Feel Good

Thinking about a ski holiday in Switzerland?

We explore the new travelling phenomenon of ‘patgific’ in the Swiss Alps.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 20.01.2023

Now the magic of Christmas is behind us and the cold snap of January has begun, we can’t help dreaming about ski holidays to Switzerland, France, Italy and all powder just waiting to be shredded.

And on Switzerland’s snowy slopes, the biggest trend to influence travellers this year will be patgific: the Swiss art of embracing both high-adrenaline activities and cosy respite.

Much like the Swedish ‘hygge’, patgific (pronounced ‘pat-JIFF-ick’) can’t be directly translated from Romansh into English, but essentially means the feeling of peace and tranquillity that comes with a balanced lifestyle of adrenaline mixed with relaxation.

LAAX, the year-round mountain resort in the Swiss alps just 90-minutes from Zurich, is home to the largest halfpipe in the world, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Sardona. With such a variety of high-octane activities on its doorstep, LAAX is encouraging visitors to adopt a patgific way of life for a rejuvenating Switzerland holiday.


The region of Flims Laax Falera in the Alps, only 90 minutes by car from Zurich, is known for its Switzerland holiday resort, LAAX, which incorporates a wide range of outdoor adventures across its breath-taking mountain landscape.

From hiking and biking in summer, to skiing and snowboarding in winter, LAAX has always welcomed visitors to live a patgific lifestyle – positioning itself in contrast to the glamour and luxury that is often stereotypical of Switzerland ski holidays.

The resort invites all guests to live a traditional Swiss lifestyle at their own pace, as a tonic to the burnout we all face, and expects it to become a trend throughout the travel industry as travellers seek out a more balanced holiday experience.

Visitors to LAAX will find a year-round itinerary of patgific-approved activities, from heart-pumping freestyle snowboarding in the winter, a forest yoga trail in the summer months, stargazing at the observatory after an afternoon spent tobogganing, or grinding on the skate park.


Holidays to Switzerland may have connotations of luxury, with elite resorts and expensive watches, but LAAX has forever been a champion of the chilled, all the way back to its roots in 1983.

Reto Gurtner, President and Delegate of the Board of Directors of the Weisse Arena Gruppe, has always been fascinated by the Californian surfing scene, the relaxed lifestyle in sunny Venice Beach and the freedom of riding waves. When he took over the Crap Sogn Gion mountain railway in Laax from his father at a young age, he dreamed of incorporating this lifestyle up the mountains as well.

Today, 35 years later, LAAX is known worldwide as a freestyle destination with a relaxed, urban lifestyle. Reto Gurtner brought surfers to the snow, the snowboarders up to his mountain, and made LAAX the undisputed number one in the freestyle scene.

Here’s what the LAAX experts reckon are the best activities for an adventure in the Alps all year round…

Ski the newest ungroomed snowpark: Free60

Free60 combines two of LAAX’s hallmarks: freestyle and powder.

Built entirely from natural materials sourced sustainably from the local forest, the ungroomed park has a range of obstacles from ramps, rails, bridges and pillows to get the adrenaline pumping.




Go stargazing at Switzerland’s largest public observatory

There’s a long tradition of stargazing in Falera, in the region of Laax. A combination of clear mountain air and high altitude make it the ideal location from which to explore the night skies.

Mirasteilas Observatory is Switzerland’s largest publicly accessible observatory, nestled in the mountains where visitors can gain first-hand insight into the world of astronomy with regular guided tours.


Hike the award winning Trutg dil Flem water trail

Along bubbling pools of sapphire water and down into the forests of the valley floor, the Trutg dil Flem water trail follows the Flem stream along a gentle path that’s ideal for the whole family to enjoy.

Visitors are encouraged to take their swimming gear for a refreshing plunge into the stream’s pools. Be sure to take a minute to listen to the rush of water and the call of local birds while breathing in the fresh mountain air to completely unwind.




Sunset picnic at the Swiss Grand Canyon

Just a gentle, 45-minute hike from the town of Flims, and open year-round lies Il Spir viewing platform – giving a unique, 180-degree view of the Rhine Gorge, also known as the ‘Swiss Grand Canyon’.

Il Spir – meaning ‘swift’ in the local Romansh language – is an architectural feat in itself: shaped like a swift spreading its wings to take flight over the gorge.

Best viewed from above at sunset, admire this little-known European landmark as the sun lights up the gorge’s craggy outcrops and white-water rapids while enjoying a picnic for ultimate patgific vibes.



Relax on LAAX’s first yoga and forest bathing trail

Guests can calm their minds, slow their heart rates, and reconnect with the great outdoors after a long winter of lockdowns on the region’s first yoga hike through the forest of Trin.

The route encourages yogis to walk barefoot through the route to appreciate the shapes, textures, colours and strength of the forest, as an exercise to awaken their own inner peace.

At each of the nine stops, visitors are guided by signs through an exercise designed to mirror the natural landscape; an immersive way to discover the details of the region during a stay in LAAX.


Learn to backflip at Europe’s first Freestyle Academy

The Freestyle Academy delivers a slice of Californian cool to the Swiss mountains.

Its ethos is clear: encourage guests to live with the wonder and fearlessness of children, always chasing a new adrenaline high.

Born with a dream of reinventing the famous skate parks and surf schools in California in the Swiss Alps, the Freestyle Academy has no rules; guests from age six and above are welcome to jump, climb, and flip all over the bespoke facilities, before taking their new tricks to the skate park or mountainside.

Last summer, the huge circus tent here became home to all the academy’s freestyle equipment and sporting facilities, while the original building is remodelled. Vertical ramps, trampolines, skatepark ramps and a giant airbag are all located in the temporary structure.

To continue exploring LAAX and all its patgific possibilities, visit their website
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