With Graubünden’s mountain bike trails covered in a deep layer of pristine snow, there’s not much riding happening on the Swiss Epic route right now. Except for on fat bikes, of course. There is, however, still a great deal of fun to be had on the slopes; as skiers and snowboarders play in the powder.
Switzerland, in general, and Graubünden, in particular, have long been the playground of winter thrill seekers. In fact, the region’s mountain biking success is built on developing summer uses for the ski infrastructure. Lifts, hotels, restaurants and outdoor outfitters all embraced mountain biking as a way to ensure the summer months are as busy as the winter.
For mountain bikers who fell in love with Graubünden during the Swiss Epic, there are plenty of reasons to visit in the winter, even if you are more at home on two wheels than you are on twin skis. The fun does not stop off the mountain either, though, after a day out in the chilly alpine air perhaps an evening of relaxation will be more suited to your mood?
With the Swiss Epic visiting St. Moritz, Valposchiavo and Davos in 2021, there are spectacular winter activities to indulge in, if you were to visit the region before the first green shoots of spring start showing through the snow.
St. Moritz needs no introduction to winter sports enthusiasts. As far back as 1864 St. Moritz has been welcoming winter tourists to the Engadin valley. It has also hosted the Winter Olympics on two occasions, in 1928 and 1948. In more recent times the Olympic bobsleigh track, which remains the only natural bobsleigh course in the world, has been opened to visitors seeking high speed thrills. You can thus book a trip down the course, clocking up to 130 kilometres per hour! But there’s no need to stress as an experienced bobsleigh pilot will ensure your safety.
Other winter highlights in St. Moritz include a scenic helicopter flight over the Bernina glacier. To cap this breath-taking experience, the helicopter lands atop Corvatsch, at 3 303 metres above sea level. Skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing are the town’s most obvious winter attractions, but for those looking to slow down, the English style high tea at Suvretta House is a uniquely St. Moritz activity. As is a trip up to one of the mountain huts overlooking the town. Each hut has its own attraction, the Corviglia hut is for party lovers; the Paradiso, for bon vivants; the Hahnensee, for families; and Muotas Muragl, for romantics.
South-south east, of St. Moritz, across the Bernina Range of the Alps, lies Valposchiavo. The Valley of Poschiavo boasts a largely Italian speaking population and is easily accessible from the north via the historic Rhaetian Railway. Operating on the 110-year-old, narrow gauge, Albula-Bernina Line it links the region’s main town with the rest of Graubünden. The trip from St. Moritz crosses the Bernina Pass towards Poschiavo, which should be reason enough for 2021 Swiss Epic entrants to want to make the journey, as the race will summit the same pass on Stage 2.
Once in Valposchiavo the winter attractions include snow shoe tours and trips to see the spectacular glaciers of the Bernina Range. The valley is exceptionally climatically diverse, taking in three distinct zones; from the snow-capped summit of the Bernina Pass, at 2 328 metres, to the Mediterranean climate of Campocologno, at 553 metres, where orchards and vineyards fuel Valposchiavo’s culinary delights. No trip to the region would be complete without a meal at one of the thirteen restaurants dedicated to showcasing local cuisine.
While Valposchiavo is arguably uniquely local, Davos is far more cosmopolitan. That does not detract from the town’s uniquely Swiss appeal, however. Snow sports are the main attractions, but Davos lives up to its slogan “Sports Unlimited”. There is therefore a lot more to do than hit the slopes for a ski, snowboard, toboggan and cross-country skiing. The premier winter sports attraction in the town itself is the Davos Sports Stadium.
Davos Sports Stadium hosts skating sports like ice hockey and speed skating, as well as leisure skating and the always intriguing sport of curling. For families, the Foxtrail Davos offers a winter scavenger hunt. Mountain bikers looking to experience cycling in Graubünden, in winter, can take on the fat bike descent from the Pischa ski station. Situated at 2 483 metres above sea level the Pischa Fat Bike tour boasts four routes, descending nearly 700 metres, to Dörfji.