Engadin St. Moritz - Nerve-Tingling Fun at 1,800 M.A.S.L.

Story by Switzerland

Posted: December 29, 2008
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A huge variety of adventure sports, unlimited fun in the snow – this is Engadin St. Moritz. Switzerland's largest snow sports region is the heart-throb of every true winter sports adventurer.

A deep blue sky, glistening powder snow and bright sunshine – all it takes for a perfect winter day. For adventure sports lovers, too – looking for something special, looking to put their nerves to the test. Looking for a wide choice of sports and reliable infrastructure, but more than anything else, looking to experience nature real close up, to feel the heartbeat of life, and live the challenge that every new day brings.

Pretty big expectations, in fact. And thus winter sports adventurers are ever on the move, ever on the lookout for the next destination, the one that's even better, that offers even more action, ever more variety than the last.

And eventually they find themselves in Engadin St. Moritz, an alpine valley at 1,800 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.). that has just about everything a sports fan can imagine.

Join us on our journey through the winter sports paradise of Engadin St. Moritz – home to adventure and trend sports such as snow-kiting, ice climbing and air-boarding, a place with guaranteed snow, sunshine on an average of 322 days a year, and genuine hospitality. A region out of the ordinary that has adventurous winter sports enthusiasts returning time and again for their favorite, extra special winter kick. So put on your gear and push off!

Sports galore

 The choice is mind-boggling. A turbo-speed run down the world's oldest still existing natural ice bobsleigh chute, paragliding over snowy peaks, or the adrenaline rush you get from air-boarding, ice-climbing or snow-kiting – Engadin St. Moritz offers so many exciting sports it's hard to know where to start. Beginners – and even pros wanting to perfect their style – will also find schools and classes for all kinds of sports experiences and adventures.

This is a winter sports region of the superlative that leaves nothing to be desired. Expect modern infrastructure, numerous restaurants with friendly service, and teeming après-ski hotspots. There's so much to do, in fact, that you'll never have time for it all… So here are our "must do" recommendations for a visit to the Swiss winter sports region of Engadin St. Moritz --

The irresistible mountain world…

Corvatsch Furtschellas

Silvaplana's "home mountain" has 14 lifts and mountain railways that offer variety and fun at up to 3,303 m.a.s.l. – and a free view of the breathtaking Fex Valley and the lake scenery of the Upper Engadin to top it off.

Diavolezza Bernina

 Imposing and unspoiled – this is what comes to mind when you first see the "beautiful devil", the Diavolezza Bernina Range. Piz Bernina in particular will leave a lasting impression – at 4,049 m.a.s.l. it is the highest peak in the Canton Grisons. And as to runs, the glacier run Morteratsch/Isla Persa is the longest in the Engadin.

Corviglia Marguns

23 lifts and mountain railways, almost 100 kilometers of runs groomed daily, and 14 mountain restaurants that have enough delicious food and breathtaking views to get even the weariest adventurers back on their feet. Take your pick among the many reasons to pay a visit to this winter sports region.

…plus countless adventure sports

Bobsleighing:

The Olympic Bobsleigh Run is the only remaining natural-ice run in the world. Numerous European and World Championships, and two Olympic competitions were held on this 1,612 meter-long ice chute that leads from St. Moritz to Celerina. On a four-man bobsleigh, sandwiched between a professional pilot and breaker, hobby bobsleigh riders can test their nerves and racing skills and get a whiff of competition air. The feel of the headwinds as one shoots down the run is unforgettable!

Ice climbing:

 Climbing on eternal ice – a particular fascination and a challenge for both beginners and the advanced. It's easy to get hooked on the interaction of strength and dexterity, of man and nature. "go vertical" is a climbing school in Pontresina that offers a wide selection of equipment, and both climbing classes and private tours with experienced mountain guides. Clamp on your irons and up you go!

Snow-kiting:

This is the winter equivalent to summer's kite-surfing, and the frozen lake of Silvaplana is the perfect place to enjoy it. A totally new way of mastering snow and ice, with skis or a snowboard on your feet, and a kite flying overhead. Pros can have their run of the lake to perfect their style whenever they choose. Beginners on the other hand are well-advised to get a few starting tips from a professional instructor at classes run by the kite-sailing school, "Swiss-Kite-Surf". Once introduced to the sport, it's easy to dream of flying ever higher to conquer the skies!

Skiing/Snowboarding:

 It's no coincidence that Engadin St. Moritz is known around the world as a skier's and snowboarder's paradise. 350 kilometers of snow-guaranteed runs, innumerable freeride areas and fun parks, and a permanent half-pipe await the adventurer on one or two boards.

A highlight not to be missed is the "Snow Night" on Corvatsch. The Friday evening happening is legendary amongst winter sports lovers from near and far – not only because it offers Switzerland's longest flood-lit run, but also because of its fun atmosphere and entertainment program – with partying to the early hours to drinks, disco and occasionally even fireworks.

The "Snow Safari" is another must-do. Get the run of the slopes at Furtschellas, Corvatsch, Corviglia, Marguns, Lagalb and Diavolezza rolled into one single ski pass – covering 99 kilometers of groomed runs, with three 'threethousanders' and a difference in altitude of 6666 meters! The ultimate winter sports variety for good skiers and snowboarders.

Paragliding/Hang-gliding:

This has to be the most efficient way to get your bearings the Upper Engadin – soaring like a bird under sunny skies, surrounded by an amazing panorama wherever you look. Weather permitting, hang-gliding and paragliding pros offer taxi rides daily. No prior experience needed – just a good dose of courage to leave solid ground so far below…

Helicopter flights:

 For the same panorama only less of a draft, helicopter operators offer circular tours. The perfect vantage point for preparing the next skiing, snowboarding or hiking tour. And if you can't look at the perfect, pristine peaks without getting itchy feet, you can land on Piz Corvatsch and Piz Nair for some heli-skiing in the deep, untouched snow.

Air-boarding:

Switzerland's newest winter sports trend: hurtling down a run head-first on a lightweight inflated sledge – for example on Muottas Muragl. Only for the seriously daring!

Horn-sledding:

It's hard to believe that these old-fashioned looking sleds can reach speeds of up to 80 km/h. Once used to transport wood and hay down from the alpine pastures, the horn-sleds are the new favorite of daredevil speed-junkies. The annual horn-sledding race held on the Olympic Bobsleigh Run is a highlight for racers and onlookers alike.

Getting there

 Engadin St. Moritz is well serviced by public transportation. The comfortable train journey from Zurich main station to St. Moritz takes only 3 hours and 21 minutes. And the spectacular Rhaetian Railways section from Chur to the Upper Engadin is a scenic treat not to be missed.

The region is just as easy to get to by car – from anywhere in Switzerland and the bordering countries. Once in the region, the best way to get from village to village is by Engadin Bus.

And for all those who really can't wait to get there, the valley has its own airport – in fact, Engadin Airport is the highest one in Europe.

In Engadin St. Moritz, each village has its own tourist office that offers a wealth of information in the four Swiss national languages of German, French, Italian, and Romansch – and of course in English, too. So there's no excuse for missing out on what the region has in store for you!

Accommodation

Whether traditional coziness or modern purism, Engadin St. Moritz has accommodation to suit every taste and bank balance –

Youth hostels:

St. Moritz Bad Youth Hostel

Close by the lake, the sports center and the indoor pool – the perfect starting point for a whole variety of sports activities.

+41 (0)81 833 39 69, www.youthhostel.ch/st.moritz

Sils Youth Hostel

In a real castle, but only available for groups of 10 persons or more.

+41 (0)81 651 15 18, www.youthhostel.ch/sils

Pontresina Youth Hostel

Centrally located near Pontresina's railway station, friendly and uncomplicated.

+41 (0)81 842 72 23,www.youthhostel.ch/pontresina

Hotels:

Hotel Inn Lodge, Celerina

Central and quiet location in the heart of Celerina, urban design, streamlined rooms.

+41 (0)81 834 47 95, www.innlodge.ch

Julier Palace, Silvaplana

Right at the center of Silvaplana, rooms ranging from the simple to the luxurious.

+41 (0)81 828 96 44, www.julierpalace.com

Hotel Müller, Pontresina

Light and atmospheric, a hotel designed in the Zen style.

+41 81 839 30 00, www.hotel-mueller.ch

Hotel Misani, Celerina

Stylish and modern. For that "real" mountain feeling, decorative objects (such as deer antlers or cuckoo clocks) can even be borrowed for free during one's stay.

+41 (0)81 839 89 89, www.hotelmisani.ch

Hotel Seraina, Sils

Charming family hotel with cozy rooms and good traditional cooking.

+41 (0)81 838 48 00, www.hotel-seraina.ch

Hotel Steinbock, Pontresina

Traditional Engadin-style hotel with a lot of stone-pine paneling, cozy corner benches and Grisons charm.

+41 (0)81 839 36 26, www.steinbock-pontresina.ch

Palazzo Mysanus, Samedan

Rustic yet modern, regularly hosts blues, soul and jazz concerts.

+41 (0)81 852 10 80, www.palazzomysanus.ch

Hotel Crusch Alva, Zuoz

Small hotel centrally located in one of the oldest historic buildings in Zuoz.

+41 (0)81 854 13 19, www.hotelcruschalva.ch

Adventure sports contacts

Bobsleighing:

Olympic Bobsleigh Run, +41 (0)81 830 02 00,www.olympia-bobrun.ch

Ice climbing:

go vertical, +41 (0)81 834 57 58,www.govertical.ch

Helicopter flights, Heliskiing, Air-boarding:

AAA – All Activities Agency, +41 (0)81 832 22 33, www.aaa-stmoritz.ch

CCrystal Events, +41 (0)81 834 49 35, www.crystal-events.ch

The St. Moritz Experience, +41 (0)81 833 77 14, www.stmoritz-experience.ch

Paragliding, Hang-gliding

Luftarena GmbH St. Moritz, +41 (0)79 353 21 59, www.luftarena.ch