RIDERS HOTEL, LAAX, SWITZERLAND
The party crashpad
Anyone who thinks skiing in Switzerland is all rösti and cuckoo clocks are dates and missing out on one of the coolest destinations: Laax. The literal world centre of freestyle skiing and boarding is an alternative prospect, and after revealing a total revamp just last year, the 63-room Riders Hotel is aimed squarely at the adrenalin-thirsty crowd. Rooms are compact but cool, complete with refreshing walk-in rain showers, black hardware and subtle metal detailing plywood beds alongside bare lightbulbs and lightly brushed-concrete floors. Only one room has a bath (The Studio), and all have floor-to-ceiling windows, with many offering a view overlooking the frozen lake from which the carbon-neutral hotel derives its heat.
A bar on the ground floor hosts free gigs on Friday nights, and a 700-capacity club in the basement heaves at weekends – but rest assured, you can’t hear it upstairs. Breakfast is a generous, heaping classic spread of cheeses, hams, breads and müsli; in the evenings things at the restaurant get more interesting with a veggie-only menu (kidney-bean burgers with jalapeño mayo and sweet-potato fries are standouts). Next door you’ll find the Freestyle Academy, featuring skate ramps, trampolines and dry-slope jumps into an airbag, ideal for perfecting your rodeo flips before strolling five minutes up the road to the Crap Sogn Gion cable car. From there you’ll have access to the Laax and Flims’ varied intermediate terrain and four snow parks – 70 per cent of it is above 6,500ft, meaning seasons are long and the snow is near perfection and reliable. Ready to book yet? .