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eTN Editor-in-Chief Pick

St. Moritz: birthplace of Alps winter tourism

Nelson Alcantara, eTN editor-in-chief  Nov 30, 2011

Regarded as the birthplace of winter tourism in the Alps, St. Moritz has been a popular winter destination for sophisticated travellers since the middle of the 19th century. Johannes Badrutt was the pioneering host who enticed the first holidaymakers to the magical snowscape of the Upper Engadin, even in the coldest season of the year.

Today, St. Moritz counts as one of the most sought after winter sport resorts in the world ‚Äď no wonder, with 322 days of sunshine per year, its famous ‚Äúchampagne climate‚ÄĚ and an impressive backdrop of three thousand peaks. The 2011/2012 winter season packages combine the joys of diverse winter sports with the highest level of hotel service, wellness and exquisite culinary delights.

St. Moritz has been referred to as the ‚ÄúHoly Grail‚ÄĚ for classic downhill skiing of world-cup quality with 217 miles (350 kilometers) of the best-prepared runs in four large skiing areas ‚Äď among these is the neighboring mountain Corviglia, which rises majestically above the frozen lake. Snowboarders and freestylers get their thrills in Corviglia Snowpark, which has 30 obstacles for beginners and professionals and ranks among the best funparks in Europe.

More action is on offer throughout the valley, whether on a "taxi ride" through the icy channel of the oldest bobsleigh run, also now one of the only natural ice runs in the world, or by snowkiting. Experts can reach up to 49.7 miles/hour (80 km/h) racing across the snow on skis or a snowboard pulled along by a kite. However, fans of the gentler winter sports are also in the right place in St. Moritz, with its inviting 112 mile- (180km) network of extensive cross-country ski trails as well as a vast choice of routes for winter or snow hikers. And after all the enjoyment in the snow, chilling out in St. Moritz is on a world-class level with high-class cultural, social and sporting events.

While in St. Mortiz, a stay at Badrutt‚Äôs Palace Hotel‚Äôs ‚ÄúHeli Adventure‚ÄĚ package gives guests an adrenalin charge, with a helicopter guide through the white range of peaks, where passionate skiers can trace their own tracks in untouched snow. In addition to the exclusive helicopter trip, this package includes a three-night stay with half board and a ski pass for the whole region, as well as a classic relaxation massage to help soothe tired muscles. The package starts at approx US$2,338 per person for a double room.

Guests wishing to explore the magical snowscape of the Upper Engadin, with a little less adrenalin, can choose between the ‚ÄúSki Break‚ÄĚ package for a short winter trip and the ‚ÄúSki Sensation‚ÄĚ package for the perfect winter holiday. These packages consist of three and seven night stays respectively, including half board, ski passes for the whole region and a relaxing massage. Prices for these packages begin at approx US $1,262 and approx US$3,874 US respectively, per person in a double room.

Funfact: St. Moritz is on schedule to hold the 2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. This would be the fifth time for the Engadin valley to hold the world championships after 1934, 1948, 1974 and 2003.

St. Moritz: birthplace of Alps winter tourism
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