Arosa is situated at the end of the Schanfigg valley at a height of 1,742 to 1,900 m above sea level. The place is at the foot of the Weisshorn (2,653 m). It possesses a well-known and safe skiing area and boasts over 60 kilometers of slopes. The municipality comprises an area of 42.54 square kilometres.
The first known settlements are from the 13th century. After 1300 Arosa German-speaking Walser settlers came from Davos and replaced the Romansh-speaking original inhabitants. During the following centuries, the inhabitants subsisted on alpine pasture economy. Until the year 1851 it was politically a part of the Davos municipality. Arosa was discovered as a health resort by a German doctor in 1883, and the first sanatorium was opened in 1888. From 1900 on it became by and by also a winter resort. 1938 the first ski elevators were constructed, and 1956 the Weisshorn cable car was opened and further rope and chair lifts followed.
Skiing in Switzerland received a big boost in England from none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes series. Doyle, an avid sportsman, was spending winter time in Davos, long before it became fashionable to take winter vacations in the Alps. For entertainment, he ordered some skiing "boards" from Norway and hiked up the mountain with two local guides. They then skied down into Arosa, ending their journey with a luncheon at a local inn, the Seehof, the first Hotel in Arosa. Doyle wrote of his pioneering Davos/Arosa ski adventure in a British magazine, The Strand, in 1894, and the story attracted British skiers to Switzerland. It's said that no guides today will retrace Doyle's route over the Maienfelder Furka Pass because of the avalanche risk inherent in the terrain.
The main economy is tourism, for which Arosa maintains 4,287 guest beds.