The main beginners area is on Tschuggen where there are some excellent nursery slopes above the trees. As the resort proudly states that, “stress is an alien concept in Arosa” the fact that you are in a smaller ski area is telling and the fact that you’re at an altitude where the nursery slopes are snow covered all season long is another plus point. Once the ski school has you mastering your turns then the Brüggerhorn lift is a good one to ride to access a wonderful long 5km (3 mile) trail back down to the village from which you’ll get a better view of the magnificent scenery – including a reputed 400 peaks - all around you.
Arosa is unusual in that it is not dominated by easy-moderate trails in the way that most of the rest of Europe’s top 200 ski areas are. Instead its moderate-sized ski area has around 15 red and blue pistes, the longest 5.5km (3.5 miles) long with great runs above the treeline particularly beneath Hornli (2512m) at one end of the ski area above Inner Arosa. In the centre of the ski area beneath the Weisshorn the runs are steeper reds and blacks and there are more long blues off the Bruggerorn at the other end of the area. So, in short, there’s plenty here to keep more advanced intermediates with imagination occupied for at least a week. Those used to the endless piste kilometres of some of the giant French areas may feel a little disappointed, but keep in mind that the wide powder slopes are virtually all on open mountainside above the trees.
Although not one of the biggest ski areas you’ll find, Arosa has built a strong reputation for its freeride opportunities with 40 out of a total 110km of trails and routes claimed left ungroomed for off-piste freeriding. Indeed all of the routes accessed from Arosa’s iconic cable car to the top of the Weisshorn (2653m) at the top of the area are either pisted reds or blacks or off piste black routes. The neighbouring Bruggerhorn has been christened “Freeride Mountain” and has multiple lines to try off the beaten tracks. Of the groomed trails around 8% (5km) of black runs are available. Excursions to Lenzerheide (which can be reached with a guide via an off piste route (subject to snow conditions) and to Davos are both possibilities too.
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
Arosa put its name firmly on the world snowboarding map when it hosted the FIS Snowboarding World Championships in January 2007. With most of the resort’s uplift provided by chairs and cabin lifts, Arosa’s slopes are easy for boarders to get around. The resort’s fun park on the Tschuggen for freestylers benefits from the resort’s high altitude which usually enables the numerous terrain features to be constructed early on in the season and last longer. These include a recently added 150m long world cup standard half pipe.
Cross-country skiing is popular in Arosa, and unlike in the majority of ski resorts in Europe, the high altitude of the ground around the resort itself means that the 30 kilometres of prepared tracks that spread over Maran, Prätschalp/Ochsenalp, and the Isel are open from early to late in the season. There are also trails on the Obersee lake (once the ice and snow cover is thick enough) .
There are tracks for all ability levels with rentals available locally as well as lessons if needed. You do however have to purchase and display the low priced cross-country ski pass (“Arosa Loipenpass”) which, along with giving official access to the tracks, also covers travel on the Isla bus to reach them from resort and use of toilets, waxing room and the services of the cross-country rescue service should you ever need it (hopefully not). The pass can be purchased from the Maran Cross-Country Centre.
Arosa’s high altitude ski area and north facing orientation make it one of the most snowsure resorts in the world, despite its relatively southerly latitude in the Alps, which gives it something of a southern European feel. Key runs have snow making cover but this is rarely required. The resort has been famed for its healthy climate for over a century with an average of eight to twelve hours of sunshine every day.