than 38 different activities on offer, some based in the excellent Sportzentrum Dieschen.
The east-facing Danis has a top elevation of 2323m - that's about 500m lower than the west facing mountain's. But Danis has the majority of the slopes and a lot more variety. Luckily, you don't have to choose between any of them; you can ski in a circle around the valley. Lenzerheide has a total of 155km alpine pistes as well as more than 50km of prepared cross-country tracks.
The snow cover in the area is usually good but during warm and sunny days it might be a little less. Lenzerheide is developing their artificial snow systems to cover more slopes. On higher altitudes (1800m above sea level and higher) natural snow is assured. Lenzerheide has Switzerland's longest illuminated run for night skiing. The Taeli slope on Alp Staetz is floodlit every Friday evening from December to March.
Off the slopes children are well catered for; at Lake Lenzerheide theres the "Mini Lenzerhorn", a climbing wall especially for children with climbing gear available for rental. The Pirates' Shipwreck is ideal for adventurous play complete with hanging bridge, ferry float, play stream, pirates' island and a 40cm deep pool for safe swimming.
At "Cow Villa" Show Farm you can get right up close to the animals, watch and be part of the day to day routine, including feeding the cattle and helping out with the yoghurt-making process. Guided tours are available of the farm are available too as well as cheese-tasting sessions.
To ensure quality at all times, the shapers are charged with maintaining optimum conditions in the snow park each day throughout the winter season.