St. Moritz, Switzerland

The Best Boarding in Europe

Switzerland's Upper Engadine region encompasses some of the world's finest and best-known riding areas, centered around the main towns of St. Moritz and Pontresina. While St. Moritz has a reputation as the glitzy center of a super-snobbish resort, it is surrounded by villages, which are more relaxed (though still not particularly cheap).

St. Moritz is what it is because the town has a fascinating cultural mix, and because it lies amid stunningly beautiful scenery in the southeastern Alps. The town itself is split into two distinct parts: St. Moritz Dorf (the old town overlooking the lake) has shops, expensive hotels, restaurants, and bars, while St. Moritz Bad is a 70s blot on the landscape with cheaper accommodation. Buses connect the two villages, but the walk takes only 20 minutes.

The main resorts are connected by one pass, though public transport between them is not included in the price. The geography of the valley floor and the differing aspects of the serviced areas can mean varied conditions in each area on the same day. To check what's going on, monitors showing live video links of local conditions are located at all the gondola stations and at the tourist office. Despite fairly dire expectations in the early years of the sport, there is a committed snowboard scene in the valley, focusing on the Playground in Paradise snowboard store in St. Moritz and the Workshop in Pontresina.

The valley and its surrounding areas have a reputation for consistent but moderate levels of snow. Though it can come in from all directions, the Engadine is primarily exposed to snow from the south, which means that if there is a low-pressure system moving from the Mediterranean in Italy, it's going to be dump time in St Moritz.


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