The 75th most popular snowboarding destination in Switzerland.
Tuesday 6 November 2018 07:00 GMT
Southeast of Zurich, the St Moritz ski domain is a real paradise for serious snowboarders, but be ready since it is crazy expensive. St Moritz caters to upper-crust, ultra-exclusive clientele, but it's diametrically-opposed to the plentiful off-piste backcountry freeriding available to shredders. Actually, St Moritz should be on every freeriders bucket list. Spread throughout the Upper Engadin valley, there are nine distinct ski areas mainly interconnected by ski-bus along with a few lifts. Of the nine, there are four main ski areas frequented by most tourists snowboarding in St Moritz: Corviglia, Corvatsch, Zuoz and Diavolezza/Lagalb. These resorts offer 88 pistes totaling 350km that are served by 56 lifts (27 t-bar or tow lifts) with a maximum vertical descent of 1,500m. For strong intermediates, a popular route to explore is the Engadin Snow Safari, which follows a 99km route with over 6,600m of vertical descent. The best freeriding can be found either off the backside bowls of Corviglia or the northwest face of Corvatsch, where you’ll be lucky to find the steeps, couloirs, cliffs and untracked powder.
Located southwest of St Moritz Dorf, the Corvatsch ski area is where most freeriding snowboarders head to get their fix of off-piste lines. From town, its just a short 20 minute free ski bus ride away. The Corvatsch is located on a broad glacier and is the least crowded of the nine Engadin ski areas. It is served by 15 lifts heading up to the 3303m summit. Up on the glacier, there are two groomed runs and one ungroomed ski route. These glacial routes tend to get wind-blown and icy, and its important to stick near the route markers to avoid crevasses. Overall, the northwest face of Corvatsch serves up the best off-piste terrain and its north-facing slopes have the best snow conditions in the valley. Even freestylers can find something at Corvatsch over in the terrain park served by the Mandra t-bar with its rails and kickers. At the end of the day, follow the long piste Black #5 which leads all the way back to St Moritz (look for some sweet side-country stashes along the route).
Unfortunately, St Moritz doesn’t have much of an apres ski scene to speak of. If you happen to be up on Corviglia, start up at the on-mountain Alpina Hutte. Down at the base, stop by Vinoteca, the Roo Bar at Hotel Hauser, Diamond or Cascade. If you’re getting hungry and looking for an authentic Swiss restaurant, try Veltliner Keller.
Luckily, St Mortiz is known by poseurs for its late nightlife scene where you need to be seen. Around midnight, you will definitely want to check out the Stubli at the Hotel Scweizerhof, Diamonds at the Kulm Hotel, Kings Club in the Palace Hotel or the Vivai Disco in the Stefani. Oh, and bring your gold credit card - you’ll need it. An alternate to the late night bar scene on Fridays is the night skiing from 7pm to 2am - the on-mountain huttes are open with music until close.
St Moritz is located in the far southeastern corner of the Swiss canton of Graubuenden near the Italian border. The wind currents through the Alps tend to bring cooler temperatures to the Upper Engadin valley and produce better snow conditions than other nearby ski areas. The main village is St Moritz Dorf, which has the train station. While there are numerous smaller and less expensive villages in the valley, the real action is in the pricey St Moritz Dorf.
To reach the St Moritz snowboarding from Zurich by train, start with the hourly train to Chur. Then transfer to the Bernina Express train to St Moritz, which winds thru mountain passes past blue glaciers. The Bernina Express also extends further south to Tirano, Italy, to connect with trains for Milan Malpensa airport.
To reach the snowboarding in St Moritz from Zurich by car, head southeast on Route A3 and then south on Route A13 to Chur. Turn south on road to St. Moritz for 70km. Keep in mind that bad winter weather regularly closes the three high road passes, so taking the train is highly recommened.
Overall, Corvatsch is the 75th most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 81 snowboarding resorts in Switzerland. Several of the better snowboarding resorts are nearby Corvatsch including Corviglia, Diavolezza/Lagalb and Zuoz.