The Magic Mountain – it is not only a novel or a fairy tale – it is real and it is alive in Davos! Thomas Mann’s novel with the name „The Magic Mountain“ is one of the most influential works in the German literature of the 20th century. The author got inspired for his work during his visits at the forest sanatorium in Davos. Around 1912 his wife – Katia Mann was suffering from lung disease and was having treats at this cosmopolitan location with other famous persons among which artists, authors and philosophers. The formation of a highly interesting intellectual society on such an isolated place and the romantic atmosphere of the mountains were the foundation for Thomas Mann’s novel.
The building in the style of art-nouveau (Jugendstill) was constructed in the years 1898-1900. It was designed as advanced sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. Since 1954 it is operating as a hotel. It is one exclusive hideaway with spectacular view over the town of Davos. After being closed for over seven years the nearby private skiing area – Schatzalp – was reopened after reconstruction of the lifts for the winter season 2009/2010. The operators are trying to keep alive the mountain romance and the lifestyle of an isolated easygoing word described from Thomas Mann almost 100 years ago. Compared to other skiing areas where speed and high-tech are the main signatures, Schatzalp promotes the „Slow Mountain“ slogan. The ski lifts are running on slow pace and there is no artificial snow. The staff is calm and friendly – and you are going to enjoy the chat with them about the local habits and nature.
On our first day in Davos we decided to visit this nostalgic skiing area and the historic hotel. As I am skiing just since a couple of years and only one week per year I am just an intermediate learner and I need a warm-up session on every first skiing day in the year. So the Schatzalp area was the perfect place to do this. It is quite small featuring only easy slopes and there are almost no snowboarders. It was the right decision to try it out on the first day – because of the few skier on the slope one is feeling very exclusive . The weather was gorgeous and I was able to enjoy the calm of the nature and the unique atmosphere of the Swiss Alps.
The Mountain Hotel Schatzalp is just about 200 meters away from the lift which brings you on the top of the mountain. There is no mass tourism and no razzmatazz at the après-ski bar. The mountain railway is running until late in the night so you can also just have a dinner in the glamorous Belle-Epoque-Saloon restaurant of the hotel – your return journey is in this case for free.
However there is potential for improving – and this is the long running T-bar lift which can be quite exhausting. Maybe some of you think now I am a little bit spoiled but I am just honest – it’s the only one negative thing and it’s really exhausting. When I am on holiday I observe very often the small details – of the service, of the accommodation, of the facilities and I like to think about what could be done better. This does not mean that I don’t like it. I appreciate the high attention to the details and it makes me happy to discover small things designed with love – like the nostalgic design of the lift pass.
I will visit the Schatzalp skiing area for sure again – not only because of its historical background but also because of its trend-setter attitude. Because of the healthy mountain air and the idyllic world Davos developed in the last 100 years to a world-famous winter and spa resort. It’s being one of the first mountain areas in the past featuring theaters, cinemas and coffee houses and is still beloved recreation area.