Laax's fantastic terrain park makes it a mecca for freestylers, but there's also plenty for intermediates to do...
Laax ski holidays take place in a resort hardly anyone in Britain has heard of, but thanks to its long tradition as a weekend destination for the people of Zurich, Laax is home to one of Europe's most vibrant freestyle scenes - as well as one of its biggest nightclubs.
In the end, anyone who fancies him or herself in a terrain park has to come and test themselves in Laax.
Resort height: 1,100m
For years, Laax has combined its ski area with the neighbouring town of Flims, and together they provide 220km of intermediate-friendly cruising, over mostly rolling terrain. Both resorts are fairly low, however, at 1,100m, and the lower runs are often slushy at the end of a mild day. So to get the most benefit, you should plan your skiing or snowboarding holiday in Laax for January or February when the snow is likely to be at its best.
Midweek, the upper ski slopes are very quiet, and their altitude (rising to 3,020m) means they're snow-sure too. Laax is a good place for the wobblier kind of skier or snowboarder to come and build their confidence.
But it's the Crap Sogn Gion terrain park which really marks out Laax - home to a superbly-shaped half-pipe, and all kinds of other jumps and features (there's another half-pipe up on the glacier). It's one of the best in the skiing and snowboarding world, and regularly holds top-level competitions. Even when it's just the young guns of Zurich at play there, the displays of acrobatic skill (and courage) are mind-boggling. (There are also lots of easier features in the park.)
It takes less than two hours to drive to Laax from Zurich and Friedrichshafen airports...
Public transport from Zurich is also good, although you have to ride the bus for the final section (and knowing where to get off can be an issue in a resort as spread out as this).
If sweeping red runs or half-pipes and kickers are your preferred territory, the Laax ski area will not disappoint...
There's not that much for experts to do outside the parks, though.
The weekend crowds give Laax's après-ski scene a real boost, while there are enough options to keep most non-skiers amused...
During the week, the nightlife in Laax is pretty muted: but at the weekend it rocks - courtesy of the huge sun terrace at Crap Sogn Gion (busy from about 3pm) and, later on, in the bar at Rider's Palace. There's a vast club downstairs too - which holds a maximum of 1,500 people (the Rider's Palace is also a B&B, but sleep on a Saturday night is out of the question). Eating out in Laax is restricted mostly to the hotel restaurants: try the Posta Veglia guesthouse for regional specialities (and fiery local spirits).
Laax has a less one-dimensional feel to it than most ski resorts. This is especially true of its sister-town, Flims, nearby, which is home to several grand hotels (complete with state-of-the-art spas) and an interesting little art gallery. There's tobogganing, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing on offer on the mountain, too.
Cost of living 7/10
Midweek especially, Laax can be cheap. Although if you're here for the party scene at the Rider's Palace, you could easily spend a lot of money on Friday and Saturday nights.
Attractiveness of the resort 6/10
The mountains aren't quite as craggy or steep as they are elsewhere in the Alps, so the Laax scenery is a little disappointing. The resort is spread out, too - but at least most of the buildings are cute and traditional.