Skiing Graubünden: Olympic History, Pristine Alpine Charm and Adventure in this Swiss Winter Wonderland
The region of Graubünden, Switzerland is a veritable winter wonderland for all things snow sports from skiing, snowboarding to bobsledding and tobogganing, and those with a passion for Olympic lore can learn about the region’s rich history while taking to the slopes with friends and family this season.
ST. MORITZ: OLYMPIC HISTORY BEYOND THE GLAMOUR
PLAY: Aside from being one of the world’s most famed luxe ski destinations frequented by the rich and famous, St. Moritz is rich in Winter Olympic sports history where the tony town held two Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948. In fact, 1928 was the second Winter Olympics ever, making the event even more significant. Visitors can have a look at the historic Olympic Park (now a private home) by booking a day at the open-air ice-skating rink overlooking the park at the nearby Kulm Country Club, which star-chitect Norman Foster upgraded and redesigned. Watch bobsledding in the oldest bob sled run in the world, the Olympia Bob Run St. Moritz-Celerina where the 1948 Winter Olympics were held at the Piz Nair.
STAY: Bed down in one of St. Moritz’s charming hotels offering ski packages and easy access to the slopes like Hotel Laudinella or the centrally located Art Boutique Hotel nestled between the restaurants, boutiques and bars in the heart of St. Moritz. The Monopol also boasts a rooftop Sky Bar and spa and wellness facilities with breathtaking lake views and is only a two-minute walk from the Chantarella funicular granting access to the Corviglia summit and ski area.
CELERINA: PRISTINE ALPINE CHARM
PLAY: No other place in the Engadine can boast so many hours of sunshine as Celerina charming visitors with its quintessential Alpine village façade made up of traditional Engadine houses. Winter sport buffs can easily get in on the action with the nearby aerial cableway to Marguns reaching the St. Moritz-Corviglia ski areas, as well as Corviglia/Piz Nair ski area perfect for the whole family. Visitors can also access Muottas Muragl for sledding and winter hiking and cross-country skiers can explore the Upper Engadine’s extensive network of trails. Or try tobogganing at the nearby Cresta Run, which dates back to 1884.
STAY: Located in the center of town on the banks of the Inn River, Chesa Rosatsch Hotel occupies a 300-year-old building furnished in a traditional style with three on property restaurants serving regional specialties, all giving the feeling of stepping back in time. For more historic charm and a touch of luxury, guests can stay at the Cresta Palace built in 1906 featuring Art Nouveau architecture epitomizing the enchantment of the Engadine. This timeless hotel also features a modern spa, and two world-class restaurants and close proximity of the train station and cable cars for access to the slopes.
FLIMS LAAX: FOR ADVENTURE LOVERS
PLAY: In the mid-1980s, when the pioneers of snowboarding first glided across the pistes, they did so here, in the quaint Swiss mountain village of Flims Laax. Fast-forward 40 years and this freestyle capital of Europe is home to the world’s largest halfpipe and Europe’s largest snow park. The fun for all ages, Crap Soin Gion (meaning Saint John’s stone), is a modern lifestyle complex with a mountain and cable car station, restaurants, bars, a cinema and more, surrounded by 360º views of the Alps.
STAY: Located directly at the Laax Valley lift station, Signina Hotel is the ideal place for active snow sport vacations in Graubünden. Recently renovated, the natural materials and warm tones create a cozy atmosphere for relaxing after a day on the mountains. A choice of six restaurants, spa and wellness amenities and a fitness club will keep energies up to tackle the slopes again the next day.
Graubünden invites travelers to get to know this storied destination year-round beyond the ski slopes. Graubünden is the largest region in Switzerland, making up almost 20% of the country’s total land area. From famed Davos to the glory and beauty of the Engadine, the glam of St. Moritz, the crystal-clear Alpine waters of Lake Caumasee, and the romantic Rhaetian Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the diversity of Graubünden is endless. Days can be spent hiking among the craggy ravines of the Rhine Gorge (known as the little Swiss Grand Canyon) or taking in the charms of quaint Swiss villages. Visitors can indulge in an incomparable culinary scene helmed by Michelin chefs, a legacy of wines passed down from the Romans almost 2,000 years ago, healing thermal waters at world renowned spas and palatial hotels curated by the world’s most foremost architects.