The 33rd most popular snowboarding destination in Switzerland.
Thursday 7 March 2019 07:00 GMT
Southeast of Zurich and east Davos, the Pischa ski area has 4 ungroomed pistes served by a single cablecar accessing a vertical descent of 683m. The Mäderbeiz Pischa ski area is best known for it's freeriding where there are four main freeride routes that are not avalanche controlled and not marked.
The Pischa ski area is part of the Davos-Klosters ski region. Located in the eastern Swiss canton of Graubünden (aka Grisons), the Davos Klosters ski region consists of six ski areas in the Rhaetian Alps spread along the Landwasser valley. Lining both sides of the Landwasser valley the six ski areas include: Parsenn Gotschna, Jakobshorn, Madrisa, Rinerhorn, Schatzalp-Strela and Pischa. Overall, there are 110 pistes totaling 318km that are served by 55 lifts (27 drag lifts) with a maximum vertical descent of 2,030m. The Parsenn Gotschna ski area is the largest and most accessible from both Davos and Klosters, Jacobshorn is popular for its freestyle options, and Rinerhorn is known for its off-piste freeriding. The Davos Klosters ski region is infamous for all of the off-piste freeriding opportunties. Many hardcore snowboarders feel that the Davos Klosters region would be ideal to spend an entire snow season.
Located east of Davos Dorf, the Pischa ski area is quickly accessible by a free ski bus. But, this ski area isn’t probably for the families - all of the ski routes are ungroomed. It’s considered by many as the largest freeriding area in Switzerland, and it is best to always carry full avalanche equipment. Even though the ski area clearly states they do not groom, there is occasionally a single groomed Cat tracks running down the general route of the pistes. When snowboarding at Pischa, watch out for the southernmost ski route which descends to Gasthaus zum Tschuggen, which is located pretty far south of the main base area with no bus return. The free ski bus leaves from the Pischa bus terminal in Davos Dorf located south of the the Parsenn valley station behind Hotel Parsenn. The Pischa base area does not have any base lodging (Gasthaus Alpenrose is a short walk away, so the nearest main lodging options are available back in Davos Dorf.
If you do stay in Davos and are looking for some apres ski action, then check out the Postli Club, the Cabanna Club, the Ex-bar or the Piano Bar. In Klosters, stop at the Grastrochni umbrella bar on the final piste just before the Gotschnabahn cable car base area. Apres ski is a very tame affair and can be kind of hit-or-miss. Of course, it’s best on the weekend evenings, but that’s still not saying much.
A big question when coming to the Davos-Klosters ski region is where to stay: in Davos or Klosters. From either town, there are free ski buses that interconnect to all six ski areas in the Davos Klosters ski region. While families on long holiday may choose to rent a house in the inexpensive outer villages, most snowboarders will probably want to stay close to the lifts. So, that leaves Davos Dorf, Davos Platz or Klosters Platz. Combined, Davos Dorf and Davos Platz are a massive city with newer, concrete block-style buildings and high-traffic. It is relatively new in European terms since it was only settled about 150 years ago. There are plenty of modern amenities, but there isn’t that quintessential authentic Swiss village feel nor the quaint restaurants you may be seeking out of a Swiss vacation. The number of restaurants is limited and many are very expensive. But, the two best ski areas are accessible from Davos (Parsenn and Jakobshorn). A ski bus is required to get between those two ski areas, though, since Davos Dorf and Davos Platz are actually a long ways apart and isn’t really walkable. If you plan to stay in Davos, keep in mind the entire city is booked annually near the end of January for the World Economic Forum, so avoid coming then. Lastly, even with all its modern amenities, its still not really know for its party scene.
A better answer may be to stay in Klosters. Located further east, the smaller village of Klosters is much more of a typical quaint Swiss village that makes a great base for a longer snowboarding vacation. And, right from town you can access both Parsenn Gotschna (Klosters Platz) and Madrisa (Klosters Dorf) which are connected by a free ski bus. The challenge with Klosters is the lack of restaurants. There are two reasonably priced restaurants and several very high end restaurants. For the most part, unless you have your own kitchen, you’ll probably want to eat at your hotel restaurant.
Contrary to the usual recommendation, it is best to pick lodging based on a good halfboard plan (breakfast AND dinner). This will save a lot of money and convenience. It’s location won’t matter quite as much since ski buses and trains are needed anyways to access the spread out ski areas. Being near one of the three main train stations is a bonus.
And, now for the pro-tip. In light of the fact that there isn’t really an apres ski scene and little to see/do in the towns, Davos-Klosters is definitely the place to strongly consider staying up on the mountain at a gasthaus or hütte (not at a lift top station, but mid-mountain) where the food is amazing, there can be some apres ski and you’ll get first tracks.
To reach the snowboarding in Davos from Zurich, the best bet is by train. It’s a 2.5 hour ride with a single transfer in Landquart. This is the same train line that also services St Moritz, which is 30 minutes further along the line. If you are coming from the airport and don’t want to use the trains, you can always use the Davos Express transfer bus service. The Pischa bus terminal is not located at the Davos Dorf train station. It is a short walk to the southwest to the southwest corner of the Dorfseeli Park. It is located behind the Hotel Parsenn in their parking area. There are eight ski buses per day, and there is a large gap in the schedule mid-day.
To reach this area from Zurich by car, head southeast on Route A3 to Landquart, and then southeast on Route 28 into Davos.
Overall, Pischa is the 33rd most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 81 snowboarding resorts in Switzerland. Several of the better snowboarding resorts are nearby Pischa including Parsenn Gotschna, Jakobshorn, Madrisa, Rinerhorn and Schatzalp-Strela.