KATHRIN DI LAURO TRAVEL BLOG

Skiing in Switzerland: My Incredible Experience in Engadin, St. Moritz

Tucked in the Swiss Alps, the magical Engadin Valley in Switzerland took me by surprise. I have always been a big fan of skiing the Sellaronda tour in Italy’s Dolomites. I could be biased, but I usually spend at least two ski vacations there every winter. Whenever anyone asked me about the best places to ski in Europe, I immediately said there was no mountain chain more beautiful than the UNESCO world heritage site of the Dolomites. Skiing in Switzerland just wasn’t something I sought out.

A Welcomed Change of Plans

All of that changed after Engadin, St. Moritz swept me off my feet (but luckily not my skis). I love to think that every situation, as challenging as it might seem, withholds unexpected gifts for us. My travel experience skiing in Switzerland’s breathtaking Alps was without a doubt one of my ‘pandemic gifts,’ as I like to call it. Due to the lockdown, The Dolomites’ ski infrastructure remained closed throughout the season. That meant needing to alleviate my annual skiing itch elsewhere.

This wasn’t my first time skiing in Switzerland. I went skiing several times in Zermatt and its iconic Matterhorn but had never ventured outside of that. With most ski resorts closed for the 20/21 winter season, a ski trip to Switzerland was the only way to make my birthday ski week happen. The ski area of Engadin in Grisons caught my attention with its Sleep & Ski Offer, where 100 of the area’s hotels included a discounted ski pass for just CHF 45 per day. How could I turn down an offer like that?

Dreamy mountain-top views while skiing and hiking in Engadin, Switzerland.

My Engadin, Switzerland Ski Experience

I almost always book a ski instructor for each first ski day I ski after a long break. Just like many other sports, the technique in skiing is everything. Though I would consider myself a pretty good skier (I first started on the bunny hills as a kindergartener), I always love improving my skills and learning from an expert. In addition to the physical skills, the instructors also give you the lay of the land. It’s critical to learn the nuances of the Switzerland skiing season. Each area has a unique set of challenges and differing weather conditions. Knowing which slopes get the most sun, where the wind tunnels are, and how to avoid frozen, choppy surfaces goes a long way in making your skip trip a pleasant one. Plus, I cherish all the insider tips I get from spending a day on the mountain with a local, especially when I’m skiing in a new area.

When I met Mirko from Engadin Experience, I was completely blown away. It’s not that I’ve had a particularly bad ski instructor in the past. However, there were some I just had a hard time connecting with, and therefore, did not get much out of my lessons.

Mirko was such a fantastic instructor that for the first time in years, after our full day of ski training, I booked him for the next day as well! Let me start at the beginning of this excursion.

Mirko picked me up early at the hotel, as I wanted to get up the mountain with the first cable car at 8:30 a.m. The early-bird moments of a ski day are my favorite as the slopes are freshly powdered and you are the first one carving your lines through the patterns made by the snow groomer. It is such a priceless feeling every time, and it’s worth every lost minute of sleep from my 6 a.m. wake-up call.

The hotel concierge suggested Mirko (he also gives ski lessons to the hotel manager’s daughter, so I was quite sure he would be a good instructor).

The Engadin is one of the most beautiful places to go skiing in Switzerland.

A Switzerland Ski Trip To Remember

We headed to Celerina, located close to St. Moritz. This village gets more hours of sunshine than any other area in the Engadin. We took the Celerina–Marguns cable car, and my ski trainer introduced himself as a former member of the Italian National Ski Team (lucky me!). A serious injury ended his time as an athlete, so he decided to become a ski instructor and coach. He moved to the Engadin in 2004 and began to lay the foundations of Engadin Experience, which he established to show visitors the best Engadin has to offer.

Mirko’s way of teaching was beyond any standard ski lesson I had. His intuitive understanding of how I should use and move my body was impressive. He told me what I was doing wrong or right in a clear, focused way, without too much chatter. (I like direct input; I am here to ski, not for long talks on the slopes 😉.) Oh, and he speaks German beautifully too, just as precisely as he teaches skiing! He used to be a student at the German school in Milan. He obviously speaks great English as well.

I learned a lot during the day. We admired amazing views from the panorama terrace at Corvatsch, 3,303 meters above sea level (10,837 ft), and skied along the famous Hahnensee, a lake above St. Moritz on the way down from Corvatsch to the world-famous Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains. The scenery combined with a day full of splendid sunshine made it the perfect ski day!

After such an incredible experience, I just had to extend our time together one more day. The following day, Mirko picked me up early again and we drove to Diavolezza, a 20-minute car ride from St. Moritz. If it wasn’t for Mirko, I would have never gone there by myself. I consider myself very lucky to have discovered another amazing ski area. It was as if he reserved the mountain for me, as we had the slopes entirely to ourselves until midday. The day was filled with more spectacular ski runs, breathtaking views, and expert ski training. If I’m being honest, Mirko was the best ski instructor I had in 40 years. He truly made my initially unexpected trip skiing in Switzerland an absolute dream. The memories made and ski knowledge he shared will last for many more ski seasons.

The stunning scenery surrounding the world-famous Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains.

Now It’s Your Turn to Ski in Switzerland

As a travel blogger, I hope to inspire you to chase your own passions. If skiing in Switzerland is one of them, a day (or a few!) in Engadin, St. Moritz is non-negotiable! Sign-up for my newsletter in the box below, and get an exclusive promo code for 10% off all services Engadin Experiences offers for the summer and winter seasons. (Third-party excursions are excluded.) 

Have you ever been skiing in Switzerland? Share your experiences in the comments below or on my Instagram. I love hearing about your adventures!

When you're in the Swiss Alps, you must explore by skiis and by sky!

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