LAAX BABY, Switzerland
Two planes, two trains, and one (almost missed) bus later Madi and I arrive in Laax, Switzerland. Unsurprisingly, considering the duo, our first half an hour in this beautiful place was anything but smooth sailing. Where decked out in the thinnest possible comfy plane pants we proceed to get off the bus, overpacked suitcases in hand, at the wrong stop... In the middle of a snow storm.
After a mature relaxed discussion (more like a lot of “what the fuck do we do?” between fits of laughter), we decided to take shelter in the friendly looking hotel Laaxerhof and call a taxi. I then proceed to watch Madi try to communicate in Swiss German in the only way she knows how - by continuously yelling Laaxerhof (in the most bizarre accent you’ve ever heard),and the name of our air bnb into the phone. At this point, I was laughing too hard to be of any help.
Finally loading our suitcases into a very confused taxi drivers van, we then proceed to drive five minutes down the road… Whoops. After arriving at our purple shag piled home sweet home for the week, we finished our petrol station dinner and headed to bed… And waking up to that view, all worth it I tell you.
So here ya go what to do in Laax (also known as #LAAXBABY) and the surrounding areas if you ever get there, which ya bloody should!!
So... What to do once you're settled? Hint, it’s a Ski town. Although our first day was a little more après than ski, once you get yourself out there it’s pretty incredible. Whether you just want to cruise or you’re after more, Laax has it all. Home to the longest continuous halfpipe in the world, an Olympic-size kicker pro-line and a total of over 90 obstacles all spread across four snow parks. Obviously I spent most of the time on the halfpipe, not.
Don’t feel too guilty if your après overtakes the ski, the facilities at the top of the field have been recently renovated and they’re quite the sight. With the walls dominated by illuminated neon signs, self-watering plants, oh and 14,000 records. There’s also the Heart, a 360° restaurant, which occasionally has DJ’s, and bars outside, so pull up a deck chair and pretend you’re being active.
So what to do when the sun goes down? Get yourself to Riders Palace, please. Whether your vibe is pretending you’re fancier than you are, or you just want to relax, the facilities are out the gate - so get a red and watch the snow fall. Or... wait a bit longer and get silly, with the hostel transforming into a club. Just ask Madi if she had a good time, ha.
Don’t worry though, there’s more to do than drink and ski, shocking I know. I’d recommend hopping onto one of the buses that go through the town and head to nearby Flims, or back into Chur. (Locals tip - If you’re a bad person, jump in through the back doors they never check your tickets).
A literal winter wonderland, just wandering through the town is enough. However, it's worth making a night of it so head somewhere for some fondue or another local cuisine… Or you can do what we did and head to the village kebab shop and watch some german reality tv, you won’t regret it (it’s hilarious).
Ps. Pick up some Moccachino yogurt from the local supermarket, not sure why but that stuff is what dreams are made of. If yogurts not your buzz, I also hear there’s great hiking here in the warmer months.
(Pronounced korr not chur, just saving you the same embarrassment we faced as two kiwis asking about Chur, bro).
Hop on another “free” bus and head back to Chur. Whether you just feel like being in a bigger town or want to enjoy some roadside mulled wine and weird looking sausage, it’s worth the trip. The old town Chur is also incredible, being the oldest town in Switzerland with a settlement history of over 5,000 years.
So here I am just scratching the surface, but this is what I came up with from our experience, and hey… Time of my life! Unfortunately after only a week in our winter wonderland we headed off, back to Zurich for New years, and then onto Paris… The more “entertaining part of our trip”. (Tip - it’s a good idea to get more than 90 minutes of sleep within two days before you embark on over 30 hours of travel).