Great skiing in St.Moritz
St.Moritz was open for skiing all season. This year that will remain memorable mostly for its restrictions, has not hit Switzerland so hard as the ski resorts have been open all season. Arriving by car is possible for many countries without tests, so many of our fellow citizens have skied in St.Moritz or are preparing to do so. The season lasts until the end of April, and in some places even until mid-May. Ski resorts are from 2,000 to 3,300 meters of altitude so the quality of snow is excellent even in the spring, which is why the ski season lasts longer. The place is known for the highest number of sunny days in the Alps, so it is very popular. The shortest way to get there is by taking a highway through Bergamo and then driving for another three hours or so through local roads. It is not possible to arrive there by choosing a route through Austria at the moment.
Three ski resorts
There are three ski resorts, and they are not connected by cable cars, but they are by bus and train. The ski pass, which is now at a 50% discount via the hotel and accommodation of your choice, is valid for all cable cars, buses, and trains. This is great because the Engadin valley is best explored by bus rides, which connect all significant locations and the ski lifts. It is also nice to board the train in St. Moritz and ride it to the gondolas Diavolezza and Lagalb, located near the Bernina pass. That train ride is memorable, and the train ticket is quite costly. One of the advantages of skiing in this area is that in three days you can visit the ski resorts in different natural environments. At altitudes up to 3,300 meters, there is no lack of real snow, so skiing itself is amazing.
The top of the Diavolezza gondola offers a spectacular view of the glaciers and peaks of Piz Palu and Bernina, as well as the Morteratsch glacier, along which you can descend for 10 kilometres down into the valley to arrive at the train station. At the top, you can find a hotel that is situated at the highest altitude in this part of the Alps – it also has a jacuzzi, which at that altitude is quite an impressive amenity. The trails from Diavolezza and Lagalb are mostly red, about five kilometres long, and well maintained. Both gondolas are connected by bus, and Diavolezza also by train. There are restaurants on the tops. Skiing on these cable cars offers a great excursion to the wild.
The Corvatsch ski resort begins with a gondola ride from Surlej, to which several buses run. I used the number two bus that arrived from the centre of St. Moritz in 18 minutes and stopped only at several stations along the way. At 2702 metres, one has to transfer to another gondola that runs to 3.303 metres. The terrace offers a view of all sides of Europe. In the distance, you can see Mt. Blanc, Matterhorn, ad hundreds of other peaks all higher than three thousand meters. The trails are mostly red, wide, and well maintained. Each curve reveals new views of glaciers or valleys and frozen lakes.
The highest located whiskey distillery in the world is situated at the top – Orma Whiskey. From the top, you can ski down to the Kempinski Hotel, and then by taking the road enter the Signal gondola, which leads to the main ski resort.
The main ski resort is located just above St. Moritz. It can be reached by train from the centre or by gondolas Signal and Celerina. The train ride ends at Corviglia, which is the centre of the ski resort, and the lower gondola station is placed on Piz Nair at 3.056 metres altitude.
The trails are about two to three kilometres long. They are wide and naturally indented, but also well maintained so they are suitable for all types of skiers. The central place is Marguns, where a popular restaurant is found. Fast six-seater chairlifts start on different sides of Marguns.
The Corvatsch and Corviglia ski resorts are connected in Snow safari which offers five stations from which online postcards can be sent to friends ’email addresses. All you have to do is save the QR code.
The terrains are never crowded because a good part of the visitors of this fashionable place does not ski. St. Moritz has a lot to offer, from activities to shopping and numerous events throughout the year. To name just a few that take place on a frozen lake: The Snow Polo World Cup in January, the White Turf – horse races (being held since 1907), The Ice – a rally of old cars, and even the ski races for the World Cup, which may sound strange. Summers are no less interesting: the Bernina Gran Turismo car races, the Classic Car Meeting, the Passione Engadina, the Free Fall Vertical Summer Run, and various gourmet festivals and the like. Something nice is happening all the time and it attracts rich and relaxed guests who stay in the village for weeks.
My favourite field trip is by carriage through the village and around the frozen lake and forest. It lasts between an hour and two, which under warm fur is a really romantic experience. The carriages attract attention, so walkers and passers-by wave as if they were celebrities.
A special attraction is riding electric snow bikes on forest roads and lakes. At the end of the two-hour ride, which is not too physically demanding, especially when the bikes are top-notch, an outdoor dinner by the fire and hot cocktails are being served. I will never forget that dinner under the stars. Wrapped in fur in good company with great food, time passes quickly, and you don’t feel cold at all. You can return to the hotel by taxi or bicycle.
People who mostly come for skiing, choose a period before or after the main season of events. Our choice was the Monopol Hotel in the city centre. Director Dominik Zubruegg pointed out that this Art Boutique hotel is also a museum because it is filled with exhibits by modern artists. Each floor is dedicated to one painter. The Sky Bar is located on the top floor and it has quite an interesting crowd gathering there for cocktails. The hotel also has an excellent Italian restaurant, Mono, with an excellent wine list. The hotel is very comfortable, and the staff is very helpful. We also met a woman from Varaždin who works in the Mono restaurant. The ski train is about a hundred meters away, which is really not that far. Around the hotel, one can mostly find boutiques of famous brands, jewellery stores, and watch shops. Hanselmann’s, a famous patisserie, is located nearby.
Shopping here is amazing, after all when there are more jewellery stores, watch shops, and top boutiques in the ski centre than actual ski equipment stores, all is clear. St.Moritz is not just a ski resort; this location is far more than that – and it has been like that for a very long time. They themselves described St.Moritz the best: St.Moritz is more than just a spa, more than a winter sports destination, more than a magnet for countless celebrities, artists, and aristocrats.
The gastronomy is also tailored to guests. There are as many as six Michelin star restaurants in the village and seven more with Michelin recommendations.
Legends and history
Legend has it: The history of St.Moritz as we know it today began in 1864 when hotelier Johannes Badrutt placed a bet with one of his British guests. He promised them that, in addition to beautiful summers, the winter in St. Moritz is so comfortable that on clear days you can enjoy the sun on the terrace without a jacket. If it had turned out he was wrong, the hotelier had promised that he would pay travel expenses and accommodation for them. The following December a group of Britons crossed the Julien Pass dressed in fur from head to toe. Upon arrival in St. Moritz, they were greeted by a blue sky, warm sun, and Badrutt himself who greeted them without a jacket and with rolled-up sleeves. That is how winter tourism came to be. The history actually began 3,000 years ago when the place became known for its springs of healing mineral water. One is still active today and is located in the Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski.
Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski
In a conversation with the director of the Kempinski Hotel, Mr. Konstantin Zuek, we learned a lot about the structure of the guests. In the hotel itself, in addition to the rooms, there are huge residences of several hundred square meters and with several bedrooms. They are rented to guests who want privacy and an escape from the city’s fast life. The hotel has several restaurants, the most famous of which is the two-Michelin-starred Ca d Oro. The hotel itself is in a great location for skiers in the St. Moritz Bad area next to the Signal gondola.
St. Moritz is synonymous with luxury
It is the number one ski resort in the world for the ultra-rich, who visit it all year round. True, not everyone skis, maybe half of them, but that doesn’t mean it’s ever boring here. A handful of fun and top-notch events are the lures for all jet setters who simply have to be seen in St.Moritz. During these days, the most expensive apartments are reserved year after year in advance. In addition to those kinds of events, there are many places for “ordinary” people to enjoy as well. St.Moritz is known for good skiing, the highest number of sunny days in the Alps, and most of all a good time. You can be accommodated in the village and its surroundings for the same money as you would spend in any other ski resort in the Alps. It is not more expensive, especially if you plan your arrival outside the event season. March and April are ideal for visiting St.Moritz. The days are long, the snow is amazing, and there is enough of it.