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Trip Report Flims, Switzerland, Early March

Discussion in 'Europe' started by UAE Slider, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. UAE Slider

    UAE Slider Hard Yards

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    Got to squeeze in a little 4-day snow trip in a place called Flims, a 2 hour train+20 min bus ride from Zurich airport.

    Probably not that well known in Australia but I would say Flims is a good-sized ski resort by European standards, took 3 days to cover most of it. It's mostly an easy to moderate pitch set of slopes, one large bowl that has Flims at its base, then one ridge line/mountain spine extending out from one side of the bowl with runs down both sides. Piste-wise there is enough fun for an experienced slider, though few steep runs. Some of the blue (easy) pistes were very wide and unpopulated with a certain gradient that meant you could challenge your max speed records. Think Ruined Castle at Falls Creek but 10 times longer.

    Apart from being easy to get to and of substantial size, the plentiful, marked, off-piste itineraries (the yellow runs on the piste map) were the major drawcard. Luckily it had snowed 20 cms two days before we arrived so there was enough to cover an icy off-piste base. Now, I'd be lying to say it wasn't well tracked by the time I got on the hill but there was plenty of spare snow, even day 3 and day 4 after the snowfall. There was also plenty of unmarked off-piste, and sidecountry too with reasonably clear exits. Although not my bag, it also has Europe's largest snowpark with two pipes, one large, one small.

    The resort area is served from 3 towns Flims, Laax, and Falera. We stayed in Flims for no other reason that we got a good deal on accommodation and it's the closest to the connecting train station at Chur. Flims sits at 1100 and the highest lifted point is 3018. There are home trails back down to all the towns but you spend most of your time at 1600m and above. The resort faces south-east so is well-protected by weather from the north and also means it (supposedly) has more sunny days than most. Snow quality was excellent above 1800m.

    Flims as a town is quite large, and much larger than Laax but there is no noticeable town centre per se, shops are just strung along a main road with lots of through traffic. So it loses a few charm points but has classic swiss-style apartment blocks. Didn't get to Laax beyond the telecabin at the base but seemed nice enough. Similarly got to the bottom of Falera via an off-piste itinerary and its main impression on me was the smell of cow shit. Clearly more farming community than international ski resort. This town also had the least snow since the slope faced directly south, a 4 metre-wide man-made strip of snow snaking it's way through cow paddocks down to the bottom. Give Falera a miss.

    The place seemed to attract a lot of day trippers on the weekend, mostly from Zurich I guess. It wasn't Mt Buller on a Sunday but there were a few queues around. Weekdays were quiet however. This also meant the town felt dead on weeknights. There are a few bars around but I wouldn't go to Flims to party.

    It is Switzerland, so things are on the expensive side (when you see CHF think USD). Adult lift passes were a whopping CHF85 (same as Zermatt) though was still good value given the recent snowfalls. Kids passes were reasonable at CHF34. An on-the-hill lunch would set you back about CHF20 with most places being large cafeteria-style joints. A beer was about CHF6. Not the worst but there is better value for money elsewhere in Europe.

    We got a great last minute deal for a place called Arena Guesthouse almost directly opposite the main gondola and that was CHF110 per adult per night. But I think that we got lucky there. Norm would be CHF160. We'd thoroughly recommend staying at Arena given central location and pub/bars within the same complex.

    With children? I would recommend it assuming you've got the cash for the adult lift passes. There are lots of kids on the mountain with plenty of magic carpets, wide open spaces and fast beginner runs. There were also lots of rodel tracks. Getting there was super-easy with most of the journey on the train and the connections are seamless. In the end, one would get a better value deal in France or Austria however.

    Overall, I'd recommend Flims for a quick trip in between something else or a long weekend, especially if you can time it with some fresh snow. Without fresh snow, it's probably not the best value for money over a whole week. Without fresh snow, you might also be bored on days 5 and 6 unless the snowpark took your fancy.

    Best run was yellow 82, from Crest La Siala


    Odd cube-shaped building on Flims main street.

    Plenty of carbs for lunch - chilli con carne in a bread roll

    Sausage-fest

    Record collection at the top of Laax cable car off-load


    Looking back across at the main Flims slopes

    Lots of gentle off-piste


    This whole face is an off-piste itinerary. Lots of variety.
     
    Zeroz, shabu_shabu, teckel and 2 others like this.
  2. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I skied Flims/Laax back in 1989 I think. I did like it but now Schwiez ist schon sehr teuer.