Klosters: Alpine charm and top notch skiing at royal favourite
- Credit: swiss-image.ch
A long-time favourite with Prince Charles and his family, the Swiss ski resort of Klosters has picked up a reputation as a destination for the terribly wealthy.
But this pretty little alpine village in the Prattigau Valley, although affluent, is actually not that exclusive.
It certainly doesn’t have the rather flashy vibe of say, St Moritz, and apparently there’s not a single five star hotel to be found.
Instead Klosters has a lovely low-key, unassuming feel, which according to locals is why the Prince of Wales keeps coming back. Another reason, I’m guessing, is the fantastic skiing on offer.
From Klosters you can take a cable car to the slopes of Parsenn, which are linked to neighbouring resort, Davos, or alternatively jump on a gondola to the scenic Madrisa ski area.
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Parsenn boasts 397km of prepared pistes, with something for all abilities. It’s particularly well suited to intermediates though, with lots of lovely wide reds and the odd, not so taxing, black.
My favourite run was the 21, an exhilarating, long red which starts at the top of the mountain, then takes you through the trees, all the way down to the village.
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For a stunning view, take the Gipfelbahn cable car to Weissfluhgipfel, the highest point in the whole ski area. From here there are only black runs down, but those who prefer can return via the cable car. Madrisa, only accessible from Klosters, is smaller but again offers lots of enjoyable reds, and a few blues for beginners.
I was there on a Saturday, expecting packed slopes and long lift queues, but surprised to discover many runs virtually empty.
For children there’s Madrisa Land, a snow park where youngsters can try out, among other activities, tubing, mini skidoos and trampolining.
My only possible gripe with Madrisa was the large number of T-bar lifts. Some went on for so long my legs were rather wobbly towards the end. A few more relaxing chair lifts are definitely needed.
Snowboarders are well catered for at Davos and Klosters, and many head to Davos’s Jakobshorn with its impressive park and super-pipe. Parsenn meanwhile, has a boardercross and night riding, and plays host to international freeride competitions.
When I visited in March there hadn’t been a snowfall for more than a week so there was little point in venturing off the main slopes, but I was told off-piste skiing and boarding is top notch.
If cross-country is your thing you won’t be disappointed. Together the two resorts have 100km of classic trails and 46km of skating trails – and it’s all free.
When it comes to accommodation there’s plenty on offer, from the Klosters Youth Hostel to a range of four-star hotels. I stayed at the four-star Silvretta Parkhotel, the largest hotel in Klosters. The food served at the on-site restaurants was fantastic and the sauna comes complete with a mountain view. Other popular hotels include the Wynegg, a favourite with Brits, the Alpina, and the newly refurbished Piz Buin.
Klosters has lots of decent, albeit pricey, restaurants, but for partying you’d be better off staying in Davos as this little resort falls asleep around 10pm. (There is one night club I’m told.)
The 2014/15 season is a special one for Davos and Klosters, as it marks 150 years of winter tourism for the region. There are a number of events planned, including a retro ice-hockey game in December, a bobsled race between Davos and Klosters in January and a one day festival of celebration in February.
For more information on the events and to read more about both resorts go to davos.ch.
Rooms at Silvretta Parkhotel (silvretta.ch) start at around £210 per night (two sharing).
A six-day adult lift pass for the Davos Klosters ski area is £218.
From Zurich Airport travel by train to Klosters and Davos (with two changes) takes 2.5 hours.