I’d talked myself out of the toboggan challenge hours before it took place. I mean, who’d want to steer a hard wooden sleigh, in the cold of night, with extremely limited control of the steering?
But after a great fondue evening in a remote hut, tramping through snow by moonlight and having ‘one for the road’ in a hotel deep in the woods … that person was me!
My friends and I were in Arosa to see what this more remote Swiss resort has to offer, and all agreed – it’s underrated!
We also agreed the best plan was definitely not to go with the main group who knew where they were going, but to finish our drinks and find our own way back down the mountain. Well, how hard can it be?
Two hours of slippery steering (and crashing) through the pine trees later we had to fess up to ‘pretty hard’, but I wouldn’t have missed it!
Remote Arosa lies in the heart of the Swiss canton, Graubünden – Switzerland’s top holiday spot, and the Alps’ highest holiday region.
Working hard to attract more visitors, the resort recently opened a new 150-person cable car linking it with nearby Lenzerheide, and creating a combined ski area of around 225km of slopes to suit all levels.
The ski area is a pretty, friendly place, with good, wide slopes and plenty of tree-lined runs – and, very appealing, sunshine!
You’re as likely to see people zipping by on their toboggans and out hiking as you are whizzing down the slopes, which gives the place a distinctive feel.
But ahead of all of this, you have to get there, which is part of the holiday treat in itself!
The Rhaetian Railway
The town sits in snug, sheltered basin, high above the spa town of Chur. It’s an hour by train, and by far the easiest – and coolest – way to arrive.
The railway’s also deeply rooted in this region’s history, celebrating the 100th year of this 26km line in 2014.
Popping into the small red carriages adds an air of adventure, as it chugs past waving hikers, horn screeching, and making the occasional request stop at small stations that could add eye candy to many a movie.
Travel in winter and you’ll see walls of snow and ice frosted treescapes as you journey up through zagged steep valleys and over frozen rivers.
And if you want to take a really interesting journey, check out the company’s full moon rides. We didn’t get the chance to, but it’s now on my ‘to do’ list.
Graubünden is Switzerland’s largest canton, boasting 1,000 mountain peaks, 150 valleys and 615 lakes.
It’s also very culturally diverse, with many people speaking German, Italian and Romanic. This makes for regional recipes that are not to be missed.
Dining out can include gastro delights such as the traditional Romansh dish capuns, to air-dried meats, potato-based dishes and Salsiz sausages. The food is satisfying and simple, reflecting the demands of people’s active lifestyles.
It’s also a good place to risk the local wine and beer. We found it very tasty!
Others might like to spend their evenings getting pampered at one of the many spa and wellness hotels that Arosa has to offer, which can include everything from holistic stone and light settings, to massage, music and scented water!
The Sunstar Hotel
Skibible stayed at the Sunstar Hotel, a friendly, well-run place that offers a five-star personal service. The food’s good, there’s plenty of indulgent spa and wellness options … and a free mini bar.
For more information see www.MySwitzerland.com, call the Switzerland Travel Centre on International freephone 00800 100 200 30 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Swiss International Air Lines
UK to Zurich:
SWISS offers up to 110 weekly flights from London Heathrow, London City, Birmingham and Manchester to Zurich. Fares start from £63* one-way. Our fares include all airport taxes: one piece hold luggage and free ski carriage (exclude “hand luggage only” fare). (*Please note this is a leading fare and is subject to change, availability and may not be available on all flights. Terms and conditions apply.) For reservations call 0845 6010956 or visit: www.swiss.com
UK & Ireland to Switzerland:
SWISS operates up to 200 weekly flights to Switzerland from London Heathrow, London City, London Gatwick (seasonal during winter), Manchester, Birmingham and Dublin from as little as £38 one-way* (Geneva Economy Light Fare only includes hand luggage). The all-inclusive fares start from £63 one-way*, including all airport taxes.
(*Please note this is a leading fare and is subject to change, availability and may not be available on all flights. Terms and conditions apply.) For reservations call 0845 6010956 or visit: www.swiss.com.
Swiss Travel System
The Swiss Travel System provides a dedicated range of travel passes and tickets exclusively for visitors from abroad. The Swiss Transfer Ticket covers a round-trip between the airport/Swiss border and your destination.
Prices are £104 in second class and £167 in first class.
For the ultimate Swiss rail
Offers a choice of three properties in the resort of Arosa in Switzerland, including the 4* Sunstar Alpine Hotel where a week’s half board starts from £1,319 per person, including return scheduled flights, 1st class return rail transfers and 6-day whole area lift pass. Added value extras include free ski school for under 17s, a free room upgrade (2015/16) and free ski hire for selected weeks. For more information please visit www.inghams.co.uk or call 01483 791 114.