4 (1 draglift)
Total lift vert:
For a zoomable, scrollable map of the areas, see this online map using Openstreetmap or Opencyclemap.
Elm lies at the far end of a valley leading Southeast from the town of Glarus, in the canton of the same name. Buses run regularly to 'Elm Sportbahnen' from Schwanden, which is on the main train line running from Ziegelbrücke through Glarus to Linthal/Braunwald. Unfortunately, Elm is not on the 'Snow and Rail' network, so there is no special offer ticket, and the lift pass must be bought separately (join the queue!)
From Zurich, you take the train to Ziegelbrücke, change there to the train to Schwanden, and then take the bus to 'Elm Sportbahnen'. The day return costs CHF 31 if you have a halbtax card, plus the lift pass costs CHF 42.
There are three main lifts serving the area: a long drag lift (Bischof), a 2-person chairlift (the Pleusbahn), and a fast, new 6-person chairlift (the Schabellbahn). The connections between them are good, so it is possible to go from the top of each lift to the bottom of any of them. Also, there is always more than one way to go, of all difficulty levels. The blues numbered 6 and 8 are easy and gentle, whereas the reds and blacks coming down from the top of the 2-person lift are supremely fast.
There's an odd queueing system at the 2-person chairlift - most people come in from the Pleus side (from the left on the map), making a huge queue for the rather slow lift. Fewer people cut across to approach it from the other side, so the queue there is often much shorter. Signposting on the whole is remarkably good, and although they still use numbers for the runs, it's pretty difficult to go wrong.
Overall, it is a reasonable-sized area, with a good variety of runs and plenty of options for mixed-ability groups. The only downsides are the size of the queues, especially for the 2-er chairlift, and the low altitude of the base (1020m), meaning that (at the time of writing) the runs down to the valley are still closed. However you can rent a sledge for CHF 4 to take the Schlittelweg down to the base, and pick up your skis/board at the lower gondola station.
From the Munggä Hüttli to Empächli, it's pretty difficult to keep enough speed to continue on the blue number 8 when it flattens out, but a right turn down the red brings you out to the same place anyway.
The site for Elm is at elm.ch, with ski-specific information (such as a piste map) at
Snow conditions are at wispo.stnet.ch under "Ostschweiz".
For hiking in the area, see the Alpine Pass Route which comes over the Foopass and Richetlipass.
Elm is also famous for having the so-called "Martinsloch", a natural hole high in the ridge above the town. Twice a year, in March and September, the Sun shines through this hole shortly before clearing the ridge, lighting up the steeple of the church. There's a short article (in German only) about this phenomenon at elm.ch's martinsloch page.