St. Moritz Corvatsch, CH, Jan. 19-20, 2019

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St. Moritz Corvatsch, CH, Jan. 19-20, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:27 am

We arrived at the Nira Alpina hotel just after 6PM Friday and took a much needed spa break. The Nira Alpina was recommended by Fraser Wilkin of http://weather-to-ski.com, who continued his excellence in Alps hotel choices. The Nira Alpina is not in the town of St. Moritz but at the base of the Corvatsch lift system. There was a magazine in the room detailing the annual St. Moritz Gourmet Festival, which had lasted all week. The Grand Finale dinner on Saturday was at Suvretta House, one of the historic 5-star hotels. While enjoying our Friday dinner at Nira Alpina, the manager Claudia came over and asked us if she could help us with anything, so we asked about the Grand Finale dinner. She showed us how to sign up online, but to no surprise it was sold out. After breakfast the next morning, Claudia arranged for us to get two tickets at her table, as the Nira Alpina was one of the participating restaurants. Details of the Grand Finale dinner will be in a later report.

I had a tough overnight with my cold and cough, and with that dinner coming up we decided to ski Corvatsch middle of the day 11-3. Corvatsch is the right side of the map.
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Fortunately I felt better outside and we both bundled up with mid-mountain temps around -10C and north facing slopes often shaded by the towering scenery above. The tram from the base at our hotel ascends to the mid-station at 8,862 feet. The top station at 10,833 was hidden in cloud so we decided to cross west to Furtschellas. At Curtinella our attention was drawn to these Dolomite-like “finger” formations.
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Here we are at the top of Furtschellas.
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We get a better view of those crown-like rocks from the lift.
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Fraser touts Corvatsch for its “wild feel.” The pistes wind their way through boulder fields. Powder was very light and dry at that altitude and exposure but clean fall lines without rocks or terrain traps were short. I skied one short section under the lift off piste 20 through a notch in the rocks. When we left Furtschellas skiing to Rabguisa we found some more powder.
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The cloud had lifted off the top, so we headed up there around 2PM. View down riding the tram:
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From the top we have a view of Piz Bernina, at 13,281 the highest peak near St. Moritz.
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The skier’s right #3 piste provides even better views, first over this boulder field.
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A bit lower down the glaciers come into fuller view.
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The upper tram pistes go on for over 2,600 vertical to the D chair, which we rode back to mid-station for a thaw break. We took a lap on the sunny J t-bar, then headed for piste #9 which would return us to the Nira Alpina. But on a catwalk section I spotted some clean lines of powder through the boulders and couldn’t resist. Liz soon followed.
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We got down as planned at 3PM after skiing 14,500 vertical, about 3K of powder. These were perhaps the softest, smoothest pistes we have ever skied in the Alps. It was almost shocking to see how few people were skiing Corvatsch on a Saturday with this weather and conditions. Perhaps they prefer Corviglia with direct access from town and slopes nearly all in the sun even in January. My first reaction was that perhaps St. Moritz is to Zurich what Aspen is to Denver. Many people won’t drive 3.5 hours for a weekend when St. Anton is a 2 hour 15 minute drive and the Jungfrau, Engelberg, Andermatt, Arosa-Lenzerheide, Flims-Laax, and Davos-Klosters are all within 2 hours. That’s not SLC to LCC driving distance, but it’s hard to argue against Zurich over any other metro area in North America as a base for skiing. There's probably another 20 of James' areas within that same drive radius.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Tony Crocker
 
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Re: St. Moritz Corvatsch, CH, Jan. 19-20, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:29 am

Sunday was not an early start, but that was mostly because we got back from the Grand Finale dinner past 11:30PM. My cold was by then on the downside as I was fine at the dinner and slept well.

We spent most of Sunday at Corviglia, but it was easy to get there from the Nira Alpina by riding up to Corvatsch mid-station, skiing to the E chair and then skiing the 2,900 vertical #5 piste to St. Moritz Bad. The #5 piste was in pristine condition as we had seen elsewhere on Corvatsch Saturday and it had great views across the valley and into town. Here’s the overview of Corviglia.
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The town below left is Champfer. Suvretta House is lower center above, zoomed view below.
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St. Moritz is at the right edge of the first picture but centered here.
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As we approach tree line we get a closer view of St. Moritz and its ice skating oval.
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The #5 piste ended in a cross country ski track, fenced from the road, next to the Grand Kempinski Hotel.
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We had to slog a bit on that, then walk through a tunnel to reach the Signal tram into Corviglia. Near the tram entry we were approached by a rep from Alfa Romeo who was offering free driving demos on a snow covered lake. We registered and then signed up for noon on our travel day Tuesday.

St. Moritz was a noteworthy winter resort before downhill skiing and also hosted Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948. Another diversion Liz would like to see sometime there is a polo match in the snow. We skied 4,100 vertical on Corvatsch Sunday before entering Corviglia at noon.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10074
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: St. Moritz Corvatsch, CH, Jan. 19-20, 2019

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:00 am

Tony Crocker wrote:it’s hard to argue against Zurich over any other metro area in North America as a base for skiing. There's probably another 20 of James' areas within that same drive radius.

I often wonder which city offers more and/or better ski access: Geneva or Zurich. Probably a tie or Geneva might edge Zurich out by a nose.
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Re: St. Moritz Corvatsch, CH, Jan. 19-20, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:43 pm

Drawing the line at 2 hours drive for daytripping (IIRC from some of the where-to-live threads) is where I came up with Zurich. Areas within that radius from Geneva include Portes du Soleil, Chamonix and Verbier along with plenty of mid-sized places. But the huge French complexes of the Tarantaise (Trois Vallees, Paradiski, Espace Killy) are just a bit farther and still less than 3 hours. So if you relax that travel time requirement I definitely see the case for Geneva.

I'll take either Geneva or Zurich over any metro area in North America besides SLC. I think it's a foregone conclusion where James will find a winter home when he retires, some under-the-radar exurb of one of those cities.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10074
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California


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