Chasing Sun and Snow: Flims-Laax-Falera, Switzerland

22 Mar

 These days we don’t plan our entire trip in advance to allow for serendipity and to avoid bad weather when skiing. While in Flaine (France) we looked at the weather forecast for the French, Swiss and Italian ski resorts. A wave of rain and snow was due to sweep across the entire region. The Ski Club of Great Britain’s excellent comparison site allowed us to zero in on the one spot that had a glimmer of sun and plenty of snow in the coming week. The connected trio of Eastern Switzerland resorts; Flims-Laax-Falera were showing sun on Sunday afternoon and Monday with good snow base levels and all lifts open. Bingo!I located a new studio apartment in Falera and booked us in for five nights. All that remained was to load the rental car and drive from France via Geneva, Bern and Zurich to the far east of Switzerland. We left Flaine at 8:45am. At 6pm we pulled into our car parking spot in Falera. Light snow, fog, heavy rain and traffic jams on the motorways plus an error in navigating (by me) through Geneva blew out our anticipated five-hour drive time. As is his wont Stuart refused to pay the second driver supplement hence he was knackered when we arrived.We stocked up at a Migros supermarket in France before crossing into more expensive Switzerland.

Happily the apartment is lovely, everything high quality and luxurious and Falera is an appealing traditional Swiss Alpine village with all the amenities we needed. Stuart was delighted he could watch live rugby on the telly.Sunday started rainy and foggy. We drove into Flims to check out the lift system, tickets and ski rental (for me). The rental price was steep at 94 Swiss Francs for one day so we left it and instead found a cosy, hipster cafe and settled in to browse their magazines.By late afternoon the sun was out so we walked around Falera village, home to just over 600 people. With two picturesque churches (the one pictured was built in 1490), old wooden homes and megaliths dating back to 1500 years BC Falera gave us a glimpse of well preserved Swiss history and culture.








The sole ski rental shop in the village quoted me a third of the Flims’ price to rent skis and a helmet. Deal!Monday, the Northern Hemisphere Spring Equinox, delivered the promised sunshine and decent snow. We set out early to cover as much territory as our legs would allow. A chair lift takes you up from Falera and ribbon of snow brings you back down past grassy slopes and pungent cattle sheds.




Our favourite pit stop was Gusti’s Hut, a converted hunting cabin owned and managed by the municipality to provide drinks and snacks during the ski season.



This is one of two parapenters we watched take off perfectly from the top of a piste. On the other side teenaged snowboarders from all over Europe were training on a half pipe.

At 3,000 metres (above) and the final stop of the day (below). Fog returned next day, my birthday, but I had a great day planned regardless. A 12k walk on mostly packed snow and ice from Falera to Ladir village and back with coffee at Lazy Mountain Pension in Ladir followed by a swim and sauna at Siala Hotel in Falera, then dinner cooked by Stuart. A fantastic way to turn 61!




Cristina and Roland Munster’s Lazy Mountain Pension. Ideal for families.

More fog and rain today but we hiked the loop from Trin-Mulin to Cresta Lake past logging trucks and lots of spring wildflowers then checked out Laax during a tea/beer stop overlooking the lake. Trin has some very twee features and the villagers seem to compete as to who can have the most whimsical entries.






Tomorrow it’s all change as we head to Rome for a weekend flamenco workshop with the marvellous Angel Muñoz organised by my favourite Roman flamenca, Vanessa P. Ciao!

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