Laax’s pursuit of novel and innovative initiatives has positioned it as one of the most forward-thinking resorts around.

Digital Editor Joe headed to the Swiss resort to discover more about its eco centred ethos and freestyle fascination.

Nestled at the top of the Canton of Graubünden region of Switzerland, Laax boasts some of the best rideable terrain in the country. The village sits at a humble 1100m above sea level, and the lifts top out at over 3000m. Sandwiched between is some of the best ski and snowboard terrain in Switzerland served by a speedy, modern lift system.

All of these stats make up a fantastic winter resort, but are none are unique to Laax by any means. What set’s Laax apart is its commitment to the cutting edge initiatives. Never afraid to break a new path, the resort is fast gaining a reputation as one of the most progressive in the Alps, and certainly warranting its unofficial adopted slogan: Laax is nice yo!

The future is bright and definitely green for Laax

Everything from sustainable energy supplies to waste disposal revolves around Laax’s own take on environmentalism, Greenstyle. The umbrella name for the resort’s eco-centred ethos aims to minimise the environmental impact of the resort and all of its areas of operation with the ultimate goal for the resort to become an entirely self-sufficient winter sports destination.

While many resorts champion their environmental policies and boast new schemes to reduce their impact on our fragile planet, few can match up to Laax, which is fast becoming one of the most environmentally friendly resorts.

Joe Troman

100% of the electrical energy required for the skiing and snowboarding region comes from local renewable CO2-neutral sources. All lifts that have been built since 2011 are constructed using local wood and are equipped with photovoltaic elements, solar panels to you and me. But Laax is still not satisfied with their environmental efforts, just below the resort’s glacier there are plans to erect a wind farm that will provide energy for 5000 homes.

Investment in different areas of the resorts environmental infrastructure is rife with all areas being considered, not just on the mountain. In the town, novel systems were introduced last season to minimise food waste. Inefficient oil burners are being progressively removed from residences, and newer buildings like the slope side RocksResort accommodation being heated by wood pellet burners.

Greenstyle at Laax

Narrated by Ski Sunday's Ed Leigh

Laax’s eco-credentials extend beyond the resort boundaries however. Only 90 minutes south of Zurich, the resort actively encourages all holiday makers to use Switzerland’s famous public transport system. And if flying is a necessity for travellers, airport to resort connection tickets on public transport are the fastest and easiest way to reach the slopes of Laax, removing the need to book private transfers.

The newly renovated and eccentrically decorated GALAAXY complex in the Crap Soig Goin building is the epitome of Laax’s ethos. The 2200m building is home to numerous restaurants, bars, local artists and a new co-working space is the home of Greenstyle – the whole facility is even warmed by heat harvested from the two adjoining lift stations.

On the mountain and off, freestyle is in Laax’s bloodstream

The Laax Open, Pleasure Spring Sessions, and of course our own national freestyle championships, The BRITS are just a few of the elite level freestyle events held in Laax. The resort has been nominated as the best freestyle resort in the world for the third time, but what has made the freestyle community fall in love with Laax?

Joe Troman

Sitting on the shoulder of Crap Sogn Gion is the legendary P60 park. Made up of over 90 rails, kickers and other features that wind down the mountain, the park has a reputation amongst amateurs and pros as one of the very best in the world, with many Team GB Olympians listing it as one of their favourite things about the BRITS. The park itself is a ready-made arena for many of the competitions that come to Laax, with Olympic size kickers lying at the top of the park punctuated by mammoth rail features that wouldn’t look out of place at the X-Games.

In parallel to the top of the park is the Laax superpipe. All superpipes measure 22ft from coping to the floor, this is the standard for all halfpipe competitions, but what makes the Laax superpipe unique is that it is the longest one in the world. At 200m in length riders can perform more aerial stunts in one run in this pipe than in any other in the world. So long is the pipe that it is not uncommon for the top of the pipe to be in beaming sunlight while the lower half is engulfed in cloud, earning itself the nickname ‘The Big Beast Of Laax’. 

It’s not just professionals that will enjoy Laax though, novice freestylers can hone their skills in one of the beginner parks before progressing to through the intermediate parks ahead of tackling the bigger lines in the freestyle areas. And with countless jumps, side hits and other interesting features, like banked slaloms, across the 220km of pistes it’s easy to jib your way down a mountain without even touching the park.

If you prefer your freestyle in the backcountry, designated freeride zones littered with natural features. High altitude faces and chutes above perfectly spaced trees and pillow lines keep freestylers grinning from ear to ear when the powder is calling.

Off the mountain the Freestyle Academy is an indoor playground for the next generation of our sport. An indoor dry slope kicker with airbag landing provides the classroom for aspiring riders to learn new tricks and the neighbouring trampolines encourage all calibre or acrobats to progress their aerial manoeuvres. Under the roof is are several skateparks, climbing wall and slacklines, perfect for downdays and bagging a rush after the lifts have closed.

Andri Ragettli's Quad Cork

Local rider and World Cup Winner Andri Ragettli completes the world's first ever quad-cork-1800 on skis, where he span 5 full horizontal rotations and 4 full vertical rotations simultaneously.

It’s easy to see how these facilities are having an impact on local riders and even the wider sport, with Laax local Andri Ragettli winning the overall World Cup title twice and pushing the envelope with world first tricks like his impressive quad cork 1800.

With more and more people taking an interest in environmental issues and the growing popularity of freestyle aspects of our sport, Laax certainly seems to be ticking a both of those boxes. With both of these areas of interest to this author, it is difficult to argue with the slogan: Laax really is nice yo!

Find out more about the resort on our resort page or experience it for yourself with Freshtracks.

Joe stayed in the Rocks Resort in Laax as a guest of The BRITS and Laax during the 2018 British Freestyle Championships (AKA The BRITS). He travelled with SWISS International Airlines and using Swiss rail.