Winter came very late to Truckee/Lake Tahoe area. We had very little snow during January and February. Luckily due to snow making, the ski season was not a bust. In March, we had made plans to go to Davos, Switzerland to ski with dear, longtime friends. Of course, it started snowing in Truckee/Lake Tahoe area the moment we left town. Hopefully, for those in California they enjoyed the new snow and lovely powder. We enjoyed new snow in Davos and some brilliant days.
Snow can be a lucky omen. While the snow at home was much appreciated, even more so we appreciated escaping the East Coast just hours before a ‘nor’easter‘ arrived to shut down most of the eastern USA. We traveled from San Francisco, CA via Newark, NJ to Zurich, Switzerland so we were very lucky to make our flights. While we were gone, the east coast had two more huge storms and delayed many flights when we planned to come home too. Again, luckily we had booked a Zurich-London-San Francisco flight and left a day after the last big east coast storm.
The Davos-Klosters valley area is rimmed with mountain ski and boarding resorts which are all accessible with one Regional Ski Pass called a ‘Rega’. The Rega also gives the holder access to trains and buses between the ski towns and within the towns. So once you reach Zurich, you don’t need a car for anything! To get to the region we bought round-trip train tickets from Zurich Airport Railway (just downstairs from baggage claim) to Davos. Then we used our Rega and Hotel Bus Pass for transportation all over the region.
See Adobe PDF maps of the overall ski area:
Parsenn and Madrisa:
Jakobshorn and Rinerhorn and Pisha
You can review the mountains and more information about the area here:
On this website, you can see the ski pass fees and the Regional Pass which you can purchase for consecutive days. Don’t worry that you may not ski or board one day. There are plenty of gondolas and lifts that take you around the mountains with just your walking snow shoes. You still generally come out ahead with this access plus being able to ride the local trains and buses.
If you are making your own accommodation bookings, recommend that you take a look at these two websites:
Often these hotels will offer some free additions such as regional ski pass or breakfast along with accommodation. It is worth checking and asking for any special promotions.
Booking.com, hotwire.com and other traditional web accommodation sites can also be used to price compare.
We stayed at the Gemsli, a small pension. This hotel has rooms and guests share the facilities. A few blocks walk from the Davos Dorf Train Station.
Davos (yes, the same town where the World Economic Forum is held yearly) is constantly in flux. Some old building remain, many modern structures from the last 40 years are regularly torn down and modern structures are added. But the town still retains a small town feel and has many quaint features.
We generally start out the trip with a day to rent skis and poles, get our regional passes and take a walk around Lake Davos, ‘Davoser See’. The lake is partially drained at the start of winter. Often freezes enough to walk on and has a beautiful walking trail away from traffic.
Below are some pictures from different ski areas.
Rinerhorn, probably the least crowded of the mountains. It has one main gondola with a run back down to the gondola entrance and many runs reached by T-bar lifts. It also has great sledding tracks.
Jakobshorn, is another great mountain. It has great skiing, restaurants, activities and walking trails. We skied there two days, but one day was lots of snow and the other was skiing so not many pictures.
A few of us decided to just go for a walk on Jakobshorn and it was a beautiful walk. We took the chair lift up to meet the group at the restaurant for lunch and then walked down to Cavadel and then took the bus back to town.
Another day when it was snowing a lot, we took the train from Davos Dorf to Klosters and walked around then took the train back to Davos Dorf. Train pass was included with our ski and bus pass.
We also took a bus out to Madrisa ski area to look around. You can either ski down to Klosters from Parsenn runs and then take the bus to Madrisa and ski or just take the train and bus to the Madrisa ski area. Unfortunately, it was snowing so hard that we didn’t see too much on the gondola ride up and down. Our group did not make it back to that area to ski another day so I don’t have pictures.
Parsenn ski area is the largest area and has the most runs. It seems like the runs go on forever and it has many mountains to cover. Parsenn is reached by either the Parsenn Bahn which is a funicular railway in Davos Dorf or by the Gotschna Cable Car from Klosters. We skied here many days. If you are not skiing, you can see much of the mountain and get to many mountain restaurants by taking the Parsenhutte Cable Car or the Schifer Cable Car.
Views around the top of the Parsennbahn:
Views from taking the run down to the Parsennhutte Tram:
View of the Schifer Gondola and restaurants within walking distance of the gondola:
A friend and I took this trip on the Schifer without skis and had a lovely day!
A few pictures of the run from Parsenn to Klosters, a beautiful long run.
The run to Klosters is always a highlight of this trip as you get to ski so much different terrain and have so many beautiful views. Part of the group took the Gotschna Cable Car back up to the mountain to continue skiing and others took the train back to town. From Parsenn you can also ski down Wolfgang and take a bus to Davos or ski down to Davos from the Rapid ski run at the top of the bahn. These runs are definitely advanced intermediate or expert depending on your definition.
Another place to see great views is to take the Parsennbahn down the mountain in the front car. The trains meet along the route and on a clear day the views are amazing.
I hope this gives you a taste of the beauty and vastness of skiing from Davos, Switzerland. My next post will be of the last few days of our trip in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Until the next time – be adventurous and enjoy this short life! Vicki and Bob