7 (3 draglifts)
Total lift vert:
10 (3 draglifts)
Total lift vert:
For a zoomable, scrollable map of the areas, see this online map using Openstreetmap or Opencyclemap.
Lenzerheide itself is easily reached by post bus from Chur, the only hard part is deciding where to get off. Check out the piste map first (see link under 'More info' below), and decide whether you're heading for the Eastern, Rothorn side or the Western, Scalottas / Danis / Stätzerhorn side. Lenzerheide Post is the last stop, requiring a change to the free sport buses to get to a lift, otherwise get off earlier at Churwalden, Parpan, Valbella or the Rothornbahn. Note that the sport buses operate a two-colour system, red and blue, each travelling the same route but in opposite directions. Check out the plans at the bus stops.
For the return journey, it's worth trying to get the post bus at Lenzerheide Post, as it can be pretty full by the time it picks up at the later stops.
From Zurich, take the main train to Chur and change to the post bus there (the bus station is up the escalators from the train platforms). Journey time is around 2h to the Rothornbahn, or around 2h10 all the way to Lenzerheide. Cost of the "Snow and Rail" ticket from Zurich (not available from the machines any more) is CHF 78, plus the mandatory CHF 5 card when you get there. By car you can get to Churwalden in around 1h30, from where a day ticket will cost you CHF 59 (plus CHF 5 card fee).
A few things have changed for 2008 since our last visit - some better and some not so much better... Firstly the Snow-and-rail tickets are no longer available from the ticket machines - meaning that everyone has to queue up at the counter and risk missing their train. The reason for this is unknown, maybe they're trying to discourage people from buying Snow-and-rail tickets and prefer them to pay more for a normal train ticket and lift ticket. On the positive side, the evil drag lift from Parpan has been replaced by a much more friendly chairlift - bonus! On the negative side, Lenzerheide have joined Flims/Laax on their ticket scam scheme, now refusing to refund the deposit on the cards. Maybe this bizarre and unfriendly attitude has proved profitable for Flims so Lenzerheide are joining in too. Strangely the card which Flims forced you to buy can also be reloaded at Lenzerheide, so hopefully you'll only get caught out by this scam once. Tip: buy the card from Toggenburg or Zermatt instead, who actually give you the choice of refunding the deposit - but the cards can be reloaded at the unfriendly resorts too.
On the negative side, the prices have risen around CHF 4 for Snow-and-rail and Tageskarten, and the Totälpli chairlift up by the Rothorn summit has now been removed. So although the replacement of the evil drag lift is very welcome, the resort has become more expensive, more unfriendly and with fewer lifts than before.
On a busy day, the ticket exchange process at Lenzerheide can be tortuously slow, compounded by their insistence on a CHF 5 (now non-refundable!) charge for the card. You used to be able to reclaim the deposit at the Z-bar at the base of the Rothornbahn, but now Lenzerheide has decided not to refund it. Thanks.
And so, eventually, to the slopes. As mentioned earlier, there are two main areas, on opposite sides of the valley. On the east (the left side of the piste map), the Rothorn area comprises a single, broad peak, whereas the western side is more of an angled face, strung out along the valley. Getting from one to the other is not really an option without taking a bus, although could be an option for the sun-seekers.
The east side has a cable car running up to an impressive 2865m at the summit of the Parpaner Rothorn, but the only way down involves an awkward and flat traverse through a tunnel(!), and especially now that they've removed the Totälpli lift from that number 4 run, there's even less reason to queue for this cable car now. Most of the action takes place below 2600m, where you've got a couple of chairlifts (the two-seater Schwarzhorn and the six-seater Weisshorn speed) offering mainly wide reds. Beyond that there are drag lifts, the flattish Weisshorn 2 being OK (and necessary for getting to the Schwarzhorn lift without taking blacks), the rather unfriendly Scharmoin, and the short but well-prepared Crappa Grossa by the cable car. Thankfully the evil 500m Heimberg drag lift from Parpan has now been replaced by a chairlift. Result!
There aren't any funparks on this side, but lots of sunshine, especially in the afternoon.
The west side is not very steep but extremely broad, with many more runs and another eleven lifts (seven if you don't like drag lifts). Most of these runs are relatively easy, but the real bonus is the absolutely huge amount of soft inbetween the runs, ideal for floating on.
This year there's a fun-park installation built by the side of the Stätzertäli lift, consisting of several dramatically-banked curves, kind of like a narrow (and soft) boardercross course. There is also a novel "speed test" near the bottom of Cumascheals lift - with a display board showing your speed through the gate. The slope is a bit short, and the run-off area a bit bumpy, but it makes an original feature.
The Lavoz lift can present something of a bottleneck, but they have signs helpfully directing traffic to Cumascheals instead. Signing is quite good, and there's a good mix of fast and not-so-fast runs. Lots of early sunshine.
The run down from the summit flattens out completely, and passes through a long, flat tunnel on its way round (the dotted line on the map). Depending on the snow this can be either an awkward coast using the rope to pull yourself along, or a bit of walking. And from the top of the new Heimberg chairlift from Parpan, you'll find a flat traverse from the top.
A few of the blues traversing across the slope can make you run out of steam, but they're pretty obvious from the map.
16 February 2008 - beautiful blue skies, lots of sunshine, but runs are getting scraped in parts and the off-piste is mostly hard and nasty. Could do with new snow. The evil drag lift has gone but so has the Totälpli lift, and now they don't refund the card deposit but make you buy it instead.
30 January 2005 - beautiful blue skies, lots of sunshine, and some long-awaited fresh snow. Exposed slopes have been blown bare but there are some lovely soft bits if you look carefully. Run to Churwalden still flat but surprisingly fluffy.
7 March 2004 - grotty weather but good snow on the Stätzerhorn. Icy under the Lavoz lift though. Queues surprisingly reasonable for a Sunday, probably because of the weather forecast. Runs to Churwalden open (but very flat).
5 February 2004 - very Spring-like conditions on the Rothorn. After an unusually warm week, the snow has been melted and frozen, making it rather hard in the morning. It softened up slowly throughout the shady morning, and was pleasant, although heavy, in the afternoon. Lift queues virtually nil. There's a jump competition this weekend (7th/8th Feb) outside the surprisingly-subdued Cafe-des-alpes (supposedly has good music but actually had none).
No prizes for guessing lenzerheide.ch, the slope map is sadly no longer a handy PDF but rather a flash gizmo hidden away under Current -> Winter sports report (no direct link possible, they keep breaking). There are two maps for the West side (Stätzerhorn) and the East side (Rothorn). Snow'n'Rail details are at
railaway.ch (link keeps breaking).