Next stop

Dawn seen from tree houses

Dawn seen from tree houses - Next stop

An owl hoots, the wood is bathed in early morning mist, the wind murmurs. Inside the tree house, there is a fresh smell of resin. And in the large family bed, Luca (9), Gianna (4) and Alessia (11) snuggle up in between mum and dad. Time for a fairytale at Madrisa Land above Klosters, some 1,900 meters above sea level.

"And they all lived happily ever after." That's how the story of the Wolf and the Seven Young Kids ends. And that's how the Solér family starts the day in the tree house at Madrisa Land. Mum Daniela has just finished telling this classic tale in the big bed, before breakfast, on an empty stomach, so to speak. The sun peeks through the red-and-white checked curtains into this tree-like tower room on stilts. Time to get up and explore the adventure park. Time for fun!

Serious dam building

Splash! And the youngest family member has already fallen into knee-deep water. Gianna was too eager to hop into the little rowing boat in which she wanted to tootle around. She picks herself up, soaked to the skin. She's not sure whether to laugh or cry – after all, she did wear her little pink skirt especially for the occasion. A few tears flow, but after two or three minutes the cold shock is forgotten. And soon the adventure continues: Luca – quite the professional – has already managed to position the dam in the Alpine brook so that the tamed current is now turning the water wheel. His technical flair doesn't come from nowhere. "Just like his dad – always fiddling around, pressing switches and levers," says his amused father, who prepares the ice at the Vaillant Arena, where HC Davos fights for points and championships.

Dry clothes by cable car

The three kids immediately race off to the bouncy castle, where they jump around with glee. "We have a trampoline at home. We're likely to be here for hours once they really get going," mother Daniela warns. But they've soon disappeared from sight again. A fun family competition is staged: girls against boys. Who can hit the most cardboard foxes by throwing tennis balls? For once, the men manage to nose ahead. But consolation is not slow in coming: as if by magic, new clothes appear for Gianna. We are in the land of fairytales. The good fairy at reception has had a new set of t-shirt, trousers and pullover brought up from the valley especially by cable car. After some hesitation (she doesn't really like the colours), Gianna swaps her make-do outfit of a towel for the dry items.

Climbing like a mountain goat

And she's already off again – to the Geissler animal enclosure to see alpacas, Shetland ponies, piglets, young chicks and pygmy goats. These shaggy little creatures put up with a lot of petting – and when they've had enough they climb up onto the nearest stone. With little Gianna hot on their heels. She too waves down from on high. At the same time, Luca whizzes past overhead – on the 200-metre long Flying Fox. Daredevil Alessia has already zoomed down the gigantic 70-metre slide three times. Time flies by in Madrisa Land. Only hunger brings the little rascals back to reality.

A crazy idea comes true

It's time for a family-sized portion of chicken nuggets with chips. The family settles down in the cosy restaurant, on a fur-covered bench. Hacher Bernet, the founder of the tree huts and the Madrisa adventure park, joins the happy gang. In the local Prättigau region, he is considered daring. Others even call him 'crazy'. "Some people thought I must be mad, when I first mentioned the idea in 2006. Maybe I am. But Madrisa Land was the only sensible way to bring life back to the mountainside in summer." With the active support of a patronsʼ committee that included some big names, this out-and-out entrepreneur from Klosters convinced politicians it was a good idea to build tree houses in a fairytale wood.

Full disabled access

Bernet won't be deterred from pursuing his vision. His heart beats for children. In particular, for disabled children. They get to sleep and eat for free at Madrisa Land. All the paths are wheelchair accessible. And success has proved him right: his tree houses generate more than 1,000 overnight stays per season. Especially at weekends, the three huts are booked up for weeks ahead. Most of the visitors, generally Swiss people of all ages, stay for one night. And come back again to this magical Alpine land of dreams.