Skiing the new Arosa-Lenzerheide area

30th January 2014, by Abi Butcher

The Swiss resorts of Arosa and Lenzerheide linked up two weeks ago

The Swiss resorts of Arosa and Lenzerheide linked up two weeks ago

Two weeks ago, a huge cable car opened, linking the Swiss resorts of Arosa and Lenzerheide, whisking 150 people between two peaks Hörnli (2,511m) and Urdenfürggli (2,546m) on a five-minute journey. The combined ski areas now tot up to 225km — and as one WTSS reader put it, makes skiing in Arosa worthwhile again.

Arosa is a stunning Swiss ski resort

Arosa itself has only 70km pistes, the majority of which are blues and reds. Though I don’t quite get the piste marking system here — many of the blues are simply paths and some stretches have the odd steep pitch; while the blacks are the sort of steepness I’d usually expect on a red. No matter, this is a resort perfect for beginners and intermediates, so long as you don’t mind the odd stretch of walking with your skis. It’s littered with walking and sledging tracks and people go snow-shoeing: Arosa is a proper, old-fashioned Swiss wintersports destination.

The cable car between Arosa and Lenzerheide can transport 150 skiers

The link with Lenzerheide is accessed very easily, via the Hörnli Express — a long gondola that might amass a sizeable queue as the weather warms up — or the Hörnli chair. Pop out the other side and you’re faced with a busy red run (20), the only way down into Lenzerheide and when I skied it on Tuesday people were sliding and side-slipping their way down it (in the bad weather). But the crowds soon disperse and you’re faced with 155km of pistes, many of which are among the treeline so perfect for bad conditions. The pistes in Lenzerheide are wider than in Arosa, but they had more icy patches the day I visited.

I chose the 20a, then 28 down to Parpan (1,493m), from where you walk with skis on to begin with, then take them off to cross a main road, to Proschieri, from where I took the Stätzerhorn up into what feels like a moonscape — smooth, glistening royal-icing like peaks. Skiing alone, I sped down the 60, 61, 55, 55a — thoroughly enjoyable red run cruising. No nasty surprises, but enough steeps to keep me interested and all the time surrounded by stunning views.

Skiing through the trees into Parpan in Lenzerheide

I stopped to catch my breath in Resto Piz Scalottes at 2,323m — where a hot chocolate set me back CHF4.50 (about £3) and if I’d stopped for lunch I could have enjoyed the three-course set menu for CHF28. What I really liked (a fact that would have been lost on Editors Watts and Gill) was that there was a large bottle of OPI hand cream in the ladies bathroom. Very handy if, like me, you get very dry skin at altitude and very thoughtful: it was not a posh restaurant, but it was Switzerland.

The only annoying thing about skiing this whole 225km area is that you have to take a bus from one side of Lenzerheide to another — or walk, as I did from Parpan to Proschieri. This doesn’t worry me, nor probably many of our readers, but I could imagine it would deter some less committed skiers. It’s a faff and an effort, as there are two lines (red and blue), and I couldn’t work out which way went which when I arrived at Val Sportz after speeding down an empty red 40. I got on the wrong bus and it stopped at the main Post Office, spitting out all of its passengers there. But, the drivers were all very friendly and helped me on to the right bus, telling me where to get off when we got to Rothorn. The whole business took about 15-20 minutes, which isn’t long, but it was 1pm when I got off the bus and I was anxious to get some more miles on Rothorn before stopping for lunch.

Stunning view of Lenzerheide from Restaurant Scharmoin

As it was, I went straight to Scharmoin restaurant and grill, newly opened for this season at the join between Rothorn 1 and 2. This area of Grisons is known for its hunting and game — I had been feasting on venison and wild boar throughout my visit — so I chose a delicious venison carpaccio served with wild rocket, shavings of parmesan and truffle oil. Amazing, superb, delicious but not especially cheap — CHF26, though restaurant owner Dani is incredibly welcoming and the views from here are simply spectacular.

With tiring legs, I scooted up Rothorn 2 to the summit (2,865m) and took the only way down — a red (21) round a very boring, flat and cold tunnel marked “Galerie” on the piste map. Luckily at this point it was an easy ski back to my hotel — the amazing Tschuggen Grand with its own private mountain railway. One of the top hotels in Switzerland, this place doesn’t disappoint, and I heartily recommend a visit to the spa and a massage after a long day in the new linked ski area. I’ll certainly be back.

Back to all blogs

Recent blogs

Share |