Freeriding, terrain parks and pistes
in St Moritz
Freeriders have a huge amount of great backcountry terrain, with lots of steeps, gullies, cliffs and virgin powder to seek out. The closest area to St Moritz Dorf is Corviglia, which hosted the Olympic Run (Black 12) in 1928 and 1948 and leads back to the Chantarella Funicular which unfortunately can be very slow. However, there are good off piste options on either side of it.
There is a steep off piste area that drops down under the Piz Nair (3057 metres) cable car from the summit which is worth a look but beware of the rocks. Otherwise it is possible to go off-piste alongside Red 16. This area has a phenomenal amount of easily accessible off-piste, visible from the lifts so go and check it straight out but take the necessary precautions.
The very different area of Corvatsch is a short free bus ride away and rises to 3303 metres services by 15 lifts. The Surelj area includes the glacier which is serviced with a new (in November 2008) 100 person gondola. The glacier has 2 long pisted and 1 non pisted runs but beware of crevasses here. On this side there are also some nice red pistes for blasting down.
The Sils side has a complete contrast in geology with large boulders that are perfect for springing off especially around Red 13 and the Curtinella lift. There is also a great black run (5) back to St Moritz Bad for the end of the day with easy offpiste sections through the trees either side of it.
Some of the best freeriding can be found on the Diavolezza mountain, which, with its harsh alpine terrain, is for serious riders only. The way up consists of either a huge gondola which glides over the 100 metre artificially made blue ice wall or a four man chair lift.
From the top of the gondola (3000 metres) the highest peak in the Canton of Graubünden, Piz Bernina (4049 metres), is visible. This view can be enjoyed from the “highest hot tub in the Alps” on the deck of the restaurant for a small fee. The longest glacier decent in Switzerland is possible from here, across the Pers and Morteratsch Glaciers, passing weird ice formations on the way down to the Morteratsch Train Station. This run is flat in a few places though so be prepared to hike a little.
Freestylers have the Mellow Snow Park in Corviglia with well prepared easy, intermediate and advanced lines. There are also many natural hits for getting big air, including some great natural undulations on most of the red runs (Red 4) around the Signal Bahn in Corviglia, and the boulder strewn area of Curtinella in Corvatsch.
Riders will find lots of fairly easy and ordinary well pisted runs to cruise down but you should really only be freeriding at this place. There are a few black runs but nothing really steep although they are all extremely well groomed.
Beginners may not have the best selection of nursery areas but what is on offer is superb although sometimes too busy in Corviglia. It is better to head to Zuoz at the end of the valley which is geared up for families and learners. There is even a small park to try your first jumps and rails.READ NEXT: Village life, accommodation & nightlife