PEAK OF PERFECTION
Business Traveller UK|November 2020 - January 2021
Blessed with sunshine, good looks and superb skiing and hiking, Arosa is now taking the lead on sustainability, too
TOM OTLEY

Arosa is the end of the line and is quite happy about it. When the train arrives at the Swiss station, visitors disembark for their holiday or day’s work and swap places with departing passengers. The Rhaetian Railway takes visitors up the 26km line from Chur to Arosa in an hour, the distinctive red train making light work of the 1,000-metre climb, hugging the mountainside as it disappears into tunnels (19 of them) to reappear on bridges spanning gorges (there are 52 bridges).

If you are driving to the resort, the Schanfigg road from Chur to Arosa, which was completed in 1890, has, perhaps apocryphally, 365 turns on its way to the top. The fact that there is nowhere beyond Arosa means that for both the railway and the road, there is no through traffic and, once there, the compact town, with its hotels, shops and attractions gathered around two lakes, doesn’t require further car use. Buses around the town are free.

The population is only about 2,000 in summer, doubling in winter, so Arosa has a reputation for being quieter and more family-orientated than other resorts. Nightlife isn’t the attraction here. What you get, instead, is that peaceful feeling every evening, particularly since most vehicles are forbidden from being driven between midnight and 6am, and during the day you’re as likely to hear the bells on the horse-drawn carriages taking tourists around the town as you are a vehicle (it helps that the buses are electric or hybrid).

So what’s special about Arosa? Well, its setting, to begin with. It sits at about 1,800 metres above sea level, yet its location at the bottom of a wide valley means it is both sunny and sheltered from the strongest winds. By the end of the 19th century, it had become a popular spa resort – hence the building of the railway, which opened in 1914 – and as winter sports increased in popularity in the decades afterwards, it added a winter season to the summer.

In contrast to its better-known Swiss ski resort competitors, Arosa still attracts mostly Swiss and German visitors, and there’s a sense that the town enjoys comparisons with its neighbours while feeling quietly superior. All Alpine resorts mention nature somewhere in their marketing, but Arosa is blessed with its own microclimate. The weekend we visited, it was dropping to a comfortable three degrees below zero at night in the resort, whereas just over 30km away in St Moritz it was a biting 15 below. Once a year, it also has the added advantage of being only 13km (as the crow flies) from Davos, where the World Economic Forum takes place each January.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BUSINESS TRAVELLER UKView All

THE YEAR IN REVIEW

We round up the finest watches released in 2020 – and look ahead to 2021, which may prove to be as unpredictable a year as the one that has just passed…

9 mins read
Business Traveller UK
November 2020 - January 2021

PEAK OF PERFECTION

Blessed with sunshine, good looks and superb skiing and hiking, Arosa is now taking the lead on sustainability, too

6 mins read
Business Traveller UK
November 2020 - January 2021

SAFE TRAVELS

What are airlines doing to reassure passengers about flying amidst the pandemic?

9 mins read
Business Traveller UK
November 2020 - January 2021

QUITE A JOURNEY

It has been an unprecedented time for the rail industry, both in the UK and across Europe. Here we look over the year’s developments.

5 mins read
Business Traveller UK
November 2020 - January 2021

HOT DESKING

As the pandemic moves into 2021, countries are offering options so you can set up your remote office somewhere more appealing

7 mins read
Business Traveller UK
November 2020 - January 2021

Go with the flow

If you have varicose veins and travel frequently, you’d be well advised to get them checked – it could help to prevent you getting DVT.

9 mins read
Business Traveller UK
November 2020 - January 2021

BACK TO BUSINESS

While our ways of working may have changed forever, our research shows that most of you remain convinced of the need to meet face-to-face

2 mins read
Business Traveller UK
November 2020 - January 2021

Ask the pilot

Our undercover captain reveals what it’s like to fly for a living

3 mins read
Business Traveller UK
November 2020 - January 2021

A novel time

We’ve all got one in us – and if lockdown doesn’t drive you to write that book, nothing will

3 mins read
Business Traveller UK
November 2020 - January 2021

4 HOURS IN... Munich

Hot-foot it around the German city’s new and historic sights

3 mins read
Business Traveller UK
November 2020 - January 2021
RELATED STORIES

Jim and Carolyn Phillips — Don't stop being active

Jim and Carolyn Phillips are local legends.

7 mins read
The Good Life
February 2021

Solitude & skiing

Even in the ‘empty nester’ years, it’s fun to strap on skis or snowshoes for a trek in the snowy wonderland

4 mins read
The Good Life
January 2021

WHICH WINTER SPORTS ARE SAFEST TO PLAY DURING COVID-19?

Which winter sports are safest to play during the pandemic?

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #477

Q&A: William Peters

A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE HEALING POWER OF SHARED DEATH EXPERIENCES

5 mins read
Mysterious Ways
December/January 2021

In Praise of Insanely Long Lift Lines

During a pandemic, there’s no part of skiing that I don’t miss.

3 mins read
Men's Journal
November - December 2020

THE ATHLETIC LIFE High elevation adventures with Peter Graf — a man on the run

I had heard that Pete Graf runs all over the place, up high mountain peaks (that I have hiked and they are steep) and that he can run for hours.

5 mins read
The Good Life
November 2020

THE ATHLETIC LIFE

Caden Stockwell: ‘every race is challenging because everyone has that hunger to win, not just you’

5 mins read
The Good Life
July 2020

GNARLY! IT'S SURFER DUDE HARRY!

Golden-boy prince learning to ride the waves

1 min read
Globe
May 4, 2020

WINTER AT 66° N

AN ORDINARY BOAT CAN ENABLE EXTRAORDINARY THINGS.SKIER AND SAILOR JUHO KARHU HAS SPENT TWO WINTERS IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE ON BOARD HIS BENETEAU IDYLLE.

10 mins read
Yachting World
May 2020

Peak Of Adventure

The snow is falling and ski season is in full swing on the slopes of western North America

4 mins read
Business Traveler
February 2020