What to do in the Alps if you can’t hit the slopes….

Recently we have spent quite some time in the Surselva region – a beautiful recreation area located in the Alps in Eastern Switzerland. As I cannot (shouldn’t) hit the slopes this seasons due to our growing baby P we did a lot of hiking in the snow – a wonderful alternative to skiing, snowboarding or sledging – and we wanted to share some of our routes and pictures with you.

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From Flims, where we have our base, you find approximately 100 kilometers well maintained walking tracks (they are marked with pink poles) – we are far from having explored each and every kilometer but have done quite some of them.

You find routes, which more follow in the valley and others, which lead you up to the mountains. Often you have the option to do a certain part of the route with the shuttle bus or a cable car. Another alternative is to do a tour with snowshoes, which work by distributing the weight of the person over a larger area so that the foot does not sink into the snow.

You can do all the routes on your own or you can go for a guided tour. Please just keep in mind that you are out in nature so make sure to be prepared and informed, never walk on closed tracks (the danger of avalanches is very real here) and come equipped with sturdy footwear.

Once equipped, let the fun in the snow begin:

Foppa – Startgels – Naraus – Foppa – Flims Dorf

Total walking: approximately 3 hrs

We took the cable car up from Flims to Foppa where we started our hike uphill.

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The sun was out, the sky clear and it had just snowed the previous days, which made it a perfect day to be out! We followed the way towards Startgels for about an hour before we turned towards Naraus. Part of the way takes you through light forest but most of the time you get a stunning panorama view over the mountains. Be careful when crossing the ski slopes; it would be a pitty to get run over in such a nice place.

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After two hours of steady uphill hiking we reached the hill station Naraus where we had a slice of fruitcake and coffee in the restaurant before taking the cable car down to Foppa. Whilst we got really warm walking up in the sun, we felt that it is still winter as it was really chilly riding down.

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From Foppa we decided against the cable car and walked down to Flims Dorf to warm up again.

Fidaz – Bargis – Bargis Tour – Fidaz

Total walking: approximately 3 hrs

From Flims we took the Arena Shuttle bus to Fidaz. You can use this service for free with a guest card or a valid mountain railway ticket. Off the bus we did not lose any time and made our way towards Bargis.

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It was a warm day and as we walked through the forest we kept being showered as the snow melted – probably not the best day for this particular route. After a good hour we reached Bargis and I was a bit out of breath. I do realize I am carrying a little passenger with me when it ascends a lot!

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We stopped for a typical “Gerstensuppe” (barley soup) in the restaurant where we met a lot of cross-country skiers, as there are some slopes up on this high plateau.

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After our break we decided to do the Bargis tour, which leads you around the high plateau. It is fascinating how all of the sudden the terrain gets completely flat, even up in the mountains. The sun already started disappearing behind the high mountains and it got quite chilly.

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We made our way down again towards Fidaz where we enjoyed the view over Flims and finally took the shuttle to bring us back home.

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By that time it was already dark and we were definitely ready for some dinner!

Flims Waldhaus – Runcahöhe – Laax Murschetg

Total walking: approximately 3.5 hrs

This route started right in front of our door and led us from Flims Waldhaus towards Runcahöhe. “Höhe” means height or altitude so yes – you will walk uphill the first part of the route. This is one of my favorite hikes, as usually you don’t meet many people. You mainly walk through forest and pass the occasional Alpine hut.

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The “Runcahöhe” is situated on an idyllic clearing above Flims. You find an authentic, cute restaurant there, which is usually frequented by both skiers and hikers. We however prefer to walk up a bit further where you find on the left hand side – just below where the cable cars run – a picnic spot. It is a bit hidden but it is worth searching for it. There is a wooden table and benches as well as a fireplace. We came here to celebrate New Year’s in 2014 with an open-air fondue, had lovely picnics in summer and returned now for a hike.

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This time the path was not prepared and we would have been better off with snowshoes! It was really hard work as we kept sinking into the snow knee-deep! We nevertheless continued and after about half an hour we reached the official hiking trail, which takes you down to Laax Murschetg. At some point it got very icy and we hardly managed to walk. Usually this is not such an issue, you just go sliding but in my condition I didn’t fancy a fall so it took us quite long to reach our destination.

From Laax we took the shuttle bus back to Flims.

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