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Winter Sports in the Engadin-St Moritz, Graubünden, Switzerland

Engadin St. Moritz: the home of winter sport

Four large and seven small snow sport areas transform Engadin St. Moritz into a varied winter wonderland – one of the most extensive in Switzerland. And one of the most beautiful, too.

Feel the sun on your face and the powder under your feet the whole day long! For the region can lay claim to 350 kilometres (217 miles) of ski pistes. Not to mention fantastic weather – the Engadin is truly blessed with an abundance of sunshine. When the temperatures sink, the winter really comes into its own; as soon as it is cold enough, the Engadin air begins to glitter, as if it were filled with millions of the finest of snow crystals. The locals refer to these magical moments of bliss as a “champagne climate”. The fact that guests usually associate this word with a glass of the effervescent drink can hardly be held against them. After all, that too can be just as sparkling.

Thanks to its altitude of between 1,800 and 3,303 metres (5,906 – 10,837 ft) above sea level, snow is guaranteed. Moreover, the highly modern ski lifts ensure a minimum of waiting time and a maximum of efficiency in a region that is renowned for its variety; after all, it was here that, according to the legend, winter tourism was born some 150 years ago. St. Moritz – the original winter holiday resort. And a ski area, that even among world-class athletes enjoys an excellent reputation.

The ski areas

Corviglia ski area: the glamorous

Here trends are set, World Cup races, World Championships ( in 2017 the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships for the fifth time) are staged and gourmet dreams are fulfilled beside the pistes: St. Moritz’s very own mountain is nothing short of legendary.

Early risers swear by the “white carpet” – the first descent of the day down a freshly groomed piste. Already at 7.45 am, the Marguns gondola lift and Chantarella funicular swing into action; by 8.00 am, the other lifts have also commenced operations. And right on time, bathed in the first morning light, you find yourself standing on the Piz Nair, at 3,057 metres (10,030 ft) above sea level. Stretching out in front of you is a spectacular panorama, 100 kilometres (62 miles) of World Cup-quality downhill runs and the Corviglia Snow Park, featuring 30 different obstacles. The Paradiso piste on Corviglia focuses on skiers and snowboarders consciously slowing down and enjoying the sport to the full. It includes special quiet zones for relaxing, and Yoga on Snow can be practised either independently or under expert guidance. The variety of options on offer is what makes the Corviglia so special; St. Moritz’s local mountain is one of the most famous snow sport areas in the world, celebrating a champagne climate like no other.

Corvatsch ski area: the sporty

This mountain is the absolute tops: even the most discerning of skiers and snowboarders go into raptures about its exhilarating downhill runs. This winter, the Corvatsch cable car facility celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Already on the way up the mountain, the aerial cableway makes quite an impression – from Surlej, the journey to the middle station takes just seven minutes. It gets even more impressive when you have completed the final leg and, at 3,303 metres (10,837 ft) above sea level, you step out into the highest-lying summit station in the eastern Alps and find yourself surrounded by a breath-taking Alpine panorama. Something else that will completely take your breath away is the challenging 9 kilometre (5.6 mile) long “Königsabfahrt” (King Run) from the Corvatsch via Lake Hahnen directly to the St. Moritz ski area, or the longest floodlit night piste in Switzerland. Whatever you choose, the sportier among the guests will love the Corvatsch – and that far into the springtime!

Fun tour: Snowboarders and off-piste skiers who want something more challenging than perfectly shaped slopes can let off steam at the Corvatsch Freestyle Park. A total of 40,000 cubic metres (around 52,000 cubic yards) of snow have been sculpted into shape by the snow tractors. The park features more than 20 boxes (butter, straight, rainbow and curved), and offers a variety of lines for all levels of ability.

Culinary tour: In terms of gastronomy, this mountain is also the icing on the top. How about a genuine, cosy cow stall as a stylish event venue ? an absolute insider tip for après ski,relaxing on the sun terrace or evening events. At Lake Hahnen, skiers fortify themselves in the mountain restaurant before tackling the challenging black piste. And at the mountain peak, at 3,303 metres (10,837 ft), a very special taste-bud experience is awaiting: choice Graubünden specialities are prepared using exotic herbs, spices and vegetables.

Night tour: Every Friday evening, night birds make their way to the Corvatsch to participate in a very special downhill experience: the longest flood-lit ski piste in Switzerland follows a 5 kilometre (3.1 mile) route past cool snow bars and hip piste parties.

Diavolezza ski area: the dramatic

The locals talk of the “festival hall of the Alps”. And mean the theatrical panorama, the devilish pistes and the 100% skiing fun. That is, at least 100% …

Skiing here, where the icy peaks of the Bernina Massif tower high above the glacier tongues, requires considerable concentration. The walls of ice and sheer precipices seem almost within grasp. Silvery overhangs sparkle in the sun and snowy-white peaks glisten against the azure-blue sky. The diversity of slopes makes for great variety, and it can be enjoyed from mid-October to late May. As the first ski area in the region, the Diavolezza will already welcome the first snow enthusiasts on 19 October 2013. Facing it is the Lagalb; as the steepest piste in the whole of Graubünden (86% gradient), it is guaranteed the get the adrenaline pumping. A special treat is also the 45-minute fitness test: at ten kilometres, Switzerland’s longest safe glacier ski-run to Morteratsch.

Glacier descent: the crazy piste. The 10 kilometre (6.2 mile) route down the Diavolezza (2,978 m/9,770 ft) to Morteratsch (1,896 m/6,220 ft) is the longest secured glacier descent in Switzerland. That means around 45 minutes of skiing thrills amidst a rugged, incomparably beautiful landscape

Glacier descent: the crazy piste. The 10 kilometre (6.2 mile) route down the Diavolezza (2,978 m/9,770 ft) to Morteratsch (1,896 m/6,220 ft) is the longest secured glacier descent in Switzerland. That means around 45 minutes of skiing thrills amidst a rugged, incomparably beautiful landscape

Berghaus: A bathtub with a view. Located in front of the Berghaus Diavolezza, the highest-lying Jacuzzi in Europe guarantees total relaxation – and a cheerful mood.

Mythical: the moaning wind. Legend has it that a fairy dwells on the Diavolezza. Aratsch, a youth from the village, followed her over the rocks and was never seen again. To this day, at nightfall you can hear the wind moaning: “Mort es Aratsch!” (Aratsch is dead). And thus the Alp Morteratsch got its name.

Zuoz ski area: the family-friendly

Cruise down the wide pistes at a leisurely pace: the Pizzet, high above Zuoz, promises relaxing days for all the family. And an extra helping of sun.

Two of the ten pistes are black – so no one can complain that their skills are not challenged on the sun-kissed slopes of the Pizzet. However, as the “family mountain“, the Pizzet does not want to boast too loudly about that, but much rather prides itself on its child-friendliness. The youngest guests can have fun in the spacious Kinderland. Those who are ready to make their first attempts on a real ski piste are transported up the mountainside by a specially designed child-safe chair lift, from where they can improve their technique on the wide, open slopes. When the kids have grown into teenagers, they anyway prefer to do their own thing. And that is guaranteed to lead to the Snow Park, where borders and freeskiers cavort, while their parents enjoy the sunny expanse of the valley and head full of anticipation for the nearest black piste.

Delightful alternatives for big and small

Those who prefer things on a smaller scale will also find what they are looking for in the Engadin: the tiny, picturesque villages have idyllic, unpretentious ski areas right on their doorstep.

Here, the main focus is not on speed or competitiveness, but rather on stem turns, snowmen and – for the more daring – small, self-built ski jumps. In Pontresina (San Spiert/Languard), La Punt (Müsella), S-chanf (Bügls), Surlej (Cristins) and Celerina (Proluvèr), large sections of the ski pistes are devoted to the youngest guests. Samedan (Survih), on the other hand, is an ideal playground for the snow sport schools, while Maloja (Aela) is regarded as an insider tip for powder snow fans. The most beautiful views of the Upper Engadin can be enjoyed from the tobogganing and hiking mountain, Muottas Muragl. The lake plateau, the wonderful expanse of the valley, the beautiful panorama, the magical light – you can hardly get enough of looking. Particularly when the sunset provides a fiery spectacle in the sky.

Muottas Muragl: hiking, tobogganing, marvelling. The nostalgic funicular railway transports guests up to the freshly renovated, history-steeped jewel of a hotel, wicker beach chairs and winter hiking paths. Benches and blankets along the Philosophers’ Path encourage them to sit and contemplate for a while. And afterwards, the legendary toboggan run takes them on an exhilarating trip back down into the valley.

Maloja – Aela: sun, tranquillity, powder snow. Family-friendly and sun-kissed: this area is regarded as an insider tip among powder snow fans.

Pontresina – San Spiert: small, fun, varied. The family-friendly ski area around Pontresina is surprisingly varied. Here winter fun is guaranteed – from the drag lift and ski lifts to more challenging ski pistes, and from the new valley station to the toboggan run.

Samedan – Survih: learn, practise, enjoy. No wonder the winter sport schools favour this area: it is perfect for the first successful attempts on skis and snowboard, yet at the same time offers variety for more advanced sports lovers.

La Punt ? Müsella: simple, welcoming, child-friendly. With two beginner’s slopes and a playground, Müsella is a paradise for children.

S-chanf – Bügls: idyllic, tiny, safe. Opposite the picturesque Engadin village, a fun drag lift transports the youngest guests up the ski slope so that they can practise their first stem turns in the snow.

Silvaplana-Surlej: sunny, cheerful, ideal. Inexperienced skiers with big ambitions can get used to the Corvatsch by practising on the Cristins beginner’s ski lift.

Mountain gastronomy

The height of good taste

In Engadin St. Moritz, there are 34 mountain restaurants situated right next to the pistes, offering a surprisingly wide selection of culinary treats.

Naturally they also serve fondue and alpine macaroni. But now and again, it is worth spending an extended lunch break or even a whole evening delighting in outstanding alpine gastronomy. For the ski areas in the Upper Engadin are also veritable gourmet Meccas. The cuisine on offer ranges from simple home fare, such as that prepared at the cosy Berghaus Fuorcla Surlej, to the market-fresh menus and crisp salad buffet at the Murtèl middle station on the Corvatsch, right through to the superlative Kempinski gourmet dishes served at the Chesa Chantarella.

Read more about mountain restaurants…

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