But WaitThere's More
Find other great ideas in these related stories:
- The World's Best Hiking Trails ›
- Slope to Table ›
- The Last Wild Place ›
- 11 Hard-to-Get-to Hotels ›
- Last-Minute Escapes: Beach Vacations ›
- New Zealand's Otherworldly Landscapes ›
- Adventures That Give Back ›
- World's Sexiest Fitness Retreats ›
- How to Vacation Like Indiana Jones ›
- Extreme Sports for Spectators ›
- Comeback Destinations for Experienced Travelers ›
For snowboarders, the Swiss resort of Laax is synonymous with Riders (41-81-927-97-00), a high-tech temple/party pad that's closer to a "W" Hotel than a pastoral chalet. Picture an urban boutique hotel with a minimalist edge that has somehow crash-landed in the riding capital of Europe.
Unless it's a powder morning, getting up depends on how late you stayed out the night before. Yawn, and then check your e-mails on your in-room high-speed connection, unless you're distracted by your PlayStation2, videos, and Dolby Digital surround sound. Then grab your board and your shades, because if the sun is shining, you'll be blinded by the glare reflecting off the mirrored exterior of Riders. As befitting a place that's closer to a nightclub with beds than a hotel, Riders has no restaurant. So fuel up on muesli at Plazza, which serves breakfast next to the cable car station.
10:00 AM Slippery Slopes
Laax and the adjacent villages of Flims and Falera are part of Alpenarena, with 132 miles of linked pistes. There are exceptionally long runs from three different interconnected mountains, all of them manageable even if you're only an intermediate with a sense of adventure. Cresta da Tiarms and Crappa Spessa warm up first, so head there. (Oh, and when locals use the term "crap," they're not referring to snow conditions but to the local name for "peak," as in Crap Masegn and Crap Sogn Gion.) You'll need a whole week to explore this terrain, which includes three halfpipes, a terrain park, and a boardercross course.
2:00 PM A Rustic Lunch
Lunch on rösti, Râclette, or Wurst at Tegia Larnags, a quaint mountain hut, or Rose Startgels, at the base of the Grauberg cable car.
4:00 PM Happy Hours
Get an early start on evening festivities at the hipper-than-thou Crap Bar (mit Laax-Vegas, 7032 Laax Murschetg; 41-81-927-99-45) at the base of the lifts. It's a five-minute crawl back to Riders, where you can crash on a beanbag chair, order a martini, and check out the action. Dinner could be a cheese overdose at the Fonduestube at the Hotel Vorab (41-81-911-18-61) or pizza at the Pizzeria Trattoria Veneziana (41-81-911-01-03).
11:00 PM Rave Review
Rave to the mix dished out by London's Ministry of Sound at the Palace Club, the hotel's underground disco, until the early hours of the next morning.
WHO SHOULD GO:
Twenty-four-hour party people, since the bar is open 24 hours a day and the disco throbs until 4 a.m.
A dedicated rider lifestyle at a resort that's barely known outside of German-speaking Switzerland.
Ride the nearly nine-mile screamer down from Vorab glacier.