There is a statistic about the Winter tourists who visit St Moritz, and it’s a fairly surprising one. Of all those people spending two nights or more in this famous town, fewer than half of them purchase a lift pass!
St Moritz has twice played host to the Winter Olympics. Famous for its 350km of piste-skiing on the Corviglia, Corvatsch and Diavolezza ski areas and with the World Cup skiing events taking place here again in February, it is astounding that Alpine skiing is now frequented by only 48% of guests staying in St Moritz. Which begs the question, what does everyone else do?
One obvious answer is cross-country or Nordic skiing. Growing in popularity, cross-country skiing is supremely well-catered for in St Moritz, with over 100km of Loipen (exclusive slopes) that are freshly groomed and grooved each night. And these Loipen do not simply go round and round in circles; they follow the Bernina railway line and the Inn river between Celerina and Pontresina. They stretch as far as Zuoz and S-Chanf, two little towns in the Engadin valley. They also follow the narrow valleys up the Val Roseg or the Val Bever, or take you on a tour of Lake Silvaplauna, the source of the river Inn.
There are dozens of kilometres of prepared Winter footpaths that can bring you right up to the Morteratsch glacier or up the Muottas Muragl. There are toboggan runs down from most mountains, not to mention the famous Cresta Run, which guests can experience with qualified steerers and brakemen on regular dates between January and March. There are numerous skating rinks, and snow shoe tours are available with differing grades of difficulty. Follow these tours and you will leave the town behind to find hidden spots and wildlife.
Then there are the thermal baths in St Moritz, which provide ample opportunities for bathing and swimming all day long. The museums and art galleries are very popular. And a day out on the train is an exciting experience, with glass-topped carriages providing spectacular views on the Bernina Express.
Then of course we have the shopping. Many people simply come to meet up with old friends, to see and be seen in their expensive leather and fur jackets. There are wide-ranging options for lunch, evening restaurants, and mountain inns that attract large families celebrating birthdays.
And some guests simply stay in their hotel. The Hotel Kulm, for example, has so many on-site facilities and services – children’s club, pool, massage and beauty treatments, and large grounds at the top of the village with exceptional views – there is little reason to leave. Alfred Hitchcock was once a guest of the Kulm and he allegedly never went anywhere. He simply sat and watched the skaters, ate cake and drank champagne.
So, there really is something for all tastes here in St Moritz.