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Flims

It’s the mystery of the century that Flims isn’t on the British radar. Reliable, glacial snow, food glorious food AND some of the longest runs on terra firma? It’s time this one had its heyday.

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At a glance: • Authentic Swiss village • Snow sure

Great for: • Intermediates • Families • Snowboarders

It’s the mystery of the century that Flims isn’t on the British radar. Reliable, glacial snow, food glorious food AND some of the longest runs on terra firma? It’s time this one had its heyday.

Flims Resort

The Swiss word for “peak” is “crap”… And, yes, lots of the mountains and buildings here bear the name. This is not, we repeat NOT, a sign. Beautiful, sprawling Flims and its super-stretched slopes are, in fact, anything but. The Brits and the tour operators haven’t clocked onto to it yet; it’s still one of the “Alps’ hidden gems” and accordingly packed with local flavor and midweek as quiet as a cathedral. Quite a turn-up, given this is part of a ski area where the Swiss Olympic team trains.

Though things down in town are so peaceful you could write your memoirs here, life for this striking valley started with a bang. The lab coats say it’s where the largest landslide to ever rock the Alps went down, thrusting the jagged ridge of the Tschingelhorner heavenward and leaving the sweeping views out over the Rhine gorge in its dusty wake. Ski trips to Flims are just one long series of Windows screensavers, and even the drive from Zürich airport passes quickly, as you roll through lush, green plains, past rickety huts and mist-shrouded mountains.

Linked to the resorts of Laax and Falera by lift pass, you get the slopes of three resorts for the price of one in the Flims-Laax-Falera (or, “White Arena”) ski area. Of the trio, Flims has the oldest and largest village. It sprang up in the 8th century and made waves as a spa location in the 19th. In Sorrentino’s film, Youth, Michael Caine chills out in the lavish pools at the Hotel Waldhaus and your aching bones won’t regret paying a visit to the set…

As for places to stay, the options are split between Flims Dorf, with the lifts, or Flims Waldhaus, spa-hotel central, a short shuttle ride up the scenic Via Nova. Both areas have their fair share of boutiques and a rich range of noms. And both are unfakably authentic. Expect to catch locals chatting round fountains, possibly in the neo-Latin dialect known as Retoroman – this is one of the last little pockets on earth where it’s spoken.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Graubünden, Switzerland

Established: 1909

Open: November - April

Downhill: 225km / 58 runs

View our detailed Flims snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Flims snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Zürich Airport (ZRH)143km, 1h40
Friedrichshafen Airport (FDH)143km, 1h30
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 68km 30%

  • 67km 30%

  • 46km + 44km powder runs 40%

Top Altitude:3018m
Bottom Altitude:1100m
Resort Altitude:1100m
Longest run:17km / 11 miles
Slope Orientation:S SE E
Vertical Drop:1918m
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:Yes

Snow Report

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  • 5cm
  • Base
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  • Forecast
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Web Cam

Flims web cams
Downhill Runs:225km / 58 runs
Beginner slopes:30%
Intermediate:30%
Advanced slopes:40%
Lift Pass Price: 77 CHF (adult single day pass)
Nearby resorts: Laax

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Flims

The White Arena mountains are known for the super long runs from their tippy tops and the route from the Vorab Glacier to Flims is among the longest in the world (17km on upper estimates). If you’re an adventurous intermediate, these slopes were practically made for you. And the fact this makes up one of the biggest ski areas in Switzerland (225km) certainly doesn’t hurt.

For a beginner, the options are gentle, but not overprotecting – the sort that push you to steady skiing very quickly. They start just above the base, with a wide beginner area and 3 magic carpets, well out of the way of the intermediate runs the rest of the mountain bombs down. Take all the time you need here, possibly in the capable hands of one of the FLF Ski School instructors. Once you can stand the test of skiing (not hobbling) down the blue-rated stretch back to base, you’re ready to graduate to higher and longer slopes like blue number 10. Next try blue 30 to Nagens from 2570m up on the Vorab glacier, some serious altitude for your first few days in the slats.

Intermediates in the White Arena are spoilt for choice of long, never-ending runs and everything from sweeping glacial slopes to winding, tree-lined trails – 120km of them rated blue and red. Among the standouts, the run from La Siala through Grauberg to Flims is 12km and has it all – steep, mild and off-piste routes, views that make you suck in breath and, most importantly, a route past the Startgels restaurant, where they do amazing things with polenta. Take as long as you like getting to know the mountain hut chow. Super quick new lifts like the Arena Express to Nagens and chair from Plaun to Crap Sogn Gion get you back up the mountain in a jiffy.

The White Arena’s short on super challenging steeps, but lifelong skiing locals still find challenges. They recommend starting at the top, on the long black run off the glacier to Alp Ruschein. Black route 65, a sustained challenge, runs from Crap Sogn Gion through the trees all the way to Laax. In addition, there are testing little pockets of off-piste all over the place, considered by many one of this ski area’s best bits – those from Cassons get locals talking most.

Boarders are big on Flims thanks to the new Burton school, plus of course the fact Laax just over the way is considered THE world’s best Alpine freestyle resort. It has the longest halfpipe in the world, an Olympic-sized kicker pro-line and 90 + obstacles between its four snow parks, plus the Freestyle Academy, a big indoor park where you can practice jumps over foam pits and trampolines. These are all the rage in the US, but in Europe this is the first of its kind.

Flims Apres Ski

While Laax is the White Arena’s party animal, Flims sits firmly in the region of domesticated tabby, and that’s its charm. It’s hard to savour the dark, fruity undertones of your Nuits Saint Georges with David Guetta on full blast, and trust us, the food and wine here demands your undivided attention. 100% wooden Legna Bar is a rowdy exception, with an oft-heaving patio at the bottom of the homerun to Flims Dorf and Flims’ only club, the Arena Bar, delivers dance beats and a strong crowd if you find yourself in the mood for dancing. For help in that department, you’ll find 30+ forms of gin at the Gin and Oyster Club upstairs.

To experience Flims in all its glory, it’s best to ditch the paleo diet prior to arrival. There’s gorgeous food of all different forms to be had here, whether getting glam with hay soup (possible, believe us) at Epoca or tucking into a feast you can eat with fingers at Anatolia Kebab. For a talking point, don’t miss a chance to ride the snowcat up to an impressive roast by the fire in the Ustria Startgels, or to take the chairlift to the Casa Berendi to gobble down local specialty, capuns, and a kirsch-spiked fondue before sledging (with gusto) back down to town.

While the sun’s still beaming, the waistline continues to take a beating. Cafés, the LivingRuhm and Kaufmann Frauen, are two of the liveliest places in Flims. The former gets creative with coffee out of a former locksmith’s shack (very hipster friendly) and both churn out irresistible fresh-baked cakes.

If the carb-loading’s making the salopettes start to feel more like skinny jeans, remove temptation and strike out on a hike along 60km of cleared trails to take in the valley’s visual splendour. Highlights include the wooden suspension bridge across the Rhine gorge, the ruined castle of Crap Sogn Barcazi and the Canaschal tower. Alternatively, lock yourself away indoors in the Prau la Selva complex. There’s a skating rink, ping-pong tables and shooting range to distract you.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Flims

When is the best time to ski Flims?

With 70% of the White Arena slopes easily above the 2000m (6500ft) mark and the cooling influence of the Vorab glacier, Flims rarely frets about getting no snow, even with its mostly south-east (read: sunny) orientation. This typically makes it a winner for either early or late season skiing.

Even if the fog rolls in, the variety of terrain here works in your favour, with lots of wooded runs for the bad-weather days and sunny open pitches for the good ones.

If you like big boards and you cannot lie… Head over in mid-Jan, when the annual LAAX Open sees epic slopestyle and halfpipe competitions on Crap Sogn Giogn. Alternatively, wait for the end of the season, when the British Championships (The Brits) bring the hills to life with yet more slopestyle and halfpipe competitions and plenty of on-snow après – when you’ve got the biggest halfpipe in the world, might as well flaunt it.

Peak Dates

If, like us, a fondue, Swiss chocs and some snow-sure skiing hold the top spots on your Christmas list, a Christmas in Flims will feel like it’s been brought by the elves. Runs that go on forever swallow up the hours, but be sure to catch advent concerts and xmas markets for some festive spice and a chance to buy all things nice.

From black-tie gala dinners at the Waldhaus to live beats and beer at the Legna Bar, New Year in Flims can take whatever tone you wish. One for the kids (and the cameramen), you can usually catch the chairlift up the mountain and sledge down while the fireworks glitter over the village.

The Snow Wonderlands are thrilling places for littlies to spend Half Term in Flims, while older offspring have a whale of a time racing down super long runs or practicing their double corks in Laax’s snowparks.

It’s good to have a glacier to hand for late season snow, and the high altitude of the slopes here means you’ll likely still have a huge range of runs for Easter in Flims. Skiing all morning and splashing in the crystal blue Caumasee in the afternoon’s a great way to work off the aftereffects of visiting the local chocolatier…

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Families in Flims

The shaggy, fur-clad magician of local lore, Ami Sabi, has three separate “Snow Wonderlands” around Flims-Laax-Falera; friendly beginners’ areas where the FLF ski school instructors make learning to ski child’s play... Kitted out with huge tipis and wooden sculptures, these offer something a little different to the neon arenas that are kids areas on other mountains. All from the age of 3 can take part in daycare-lesson packages that are a thrill from start to finish. If your young get hooked on the local legends they share in class, you’ll find Ami Sabi books in local gift shops to take some of the magic home.

A “Families Wilkommen” seal of approval from the Swiss Tourist Board merely confirms what you’ll discover on arrival, that Flims is fab for families. Whether you bed down in an apartment or one of the many hotels with childcare, the shortage of all-night antics and never-ending supply of activities are just what little ones need. 5-star boarding facilities and non-stop runs, meanwhile, should keep your teens content. Plus, all love an afternoon splash in the hotel pools. Local gift shops stuffed with trinkets are just the cherry on the cake… Which (did we mention?) is beyond delicious here.

Tip: if there are budding boarders in the family, you may benefit from a hotel in Laax, where the Snow Wonderland incorporates features like a mini half-pipe and mini boarder-cross, plus the giant trampoline, indoor bouldering wall and Big Air of the Freestyle Academy (for those 6 years and up).

GroupsGroup Holidays Flims

If mellow evenings over mellow wine and memorable food gets your group going, Flims has all the ingredients for a fantastic week of skiing... If you have moves like Jagger and want to air them, look to Laax. Between them, the resorts of the White Arena know how to keep groups happy. This 225km ski area (one of Switzerland’s biggest) has something for each level, including a tonne of mountain huts serving up the ultimate group food, Swiss fondue.

Bundling into the snowcat to dine at the Ustria Startgels, or starting up an after-dinner sledge race beneath the stars will prove that while Flims is quiet, it’s not dull. Ramp up the excitement even further with paragliding and helicopter flights or sessions on the indoor Bonaduz karting track.

More Flims Holiday Resources


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