Davos is one of the highest towns in Europe, sitting at an altitude of 1,560m. The two resorts are well connected with access by car or train from Zurich Airport in less than 3 hours. Davos shares its ski area with Klosters, which in turn offers skiers and boarders a linked area amounting to 320km of mainly intermediate-friendly runs, plus some epic off-piste itineraries for those in search of powder.
Davos extends for several miles alongside the Landwasser River. The resort has two main centres – (1) Davos Dorf and (2) Davos Platz, each one mile apart from each other with a mix in between the two, of offices, apartments, hotels, high end shops, tearooms and casinos as well as much more. Those wanting something less gritty and more chocolate box, should consider Klosters. A favourite of some senior Royals, Klosters has a rural, family-friendly atmosphere, despite it being a sizeable village (it is the Graubünden’s sixth-largest holiday resort).
It is also worth mentioning that it is also an Alpine foodie mecca, with more Gault Millau gourmet points (the Swiss equivalent of Michelin stars) per square mile than anywhere else in the country. Both Davos and Klosters offer a wide range of accommodation, with plenty of hotels and apartments and some chalets.
Davos is known to many due to it playing host each January to the World Economic Forum, and so it is no surprise that large groups are very well catered in terms of infrastructure. Davos also is the home of the world famous Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research. The area consists of 6 separate sectors located on both sides of a steep valley, and stretch from Rinerhorn to the South West of Davos; via Jacobshorn, Pischa and Schatzalp-Strela above Davos Platz; to Parsenn the largest sector that reaches all the way from Davos Dorf to Klosters; and finally onto Madrisa to the North-East of Klosters Dorf. Have a look at the piste map to see for yourself.
As well as the 320 km of Alpine runs, there is over 200km of cross-country ski trails. Most of the skiing on offer are blues and reds – just perfect for intermediates and those who wish to leisurely cruise from piste to piste. There are both marked and unpatrolled itineraries to keep advanced skiers happy, the more remote of which are best and most safely enjoyed with a guide. The pistes themselves are long and winding, some over 10 kilometres, our favourite being the route from Weissfluhgipfel across the high open bowls and down through the trees all the way, to Klosters (1190m). For those wishing to brush up on your technique, there are plenty of ski schools in Davos and Klosters to help you improve.
December – April
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At the Davos end of the map, the best beginner zone is located at the base of the Jakobshorn ski area, where two draglifts and a nursery area offer a great starting point for first timers. From here, there is good progression on the gentle blues further up the mountain and also on the Parsenn. Above Klosters, there is another good and snowsure beginner zone at the top of the Madrisabahn gondola. In all sectors downloading at the end of the day is advised to avoid the busy and steep resort runs.
The Davos Klosters ski area offers multiple cruisy red and blue runs, some of which are over 10km long. The Parsenn has many wide pistes, perfect for big carving turns (it is best to ski this early as it is very popular!). Much of Klosters’ intermediate skiing can be found at Madrisa. The options from Weissfluhgipfel are countless, whether that be an epic descent into Klosters, or to Kublis with a wonderful meal and railway journey back to Klosters to follow.
Zermatt has its fair share of challenging black runs, but Stockhorn is Zermatt’s experts’ playground, and in good conditions with probably more powder than you can handle. There are also a number of marked In addition to great off-piste, Davos and Klosters also have a number of challenging black runs and eleven unmarked, but mapped ski routes. If it is bumps you are faster, head for beneath the Schwarzeealp chair on Gotschnagrat or piste number one off the top of the Weissfluhgipel. A favourite is the Rinerhorn – a wide black run descending from Nüllisch Grat through woods and fields to the cable car station giving over 1,000m of vertical descent. The only run back into Davos is a black piste, which is really, less than ideal. As it cuts short 200m from the village, leaving an icy walk to finish on tired legs, most people sensibly opt for the funicular down from the half-way station. Another thrilling run is the wonderfully long run from Madrisa down to Schlappin – red most of the way but rated black for the last section.
Jakobshorn has a park with kickers/tables/superpipe/rails at the top of Jutz chair and T-bar. The park has 2 kicker lines. The medium kicker line features 2 smaller jumps followed by 2 larger ones, and the difficult line has a medium kickers followed by a massive one. Alongside the medium line runs a rail line, featuring a number of flat-down rails and boxes. The halfpipe starts halfway down the difficult kicker line, and is a 120m well shaped beauty.
Davos offers plenty of other activities besides skiing. Ice hockey, ice skating, speed skating and curling are all popular, both to play and to watch, with a choice of ice rinks including Europe’s largest natural ice rink. Davos, a sprawling town, offers a wide range of activities and entertainments for skiers and non-skiers alike. As well as Alpine skiing and boarding, the choice of winter-sports includes ice skating, curling, corss-country skiing, tobogganing and winter walking. Other sports available in Davos include paragliding, hang-gliding, indoor tennis, swimming and a climbing wall. Davos also offers a wide range of shops and a plenty of exhibitions and events.
Ice skating and curling in Davos
Ice skating, curling, ice hockey and speed skating are all popular with a choice of Europe’s largest natural ice rink, an outdoor artificial ice rink, a large ice stadium and a smaller rink at the base of Parsenn. There’s also an ice rink at the leisure centre in Klosters.
Ice hockey and speed skating in Davos
There’s often a chance to watch high profile events too; Davos hosts the International Speed Skating Championships and the renowned pro ice hockey Spengler Cup and from September – March each winter ice hockey matches are an almost weekly occurrence. As well as hosting the Spengler Cup and numerous other matches, Davos’ ice hockey team HC Davos were the Swiss Champions for the 30th time in 2010/11 and Davos is the only ski resort in Switzerland offering Swiss premier league ice hockey – great fun to watch live!
Winter walking in Davos
For those who enjoy walking there are over 84km of well prepared winter walking paths, popular routes are around the Davos Lake, along the river from Platz towards Frauenkirch and the Hohenweg, which runs parallel to main street from Dorf to Platz but higher up. Klosters also has some excellent walking.
Cross-country skiing in Davos
Davos is one the most important centres in Switzerland for cross-country skiing. The Swiss Cross-country ski team home and training camp is based in Davos (most athletes live here) and there are no fees to use the cross-country tracks in Davos Klosters! 75km of Nordic track stretch from Glaris to beyond Wolfgang with branches into the side valleys of Sertig, Dischma and Flüela. A 2.5 km floodlit loop at the entrance to Dischma is also open from 18.00 to 21.30. Each year the Flüela runs challenge the world’s best skiers during the Nordic FIS World Cup Races. Klosters also has good cross-country skiing on 35km of freshly groomed tracks for skating and classic with options to meet the needs of beginners and advanced cross-country skiers.
Tobogganing in Davos
At Rinerhorn there is sledge run, which is seriously steep in sections and is often manic with children belting down out of control. Floodlit until 9pm, goggles are essential! There is also a sledge run down from the hotel at Schatzalp accessed by the mountain railway from Davos Platz. There’s also a five mile toboggan run in Klosters from Madrisa to Saas.
Wintersports and Art Museums in Davos
There is also a wintersports museum tracing the development of equipment and clothing through the years, as well as a museum dedicated to the expressionist painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, who lived in Davos between 1917 and 1938. A folk museum, a doll museum, a mining museum and a museum of medicine complete the list.
View the live snow report for Davos Klosters here
The Madrisa ski area is heavily focused on families and children. Madrisa Land is the attraction for families with children. Children from 0-6 years old are cared for daily by qualified employees in the Stutzli Children’s Club. A comfortable, well-equipped play hut is available free of charge for all children. They can play there safely without supervision. A special play corner is available in the self-service part of the Bergrestaurant Saaseralp. Children’s menus and child-sized portions are of course available. The Madrisa Land is a 90,000 m2 adventure park located directly at the mountain station of the gondola lift offering various winter fun attractions. A tubing run, children’s obstacle course, giant slalom and speed measurement course are awaiting the visitors. Numerous people movers, funny characters and a bouncy castle are available for the children.
Families can enjoy a relaxing time at Bolgen, at the foot of the Jakobshorn. The slope near the Bolgen lift can also be observed well from the restaurant. While the little ones discover the fun of skiing in the children’s ski school with its Disney obstacle course, the parents can sunbathe in a beach chair. The wide slopes on the Jakobshorn are suitable for the whole family.
The children can have fun on the Zwergenparcours (children’s obstacle course) at the Trainerlift. Naughty dwarves and friendly witches line the path, a seesaw offers fun and the final jump at the end of the obstacle course, will cause children’s hearts to race. The 3.5 km long toboggan run with snow-making capabilities is also very popular with families.
There is no children’s area at Parsenn. The ski and boarder cross course is suitable for the whole family. Those that want to practice in peace with their children can visit the valley lifts in Klosters.
Intercontinental Davos Hotel
Hotel Piz Buin
Davos Klosters lies at the heart of Grisons in east Switzerland. If you are arriving by car, take the motorway in the direction of Chur and then take the Landquart exit heading for Davos. During the journey you will be put in the mood for your holiday by the fantastic mountain landscape. In the winter, heavy snowfalls may make snow chains essential from Klosters (unless arriving by all-wheel vehicle). For electric vehicles there are two charging stations.
You can access Davos Klosters with ease by air. Fly to Zurich and travel on from the airport by rail, shuttle bus or taxi.
At www.sbb.ch you will find all timetable information for your journey by public transport to, in and around Davos Klosters by train (Swiss national rail – SBB / Rhaetian railway – RhB) incl. post van and local bus in Davos (VBD) and Klosters-Serneu