Resort Profile: St. Moritz
Review by Kris Herbert
St. Moritz is the oldest winter holiday resort of the world (since 1864). Chic, elegant and exclusive, St Moritz sits 1856 m above sea level, in Upper Engadine valley. The marketing department refers to the weather as a "sparkling champagne climate" and the sun shines an average of 322 days a year.
Soaking up that sun in champagne-lined loungers are the crème de la crème of the skiing chic. Fur coats, fluffy boots and one-piece suits about. There’s more sparkle in St Moritz than a Swarovski chandelier.
But look past the glamour and you’ll see acres and acres of untracked powder.
There are three large resorts on the St Moritz/Engadine pass. In total, there are 60 lifts and 350km of runs between 1800 to 3300 metres above sea level.
Corviglia Piz Nair Marguns is the classic St Moritz experience. Its cable car leaves from the heart of St Moritz village and sits on the sunny side of the valley. Corviglia is also the largest ski area in the Engadine.
Corvatsch is the second largest, but its position on shadier side of the valley means it’s not as popular for sunbathers. The skiing, however, is better and after a good storm, good snow conditions on the high, south-facing resort will last for weeks. One of Corvatsch’s greatest assets is a wood-fired pizza oven at the top of the cable car – European skiing at its best.
On Friday nights, Corvatsch opens a cable car for flood-lit night skiing. Bars crank out 80s Euro-pop and have outdoor bonfires blazing.
Diavolezza is smaller but possibly most impressive. The glacier landscape is spectacular. The cable car and chairlift access long off-piste runs, including a glacier run, while the main piste is suitable for intermediate skiers.
Muottas Muragl lifts access a 4km toboggan ride. For 250 Swiss Francs, you can build your own igloo at Muottas Muragl and stay the night. The package includes access up the funicular, sleeping bags and mats, a fondue dinner and breakfast in the mountain hotel and toboggan hire.
Other, smaller resorts on the Engedine pass include Maloja-Aela, Samedan-Survih, Pontresina, La Punt-Müsella and Zuoz.
Off-piste, St Mortiz is an expensive place to play. The cheapest room we could find was 65 Euros a night. The most expensive is 4500 Euros.
But if you’ve got some cash, there’s no shortage of places to spend it. Prada, Cartier, Gucci and Versace are just some of the big name shops. There’s also no shortage of high-end restaurants and champagne-laden bars.
The valley is also home to cross-country skiing, the Cresta Run, a bob run, horse and greyhound races on the frozen lake, cricket, polo and golf tournaments, Olympic ski jump, a gourmet festival, and the music festival, Snow & Symphony.
Article sponsored by Kingswood Skis - the World's first carbon neutral ski manufacturer
|Author: Kris Herbert who is a Freelance journalist based in Christchurch, NZ. She has worked in Antarctica as a journalist for the National Science Foundation and in 2005, was named Best New Science Writer by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.|
photo credit: urban2forest