Splügen

Splügen is a good three hours from Basel, but it is an easy trip and it covered by the Swiss Railways Snow’n’Rail scheme with a corresponding 20% discount on the rail and lift passes. The journey to Chur is simple and doesn’t normally require a change, and the bus station in Chur is right above the platforms. You can actually get as far as Thusis by train, but the direct bus service from Chur is good.

Splügen
Splügen Base Station

I was once told that the Post Buses only run on the sections of the Swiss road network where private operators can’t make a profit. Whatever the reason, there is something reassuring about the Swiss Post Buses, with their bright livery and the certain knowledge that they will always stop outside the post office and on time. And apparently never a single fatality, which is impressive considering some of the tortuous mountain routes they cover on icy winter roads. The Bellinzona-bound bus stops and picks up right next to the Splügen lifts too, one stop before Splügen Post – the stop is Splügen Bergbahnen.

It is a strange thing about using public transport in Switzerland that you often find yourself sitting next to someone carrying a gun. You often see rifle ranges and gun magazines, even shops selling guns in Switzerland, but the most common reason to see someone with a gun is that they are on military service. And they have no ammunition. If you ask a Swiss person with a gun whether they have it to defend themselves they look askance. “Defend our country” might be the answer, but there is no machismo associated with gun ownership. I think the US constitution was a model for the Swiss, but somehow they came up with a saner interpretation of the 2nd amendment. Gun crime is low in Switzerland, but the gun suicide rate is relatively high compared to countries with low gun ownership. The irony of gun ownership is that gun owners and their families in every society are more at risk of gun crime or gun accidents than non-gun owners.

Anyway, back to the snow. Splügen is small, maybe 30km, but the slopes are OK. There is a good mix of reasonable blacks, reds and blues with enough off-piste available to keep anyone happy. The valley runs are scenic and the one alongside the gondola is pretty impressive. The lift system is not extensive but adequate, providing lift access to runs between 2215m and 1484m, and only one (largely avoidable) t-bar. One of the better small resorts in my opinion.

The restaurants and bars were good. Nothing extraordinary and no wild nightlife. This is a basic ski resort, but clearly popular with locals even with the attraction of bigger resorts nearby.

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