Davos ski resort
Davos is one of the world’s oldest ski resorts with some of the first downhill ski trips in the Alps being recorded here 120 years ago.
Today, modern Davos has an air of a small town rather than a simple ski resort and certainly has an identity outside of winter sports. Those arriving at the end of January may find world leaders and their entourages in town attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, while other visitors are drawn to the town’s extensive health and spa facilities, with numerous private clinics available.
But Davos does have skiing in its DNA, and its slopes, shared with the neighbouring village of Klosters, are some of Switzerland’s most extensive with 350km (220 miles) of piste that’s considered by many skiers and boarders to be among the best in the Alps.
Off the slopes, the highest city in Europe has a wide range of facilities and activities available, including Europe’s largest natural ice-rink and, of course, world class spa facilities.
Davos is located in the easterly canton of Graubünden, a region where Alpine peaks and valleys dominate. The Wolfgang Pass and Prättigau Valley connect Davos to Landquart, the main junction for routes north (to Zurich) and west.
On the slopes
The Davos-Klosters region offers varied runs for all ability levels. Most of the more demanding runs are at lower elevations, within the trees, where the valley sides are steepest. In all, there are five distinct ski areas, each served by an extensive lift system.
The largest and busiest is Parsenn, which peaks at the 2,844m (9,331ft). From here, a 12km-long (7.5-mile), 2,034m (6,673ft) descent runs to Küblis, but this is only navigable when the snow cover is at its most extensive. This is a historic ski route and one of the first to be completed by the earliest downhill skiers, long before the arrival of the whirring ski lifts . Meanwhile the Jakobshorn, across the valley, is favoured by snowboarders and has halfpipe and snowboard parks.
Both the Parsenn and Jakobshorn ski areas are suited to beginners, with gentle nursery slopes and easy intermediate runs; while the slightly more advanced can make the most of the Rinerhorn and Pischa domains, with their handful of ungroomed runs.
Off piste, it’s possible for experienced ski tourers to ski as far as Arosa, but this is a major undertaking, entailing three hours of hiking and a three-hour return by train.
The ski season in Davos runs from mid-November until the end of April and thanks to its high-altitude slopes it is normally one of the more snowsure destinations in the Alps.