St. Moritz was the first all-round winter sports resort in the world, and 150 years after its birth as a tourist destination it still holds a very special appeal and boasts a myriad of activities. It holds a magnificent position in Switzerland's broad Engadine valley, offering fantastic panoramic views. The resort is divided into three separate villages; Dorf which is the glitzy region on the shore of Lake St. Moritz, St. Moritz Bad which has a more relaxed atmosphere and Celerina which has a strong Italian following. All three villages have lifts into the 2,486m core of the main ski area, Corviglia.
St Moritz continues to be an important winter destination for members of the international jet set and a host of regular celebrities, who flock to the exclusive resort for the fantastic shopping and skiing alike. The architecture of the St. Moritz dates to the mid-1900s, and whilst these buildings are fairly non-descript, it is the views from them which truly make the resort. Visitors will be dazzled by the surrounding forests, high mountains and lakes which create a truly magical, natural setting.
Resort Altitude: 1,770m
Resort Skiing: 3,305m
Total Ski Area: 326km
Green Runs: 8km
Blue Runs: 65km
Red Runs: 192km
Black Runs: 61km
Cross Country: 185km
St. Moritz incorporates five key areas - Lagalb and Diavolezza, which rise to a snow-sure 3,000m and offer some of the region's best expert skiing; Zuoz, a small village which families and freeriders come to for quieter skiing; Corvatsch, which is home to the best snow and most exciting pistes, and Corviglia, the core ski area accessible by funicular from Dorf and by cable-car from Bad. The resort recently replaced its ageing t-bars with high-speed chairlifts which improved the capacity and reduced queuing times.
Advanced skiers will enjoy the Corvatsch area, which offers exciting descents such as the famous Standard Run, coming down from the summit on a broad steepening ridge. Another challenging run starts at Diavolezza and goes 10km down the glacier to Morteratsch. Intermediates can ski the wide open blue and red runs in Corviglia, where long pistes provide peaceful cruising as you take in the magnificent scenery. The Corviglia area is also best suited to beginners, thanks to its nursery slopes and drag lifts.
St. Moritz is a very snowboarder friendly resort, offering excellent features such as the Mellow Snow Park in Corviglia, and an additional smaller park in Zuoz at the end of the valley. The freeride terrain available is vast, with a range of powder opportunities in Corviglia and glacier skiing in Corvatsch. Some of the best freeride areas can be found on the Diavolezza mountain, where there is the longest glacier descent in Switzerland and views of the highest peak in the Canton of Graubünden, at 3,000m.
With many ski schools and instructors to choose between, there really is something for everybody.
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Ski Kindergartens are run by the Swiss Ski School and the Suvretta Ski School, both of which offer lessons for children aged three and above. The Swiss Ski School will even offer a horse-drawn sleigh to take children to their lessons for the day. The resort's larger hotels will usually be able to arrange babysitters and daytime childcare for younger children under the age of three.
St. Moritz is home to what is gastronomically known as the best mountain restaurant in the world. Situated at the top of the Corviglia funicular and offering wonderful panoramic views; La Marmite specialises in caviar, truffles and Bellinis. El Paradiso is located near Suvretta in Corviglia and serves imaginative Thai specialities from its sun-kissed location. Down in the town you can choose between a range of options including the Michelin starred fayre at Talvo and the modest pizzeria at Chesa Veglia.
St. Moritz offers a lively and varied après scene, which begins each afternoon on the slopes at Pirates on the Rocks outside the Corviglia lift station, or at Alpina Bar which offers spectacular views of the Engadine valley. Down in the town, the Roo Bar serves Australian beers on the terrace of Hotel Hauser. Late into the night, you will find a lively scene at bars such as Cresta Bar, Stübli Bar and Sunny Bar. A more refined and laid-back night can be had at the Hotel Schweizerhof's piano cocktail bar.
There are many options in St. Moritz for non-skiers, such as winter walking trails across frozen lakes, snowshoeing in the forests and tobogganing down from Muottas Muragl. Alternative novelty winter sports activities include rides on the oldest bobsleigh run in the world between St. Moritz and Celerina, and horse-drawn sleigh rides into the idyllic side valleys. St. Moritz is famous for its world-class sporting events held each season, such as horse racing on the frozen lake.