Travel: Top 20 Resorts: Flims-Laax

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The Independent Travel
A VAST ski area, the biggest in Switzerland, I would bet, with pistes to satisfy all but the keenest mogul freak; a mix of open and wooded terrain, with most skiing between 2,600m and 1,200m; a pleasant resort with summer as well as winter trade and excellent sports facilities.

Sounds compelling? So it is. For the intermediate piste-basher, there is nowhere in Switzerland to rival Flims- Laax: its ski area leaves fragmented Zermatt and confined Verbier way behind. For better skiers, the comparisons are less favourable: black runs are not the area's strong point, although there are considerable off-piste opportunities. And any grade of skier needs to be aware of the area's main weakness: most of the skiing faces south, making the snow vulnerable to the sun in high season and later. (Skiing on the glacier, with a 400m drop, offers little challenge or variety.)

The name suggests that there might be two villages, but there are more. Flims-Dorf is convenient, inoffensive, but slightly towny; Flims- Waldhaus pleasantly spacious and woody; and Laax a non-resort, with lifts a mile away at the brutal ski station of Murschteg. My favourite is the hamlet of Falera, which is linked to the system by a slow chairlift. Falera is free of nightlife, but, then, none of the villages is very lively.

CHRIS GILL'S VERDICT: Flims-Laax's low profile on the British market is a mystery to me. My hunch is that few Brits go there not because of the resort's southerly orientation or low-key nightlife, but because few Brits go there. Like sheep, we prefer to huddle together.

(Photograph omitted)

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