One famous visitor was German expressionist painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, who came to Davos for convalescence nearly a hundred years ago and fell in love with the Graubunden light. He stayed here for the rest of his life, creating astonishing, colour-saturated paintings inspired by the dramatic scenery.
Today many of these works can be seen in the Kirchner Museum, an architect-designed building that is itself a minimalist masterwork, the perfect setting to encounter Kirchner's breathtaking canvases as well as the magnificent Alpine views. The works on display change regularly, and the museum also hosts exhibitions of other artists related to the Brucke movement, co-founded by Kirchner. It's an absolute must for anyone spending time in Davos.
It goes without saying that there's plenty of skiing and snowboarding action. The slopes of Parsenn and Jakobshorn are comfortably wide and approachable, but the Rinerhorn offers more challenging runs away from the crowds. (Of course during WEF, anyone finding time to hit the slopes will have them almost to themselves--a unique experience!) The Rinerhorn also offers a 3.5km toboggan run, with night-time sledding and fondue or pasta on offer twice a week.
If you prefer a bit less adrenaline, try one of the excellent cross-country skiing routes, which are completely free to use. Choose from romantic night-time trails or FIS racing trails to test your mettle. And in the centre of town, you can take a twirl on the largest natural ice rink in Europe--18,000m2 in the open air. On Monday and Thursday evenings the rink is open till 10pm and is free of charge.
A perk of the season for anyone staying in a ski hotel is the Davos Inside programme--with an expert guide taking trips up the mountains, sharing tips on the best skiing, restaurants and views; the kind of insider information you always want and rarely find!
Apres ski... or even before
The most dazzling place to be after dark this year is sure to be the brand new InterContinental hotel, on the mountainside above Davos. Encased in golden steel, inside you'll find topflight restaurants as well as a champagne bar and cigar lounge (not to mention a panoramic terrace, to make the most of that stunning location). There's also a luxurious spa with an outdoor pool, to ensure perfect relaxation after a taxing day on the slopes (or in the conference centre).
When you need a hearty breakfast to fortify yourself for the day's exertions, two of the best offerings are from Schneider's in Davos Platz, or the pink-walled Cafe Weber in Davos Dorf (conveniently close to the Parsenn ski lift). Schneider's is the Grande Dame of Davos, 99 years old and proud of its history; Weber has a more casual, cozy ambience. But both will tempt you with a range of delicious fresh-baked bread, cakes and speciality chocolates, besides their cooked breakfasts. You can even try making your own chocolates with a special experience package from Schneider's!
A ride with a view
Finally, no visit to Graubunden would be complete without a ride on the Rhaetian Railway. Even a short trip will expose you to magnificent views, but if you have the time, the Glacier Express (the "slowest fast train in the world"!) can travel all the way to Zermatt (a 7.5hr journey), or the Bernina Express leads you into Tirano, Italy, with panorama carriages.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Platz
+41 81 410 6300
Rinerhorn sledding bit.ly/rinerhorn Cross-country trails bit.ly/xcski
Ice skating www.davos-skating.ch
Davos Inside bit.ly/dvsinside
Rhaetische Bahn Rhb.ch
0800 838 028
7260 Davos Dorf
+41 081 410 1122
7270 Davos Platz
+41 081 420 0000