“I can see snooooow!!!”
– Every year I am looking forward to this day. When suddenly huge snowy mountains appear in front of me. When the landscape slowly turns from looking grey and dusty into a white magic winter wonderland. That’s the time for the first shred, the first ride down a snowy piste and that first true winter feeling.
Arrival in Laax, Switzerland
When researching for a perfect snow resort a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon a modern and trendy hostel, the Rider’s Palace, situated in Laax (Swiss Alps). Even though I only stayed there for two days I absolutely fell in love with Laax and these are the reasons why snowboarding there ‘rocks like hell’.
1. Huge ski area: Nagens, Falera, Flims, Laax
Laax offers a very wide ski and snowboard area with 235km of pistes, 4 snowparks and the Europe’s biggest halfpipe. With your ski pass you can also reach the ski areas Flims, Nagens and Falera and that without paying extra.
Guide Melanie and me overlooking the ski area
2. Best Fun Park
Laax has been awarded for being the region with the ‘best snow and funparks’ from the “Best Ski Resort” Awards in 2012 and offers something for every level, beginners and professionals alike. There are about 90 obstacles, divided in four funparks.
3. Watching the pros while having delicious drinks at the ‚No Name Cafe’
The stylish and laid back cafe ‘No Name’ overlooks the superpipe and the snowparks of Crap Sogn Gion. With sounds, snacks and an outside-terrace it makes sure that you have a great time and gives you the opportunity to watch some real pros, such as Sina Candrian and Nicolas Mueller, who both grew up in the region. And to be honest: the cool and laid-back cafe serves probably the best espresso I ever had. Also available: soups, hot dogs and a large selection of beverages.
‘No Name’ cafe and terrace
4. Testing the first Porsche lift… with heated seats and panorama view
The time for cold bumps is over… at least when taking the newly designed Porsche lift. Seats are heated and the lift turns at an angle of 45° to give you an excellent view above the ski area. Definitely one hell of an idea if you ask me because there is nothing better than warming up from the icy temperatures while watching other snowboarders below you.
5. Cheaper Ski Lifts with LAAX+
Also new is the concept to offer cheaper tickets depending on availability. On LAAX+ you can find tickets for only 39,- CHF (this is half price of a normal ticket). You only have to book in advance, actually with one little drawback: you can’t give the tickets back, also if the weather conditions are bad. But most of the time the weather conditions are adorable and with a half-price ticket definitely worth a big smile on your face.
6. Beginner or professional? Doesn’t matter!
Laax makes sure that there are pistes and lifts for every level to guarantee fun to every single person, who visits the snowy mountain area.
7. Ski ramps and trampoline jumping at the unique Freestyle Academy
Probably the coolest thing I have ever done. The Freestyle Academy is a rebuilt tennis hall and offers everything imaginable to improve your skate, ski and snowboarding skills and also has an area with trampolines and a climbing wall. This is the first freestyle indoor hall in whole Europe and I had the fun of my life. There are always introductory courses with qualified trainers, who prepare you step for step for the big ramp… Still, I have been a freaking fraidy-cat and didn’t dare to race down the ramp (which you see on the left side on the picture below).
8. Party like there is no tomorrow
Even though the village of Laax is quite small there are still many options to party like crazy. The youth hotel Rider’s Palace is not just a place to sleep, but has a kickass club as well for never ending party nights with international artists. We were dancing away to the tunes of “Round Table Knigths” and FJ Igore at the opening party in the beginning of december. Other clubs and bars in the area are ARENA Bar & Club , 2nd Club, Indy Bar & Club and a couple of bars, such as ll Pup, Café Livingruhm, Caprilounge and many others.
Rider’s Palace Club
9. Waking up with style … at the Rider’s Palace
Actually the rooms were quite simple. Just everything you need – shower, toilette, a bed and a little cupboard. But with one very special add-on: a huge window, wich gives you the full view of a fairytale-winter-wonderland. I could have stayed in my bed forever if there wasn’t a snowboard and long pistes waiting for me. The Rider’s Palace itself is very modern and trendy and there have been lots of friendly people.
Morning view from my five-forty room
Rider’s Palace Suite for special comfort
Also check out the the rocksresort, a nice apartment complex, which has been tested by our travelette fellow Frankie during summer time.
10. Brownies and homemade apple pie for breakfast
Yum… if that isnt’t the perfect energy booster for the day. Homemade apple pie and delicious walnut brownies… ! The coffee place ‘Piazza’, which is located just next to the ticket sale counter, offers both sweet and salty pastries for breakfast and healthy salads, sandwiches and much more for lunch.