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St. Moritz Pontrèsina, Switzerland

Luxury living on and off the flatteringly easy ski slopes.

St Moritz is Switzerland’s most famous ‘exclusive’ winter resort: glitzy, pricey, fashionable and, above all, the place to be seen – it’s the place for an all-round winter holiday with an unrivaled array of different diversions, including such wacky pursuits as polo, golf and cricket on snow and gourmet and music festivals. The slopes on the two main mountains are almost uniformly easy intermediate – we don’t rate it highly for complete beginners, and experts must be prepared to venture off-slope. But for langlaufers, it is superb.

The town of St Moritz doesn’t have the chocolate-box image of the Swiss mountain resort, all wooden huts and cows with bells round their necks. Many of the building are uncompromisingly rectangular and plain.

St Moritz itself may be unattractive to look at, but its setting is spectacular – beside the lowest in a long chain of lakes at the foot of the 4000m Piz Bernina. This is one of those areas where our progress on the mountain is regularly interrupted by the need to stand and gaze. It may not have quite the drama of the Jungfrau massif, or the Matterhorn, or the Dolomites, but its wide and glorious mountain landscapes are equally special. And the langlauf, walking and other activities on the frozen lake give it a real ‘winter wonderland’ feel.

What’s Great

  • Beautiful panoramic scenery
  • Off-slope activities second to none – including the Cresta Run, horse- racing and lots of varied festivals
  • Extensive, largely intermediate slopes
  • Fairly snow sure, thanks to altitude and extensive snowmaking
  • Good après-ski, for all tastes
  • Good mountain restaurants, some with magnificent views
  • Painless rail access via Zurich

What’s Not-So-Great

  • Some hideous block buildings
  • A sizable town, with little traditional Alpine character
  • No proper beginner slopes at resort level – except at Celerina
  • Several unlinked mountains, with a bus, train or car needed to most
  • Runs on two main mountains all fairly easy and much the same
  • Expensive
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