ST. MORITZ FACTS
SEASON START & END: October until April
SKI ALTITUDE IN METRES: 1716 – 3303 metres above sea level / Vertical descent 1587 metres
PISTES: 88 pistes (20% easy / 70% medium / 10% difficult )
Night slopes : 4.2 km Corvatsch / 0.5 km Ski lift Survih, Samedan / 0.5 km Languard, Pontresina
Longest descent : 10 km glacier descent (Diavolezza-Morteratsch)
Full moon descent: 5 km slope Diavolezza Berg/Diavolezza Tal
LIFTS: 55 lifts across all ski resorts. See online.
LIFT TICKET: Ski passes for the Upper Engadin for the winter season 2022/23 are available, with attractive savings on offer thanks to the “Snow-Deal” dynamic pricing model. Buy your lift pass now and enjoy an early-booking discount – plus additional family reductions. See online.
NOTE: Book the “Sleep+Ski“ offer at one of 40 participating hotels and benefit from a hotel ski pass at a fixed price of CHF 45.00 per day. Only bookable for the entire duration of your stay. See online.
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING: Up to 220 km of prepared cross-country ski runs (skating and classic), 3.5 km night trails in St. Moritz (skating) and Pontresina (skating).
LANGUAGE: Rhaeto-Romanic and German are the two official languages / In the Upper Engadin (Sils to S-chanf) the Rhaeto-Romanic dialect Puter is spoken. / In Maloja, Italian is spoken in addition to German.
AIRPORT: Arrival by car from airport: Samedan 7 km / Zurich 215 km / Basel 290 km / Lugano 180 km / Geneva 480 km / Munich 280 km / Frankfurt 590 km / Friedrichshafen 210 km / Innsbruck 190 km / Milan 175 km / Bergamo 195 km
TRAIN: Zurich HB to St. Moritz – 3 hours 21 minutes. / Rhaetian Railway (RhB) from Chur / Tirano to St. Moritz on the Bernina Express – 2 hours 22 minutes.
SKI FACTS: St. Moritz is the birthplace of winter tourism and Alpine sport, which came about over 150 years ago as the result of a bet. With a total of 87 World Cup standard slopes and pistes, St. Moritz is amongst the largest and most varied winter sports regions in the Alps.
The biggest town in the Engadin valley area and the main centre is St. Moritz itself, which is steeped in Alpine tourism history. However, at the base of Corvatsch are the little towns of Surlej, Silvaplana and Sils im Engadin, a slower pace of life compared to St. Moritz but with stunning views of Corviglia, one can feel the excitement of the mountains that sit just above them, our favourite hotel is the 4* Superior Nira Alpina, which is at the base of the slopes and the Surlej-Murtèl cable car.
Diavolezza and Lagalb do not have a town as such, however the nearest town is Pontresina just 15 minutes away, allegedly meaning ‘The Bridge of the Saracens‘ after 10th century Arab invasions. The village has an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity, luxury here is understated and subtle. The Grand Hotel Kronenhof once a guesthouse is reputed to be the first hotel to open to the public in the Alps.
In the Engadin valley there are 11 areas to ski with 4 of them being of some considerable size. Two of my favourites from this region are Corvatsch/Furtschellas and Diavolezza/Lagalb. Both vastly different from Corviglia that sits directly above St. Moritz. Both Corvatsch/Furtschellas and Diavolezza/Lagalb are snow-sure areas due to their height which makes for breathtaking views of peaks, glaciers and endless free-ride opportunities.
Corvatsch certainly won me over with its 120 kms of piste, the area feels vast and when we visited there was hardly anyone on the pistes so it felt like we had the mountain to ourselves; something I have heard from many other winter sports fans too. Due to most of the pistes being north facing, it can be a little colder at times, but the sun does swing round and hit some of the slopes later in the day.
This northerly aspect means empty slopes and amazingly grippy snow which lasts until the end of season. We love all the pistes here from the high altitude reds down to the two valley runs with their twisting, turning rollers that wind their way through the forest. With the various mountain restaurants one is spoilt for choice.
Corvatsch has a bit of a free-ride vibe. It is not unusual for the powder snow to stick around right through to April. It also has the largest freestyle terrain parks in Switzerland at the Murtèl middle station. The Black 9km ‘05-Hahnensee’ piste down to St. Moritz is worth a slide. On Fridays, Switzerland’s longest floodlit piste at 4.2km is open 7pm-1am Dec-Jan / 7pm-2am Feb-Apr. It can also be privately booked on other nights. We loved all of the pistes but particularly liked the very quiet ‘01-Standard’ leading to ‘02-Fuorcla’. Favourite mountain restaurants on this side were ‘Fuorcla Surlej’ and ‘Alpetta’.
Diavolezza – meaning ‘She-Devil’ – is a spectacle; legend has it that many a man lustfully sort after her never to return from the mountain, well I lived to ski another day but there certainly is something enchanting about this mountain, she certainly won my heart.
There may only be a couple of lifts but this is a mountain that I can ski again and again, we just love it here… is it the high Alpine views of the glaciers? Is it the beaming sun that seems to stay no matter what happens elsewhere? Is it because we usually see about 4 people on the piste each time? Is it because the snow conditions are outstanding due to the northerly aspect and altitude? Is it because as an Alpine Artist every mountain is a work of art? Or am I just under the spell of the Fairy Queen or She-devil as some call her?
The pistes on Diovalezza are great for practising your carving drills and perfecting your technique; we do often ask the question could red piste 02 possibly be the best in the world?!? The freshly made pizzas at Pizzeria Piz Alv at the bottom of the Diavolezza Cable car station are certainly worth a mention too.
Lagalb across the valley delivers some high altitude remote skiing as well. One can ski across from Diavolezza and take the magic carpet. Once again the pistes are long and sweeping with very few people. On the days that we visited the weather was completely different on this side being windy with clouds, which demonstrates how mountains can have totally different microclimates from each other. Make sure to look southwest towards to Diavolezza and northwest down the valley for some spectacular views.
Both areas do not have loads of terrain for beginners. Complete beginners may want to look to some of the smaller Engadine villages like Zuoz, Pontresina or Celerina.
Both areas of Corvatsch and Diavolezza have a huge amount of pistes for intermediates and will provide days of fun with their vast selection of terrain.
There are not a vast array of black pistes around the St. Moritz region, but when you find them, they tend to be a lot of fun.
Both areas offer great free-ride opportunities and because they are mostly north and north-east facing the off-piste tends to keep pretty well. Freeride areas of note are: Lagalb to La Rösa, Val Arlas (Diavolezza) and the 10 km glacier run from the top of Diovalezza down the Morteratsch glacier down to Morteratsch.
For Hotels that are close to the Corvatsch Pistes then we recommend the 4* Superior Nira Alpina.
For Hotels that are close to the skiing at Diavolezza & Lagalb then we recommend the 5* Superior Grand Hotel Kronenhof.