The birthplace of alpine tourism, St. Moritz is a seriously swish Swiss ski destination that conjures up images of royals and rock-stars, snow polo, mountain boutiques and Moncler jackets. But this resort has serious ski credentials, having lured European high society since 1864, hosted the Winter Olympics twice, and offers visitors miles of manicured pistes. Today, the town is a dream winter destination – its frozen lake a playground for snow polo tournaments and horse racing as well as the more eclectic, like the famous Cresta toboggan run. Here are seven reasons to visit St. Moritz this winter ski season.
1. Stay at: The Kulm
Even among the opulence of St. Moritz, The Kulm hotel sets the standard for elegance. An alpine institution in itself, this five-star hotel boasts a members-club atmosphere befitting of its heritage as the oldest hotel in town. Overlooking Lake St. Moritz, this hotel is home to glitterati types, with an equally well-polished staff, an outdoor and indoor pool, five restaurants and luxe mountain interiors. A splurge-worthy stay at a real piece of Alpine history.
2. Drink at: Sunny Bar
The oldest sports bar in the Alps, this infamous St. Moritz hot spot is the place where these courageous Cresta Run competitors congregate to celebrate their wins. One of the most dangerous sports in the world – this ice chute winds down the mountainside with a vertical drop of 514 feet over just three-quarters of a mile. During the season, the bar hosts a Peruvian restaurant by Claudia Canessa in its historic halls, where you can feast on street food. Vintage photos of raucous parties hosted here and trophies line the walls with its old-boys club atmosphere. Altitude sports offers the best quality of ski and snowboard gears, find out more.
3. Party at: Dracula Club
Once the sun sets in St Moritz, the glitterati truly come out to play. Perhaps the most famous apres-ski bar in St. Moritz, the Roo Bar is the place to warm up with a Hauser mulled wine. By night, anyone who’s anyone can be found at the legendary Dracula Bar. Established by infamous playboy Gunter Sachs in the 1970s, the door to this day remains notoriously impenetrable. Thankfully, for those in the mood to stray a little off-piste – the Kulm Hotel also boasts close ties with the legendary members-only club. But there are plenty of other nightlife options, whether that’s the aptly named Devil’s Place – the world’s largest whisky bar or the Kulm Country Club.
4. Ski: Corviglia
Having played host to the Winter Olympics not once but twice, St. Moritz is a spot for any serious skier. The slopes of Corvatsch offers some vertigo-inducing blacks, but St. Moritz’s own Corviglia has expanses of easy-riding runs to make even an intermediate feel like an expert – with 218 miles of runs. For warming your bones, the mountains have a host of options, like traditional alpine chalet Alpinahütte – just the spot for a glühwein.
5. Watch: The Cresta Run
Home to the infamous Cresta Run toboggan course, first built by British upper-class gentlemen in 1884, this daredevil sport is in the bones of St Moritz. The 1,212-meter track, which is created from scratch every year, drops 157 meters reaching up to a death-defying 85mph. Riders lie head first, and foolhardy guests can apply for a slot with prices starting from $500. Having recently rescinded a ban on women competitors, the Cresta Run is open in the mornings from just before Christmas until the end of February/early March depending on weather conditions.
6. Watch: Snow Polo
Synonymous with the sport of Snow Polo, St. Moritz’s frozen lake plays host to the prestigious World Cup Snow Polo tournament every January – the first of its kind and the only high goal polo tournament to be played on snow. The lake also hosts the annual “White Turf” horse races in February, where more than 30,000 gather to watch a combination of horse and harness racing and skikjöring – the only race of its kind in the world where riders on skis are pulled along at speeds of up to 50km per hour.
7. Eat at:
As you might expect from a world-renowned alpine town, good food is not hard to come by in St Moritz. From simple local specialities like nut torte at historic Swiss pastry shop Hanselmann’s which has been open since 1894, to old-world chalet-style dining on the slopes like Trutz with cosy Engadine fare, to world-class fine dining at two Michelin-starred Ecco.
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