The Best Undiscovered Ski Resorts in Europe: Disentis, Switzerland

Where it's more about skiing than the scene

Mar 8, 2013
Outside Magazine

Disentis Abbey.    Photo: Ikiwaner/Wikimedia Commons

Located in east Switzerland’s Graubünden region, Disentis 3000, as the resort is known, touts 10 ski lifts and 37 miles of runs. But Disentis is best known for its lift-accessed, out-of-bounds offerings, which require little-to-no hiking and are steep and long—the mountain boasts a nearly 6,000-vertical-foot drop, longer than any place in the United States. The slopes are uncontrolled and unpatrolled, so it’s worthwhile to ski with one of the guided “freeride groups” offered by the resort at $127 per person. A guide with Alpventura costs $137 per person for a group of five. Reserve in advance; guides book up fast. Be sure to hit the Val Gronda, or “big valley” in the local dialect Romansch, the closest living language to Latin. From the top of the Pez Ault lift, go skier’s left, traverse for about five minutes, and then drop in to the immense, treeless bowl. Continue on to the Aclette Valley and ride it all the way back down to the base. On low visibility days, hit Bostg, a north-facing slope that features great tree skiing and often harbors stashes of fresh snow.

After a day tapping Disentis’ goods, grab a beer at Nagijala, a bar at the base of the resort, which also offers ping-pong, board games, and live entertainment on weekends, plus two-for-one happy-hour beer specials. Stay at Nagijala for as little as $42 a night, which includes a bunk and use of the communal kitchen. This is the most happening spot in the valley, so if you want some semblance of nightlife, Nagijala is your ticket.

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