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Flims Laax Falera, Switzerland

A splendid, spacious area with high slopes and great lifts, just 90 minutes from Zürich airport.

Flims Laax Falera has an impressive 137 miles of mainly intermediate slopes. The resort is very popular with weekenders and has invested in some large-capacity lifts, including a 3-stage gondola from Flims, a jumbo gondola from Laax and several high-speed chair lifts. It can be very quiet during the week, and it is virtually unknown outside the Swiss and German markets. It deserves better. Don’t be put off by the unfortunate (for English-speakers) local name for ‘peak’, which is ‘crap’. All the mountain tops are called crap, a top après-ski venue is the Crap Bar and the tourist office has used the slogan ‘Flims is crap’ in promotions.

There are very long runs from the tops of three different interconnected mountains, amid stunning scenery – all ideal for adventurous intermediates. And there’s plenty to play around on in all areas. The two main drawbacks are its sunny orientation, which can soon spoil the snow on the lower part of the mountain , and the lack of any sense of real Alpine in the villages. Now there’s a third: their new trail map uses a unique classification system unlike any other we have seen. Formerly black and red runs have become green (to signify ‘Allround Slope’), red now means ‘Freestyle Slope’, off-trail areas are shaded yellow, black diamonds have appeared. Confused? We are.

What’s Great

  • Extensive, varied slopes suitable for all but experts
  • Impressive lift system
  • Virtually liftline-free on weekdays
  • Fair number of slopes above 2000m/6500ft, partly offsetting effects of their sunny south-east orientation
  • Lots of wooded runs for bad-weather days
  • Just 90 minutes from Zurich airport

What’s Not-So-Great

  • Though well intentioned, the unique trail grading system is confusing
  • Sunny orientation can cause icy or slushy slopes and shut lower runs
  • Buses or long walks to lifts from much of the accommodation
  • Very subdued in the evenings
  • Village very spread out, which detracts from its charm
  • Weekend crowds
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