Could Arosa Lenzerheide be Switzerland's ultimate family ski destinations?

With six dedicated children’s areas, snow gardens like Honeyland Prätschli and a multitude of gentle blue pistes, Arosa Lenzerheide is the ultimate family-friendly ski destination..Thursday, 24 October 2019

By Tourism Switzerland
The ski region Arose Lenzerheide, a jewel in the Swiss canton of Graubünden, is one of Switzerland’s largest ski areas with 140 miles of groomed pistes.
The ski region Arose Lenzerheide, a jewel in the Swiss canton of Graubünden, is one of Switzerland’s largest ski areas with 140 miles of groomed pistes.
photo by Getty

The Swiss canton of Graubünden is home to some of the world’s most famous ski resorts. Iconic destinations such as  St Moritz, Davos and Klosters draw A-listers from across the globe with their diverse slopes, plush hotels and glittering independent boutiques. However, ask a local what the jewel in Graubünden’s ski crown is and you might just be surprised by the answer: Arosa Lenzerheide.  

Some seven miles as the crow flies over snow-capped mountains from Davos lies the tranquil town of Arosa. Surrounded by pine forest and overlooking the frozen Obersee Lake, Arosa has been a bolthole for mountain-loving travellers since 1877. Hop one mountain range further west and you’ll find the resort of Lenzerheide, which extends along a forest-filled valley, encompassing Lake Heidsee and several lift- and piste-linked villages.

The Urdenbahn cable-car, completed in 2014, links Lenzerheide and Arosa to create one of Switzerland’s largest ski areas with 140 miles of groomed pistes. With six dedicated children’s areas and a plethora of gentle blue pistes linking more than 40 mountain restaurants, it’s easy to see why Arosa Lenzerheide is great for families. 

Tots can find their ski legs in sheltered snow gardens such as Honeyland Prätschli and Kinderland Auarara, where magic carpet lifts, ski carousels and mini slalom courses are all free to use. Once they’ve cracked the basics, they can progress to gentle nursery slopes before starting to show up their parents as they ski together on a number of specially marked family trails. 

Tired legs can be rested and flagging spirits revived with a hot chocolate at one of the many mountain huts that dot the wide, meandering pistes. 

Budding freestylers will thrive in the resort’s four snowparks, particularly if they take part in one of the dedicated children’s camps and workshops hosted throughout the season. Best of all, however, are Arosa’s ski schools, which offer free group lessons to kids up to the age of 17 when their family stays for at least two nights in a participating hotel or apartment. 

Youngsters at Honigland, Arosa. The resort is a popular destination for skiing families, with six dedicated children’s areas and a plethora of gentle blue pistes.
Youngsters at Honigland, Arosa. The resort is a popular destination for skiing families, with six dedicated children’s areas and a plethora of gentle blue pistes.
photo by Homberger Arosa

For skiing parents, Arosa Lenzerheide offers a wide selection of family lift tickets, including passes for beginner slopes and snowparks only as well as the Young Family Ticket, which enables parents of children under four to use the same multiday pass. So, while one parent entertains the toddlers, the other one can tackle more challenging slopes or soak up mountain views from one of the resort’s circular ‘ski safari’ routes. 

Family-friendly touches like these extend well beyond the pistes in Arosa Lenzerheide, with a host of activities on offer such as sledging, ice skating, horse-drawn carriage rides, guided winter walks and cross-country skiing. Lenzerheide in particular has spectacular trails that wind through woods and across frozen lakes, with various lengths to suit all ages. There is a varied cross-country skills trail as well as skiing classes designed specially for young kids.

Locals here are big fans of ice sports, so hone your skating skills at the indoor or outdoor ice rinks before trying your hand at curling or ice hockey. There’s also the two mile-long Skateline Albula, a natural ice rink that winds through dense forest along the Albula river — a real family favourite. 

Arosa Lenzerheide also has a huge array of cultural events, from Lenzerheide’s Magic Forest Christmas market, set in the squirrel forest, to Arosa Humorfestival, Switzerland’s largest comedy festival. Both on and off the mountain, the choice of activities is hugely varied. 

More fun for the family

Bear Cave, Arosa
Unleash your cubs on this indoor playground, which has everything from a bouncy castle and climbing tower to a slide and football court.

Night sledging
What could be better than hurtling through snow-laden forests on a sledge? Doing it in the dark! Thrill-seeking families will love the excitement of night-time sledging, which is available every week in Arosa and Lenzerheide.

Squirrel Trail
Get up close and personal with Arosa’s resident squirrels as you follow a dedicated walking trail through their neighbourhood. 

To find out more, visit arosalenzerheide.swiss/en

ESSENTIALS

Getting there and around: Known as The Skiers Airline, SWISS operates up to 180 weekly flights to Zürich and Geneva from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Dublin. Fares start from £51 one-way and the carrier also offers free ski carriage. The easiest way to get around is by train; from Zürich to Lucerne takes 45 minutes, while Arosa Lenzerheide takes a little over two hours. If you’re travelling to Valais, you’ll want to fly into Geneva, while the Bernese Oberland sits between the two and from both airports, the journey will around two hours. 

When to go: Switzerland’s winter season runs from December until April, although it’s possible to ski on glaciers such as Glacier des Diablerets in the Bernese Oberland from October until May, and all year on Saas-Fee and Zermatt in Valais.

To find out more, visit myswitzerland.com

Published in the National Geographic Traveller (UK) Winter Sports guide 2019

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