Navigating Skiing in Davos-Klosters with Kids

When many people hear the name Davos, the first thing they think of is the World Economic Forum, while Klosters evokes thoughts of Prince Charles and his annual ski trip. That’s all I knew before last week …

The full story is that Davos Klosters is a multi-faceted mountain resort (one of the oldest in Switzerland) in the heart of the Swiss Alps with 700+ km of hiking trails in the summer and 300+ km of ski slopes in the winter. We spent a weekend here this month got a first-hand look at all it has to offer for my Skiing in Europe with Kids’ series.

Family Skiing Parsenn Davos

Top of the world at Parsenn

Davos-Klosters Overview

What I’ve tried hard to communicate in my series is the “why go” essence of all the top ski areas. If you’re going to fly to a new country to ski, an evaluation of the total ski experience (from the town to the slopes) is in order to ensure the time and expense required to get there is worthwhile.

Davos is the highest city in Europe. The operative word here is ‘city’ — Davos is a full-fledged city, not a quaint village hamlet. At first I was put off by this fact, but after settling into the city, I realized that the tradeoff is that an urban, sophisticated environment offers much more than just access to skiing (or hiking in summer months) than a typical ski village.

Davos features a huge array of restaurants, shops, and even a full casino for gambling. The combined region has 19,500 beds to offer guests; this means there is much more choice when it comes to finding suitable, affordable accommodations compared to other ski destinations.

Horse and Buggy Ride to Dinner in Davos Switzerland

Horse and buggy ride to fondue dinner in a mountain valley

Despite the urban center of Davos, vast wilderness is immediately accessible. We took a 45-minute horse and buggy ride from our hotel in Davos to a fondue dinner down a mountain valley to Restaurant Teufi. The ride in the open carriage under a starlight sky was incredible and as peaceful as if we were hours away from anything urban.

This experience was exceptional and as “Swiss feeling” as it gets — you’re not giving up rural Swiss winter experiences by staying in Davos.

Davos-Klosers is comprised of six different ski areas; each mountain has it’s own distinct personality and ski offering. It’s important to know that these mountains are not all interconnected where you can get from one to the other on skis.

The reality of the interconnected resorts for families, however, is that you really can’t take advantage of all the connected terrain anyway unless your kids are skiing with you.

If it takes two hours to “ski” to a new resort and your child is in ski school at your “home” destination, it’s a big risk to be two-hour of skiing away (may be more via car) if they needed to be picked up early for any reason. I can’t imagine many parents of young children being comfortable being that removed from their kids in a foreign country.

In Davos-Klosters, the different resorts are connected via bus. Most people just choose one mountain to ski in a day — so you can still get all the benefit of variety within a single holiday. The beauty is that, if needed, you can meet your kids within a short period of time.

Davos Freeride Check Point

Freeride loving skiers rave about Davos-Klosters. Information points are plentiful

Davos-Klosters Ski Experience

In Davos-Klosters you are skiing mountains not runs. The open-space here is mind-boggling and the region is famous for on and off-piste skiing. Freeriding is very popular here with over 50 km of terrain.  Given the huge amount of freeriding available here, not surprisingly, Davos is also home to a world-class avalanche training center.

At the same time, families are an important part of the ski experience at Davos-Klosters. Kids are everywhere and they offer several dedicated kids’ play zones that are perfect for young children.

Davos Ski School

All-family ‘how to carve’ lesson

We spent the day with a teacher from the Davos ski school, Markus, who has taught in this area for 19 years. Talk about someone how knows his stuff! We had a tremendous experience skiing with him, not to mention using a guide for the first day in a vast ski resort is a great way to take the struggle out of navigating where to go.

We were able to experience two of the ski resorts in our day of skiing and I covered highlights for the rest with the tourist board.

Bolgen at Davos

Perfect young kids ski terrain at Bolgen (bottom of Jakobshorn)

Madrisa

This is the family mountain with the biggest Kids Land play area catering to young children and first-time skiers.

Parsenn

Parseen is the largest of the ski areas with extensive terrain for all abilities. The other resorts are better with very young kids and first-time skiers, but we saw plenty of families skiing together.

Jakobshorn

Jakobshorn is the hip place to be with an extensive snow-park and infrastructure for snowboarding. It’s popular with teens and young adults. The bottom of this resort features a perfect kids’ area called Bolgen.

It was so well-set up for children that we were able to relax with a beer at the end of the day while our 9-year-old did a few more runs on this own using their well-supervised t-bar lift.

Pischa

Skiing here is as wide open as it gets and the views are unbelievable. We skied here for the morning and loved it. There’s a Kids Land play area for little kids and the slopes are mostly blue and red; it’s the perfect place to ski with school-aged kids.

Rinerhorn

Rinerhorn has skiing for all abilities, free riding, and a huge toboggan run. On Wednesday nights, you can go night-sledding as a family.

Schatzalp

Schatzalp is branded as the first “slowed down” ski area in Europe with gentle terrain and drag-lifts.

Hotel Meierhof Davos Children's Playroom

Children’s playroom (unsupervised) at Hotel Meierhof

Family-Friendly Hotel in Davos

We didn’t get the opportunity to explore Davos, but the tourist board set us up at the Hotel Meierhof in Davos and we loved it. It had the most comfortable bed I’ve slept on in weeks and features an excellent onsite restaurant. The ski bus literally stops outside the door. They have a kids’ menu and entertainment room, as well as an indoor pool and spa area.

Hotel Meierhof is CB Approved for sure … I’m going to add this hotel to our Switzerland hotel portfolio soon. Stay tuned.

Getting There

Davos-Klosters is a 2-hour train ride from Zurich.  Given the excellent local transportation set-up, there’s no need to rent a car to ski here.

Summer

I never like recommending things we haven’t experience but summer would also be fabulous in this region. Davos-Klosters runs a promotion where if you stay in a hotel or apartment, all the cable cars are free. This is a huge savings!

In addition to hiking, there is summer sledding, trotti bikes, a zip-line adventure course, and a public outdoor pool. The Davos lake has a beach and is popular for swimming. Check out their summer activities page for more information.

Editorial Note: Davos-Klosters hosted Ciao Bambino for accommodations and activities. They did not ask us to express any particular point of view. As usual, all opinions are our own.

Photos courtesy of Amie O’Shaughnessy with the exception of the Hotel Meierhof photo

Want More Information and Help Booking a Holiday at Davos-Klosters?

We can help! Our kid-friendly hotel review of Davos-Klosters has more information about why this property works so well for families. Use the Check Availability button to reach out for Best Available Rates and one of our Family Vacation Consultants will follow up with you to advise about any additional questions you may have regarding a stay here.

If you’d like comprehensive help planning a full beach vacation anywhere in the world, request assistance on My Trip Planner.

Relevant Links:

Ciao Bambino recommended family-friendly hotels in Switzerland

Navigating skiing in Crans-Montana with kids

Navigating skiing in Verbier with kids

Navigating skiing in Zermatt with kids

Navigating skiing in Grindelwald with kids

Catered family ski chalets in Europe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>