Spot-on in St. Moritz at the Alpine ski event of the year
In February, the entire ski world will be looking at the Swiss jet-setting Shangri-La. The international winter sports elite will arrive for the World Championships. Editor Inga Empt took a look around in advance and shares her personal hot spots.


It is glimmering and shining in every corner. Some 140,000 guests are expected at the aristocratic Swiss ski area, St. Moritz, for this, the largest winter ski event. They include the best ski athletes in the world, their managers and the well heeled, officials and the public, and many celebratory fans too. From Feb. 6-19, 2017, the Alpine World Ski Championships will take place in St. Moritz and GORE-TEX customer J.Lindeberg is the official outfitter.

The infrastructure is ready, and the pistes are being groomed – now, the edges are being given a final polish for the huge spectacle. The world championships will be here for the fifth time since 1934. No other location has seen the event that many times. But where would achieve that, if not this glittering, super special, 1,800-meter-high paradise (5,905 feet). The Engadiner Mountains are a magical place: Moritz is blessed with approximately 320 days of sunshine, with great powder thanks to the elevation.

 

Which luxury hotel will it be?

As hosts, the Swiss are not kidding. In the village alone, luxury travellers have their choice of five-star hotels. Be it the Palace, Suvretta House or the Kempinski. Likely there is no chance anymore at these since all of the best locales are of course booked up for the world championships. So too the Kulm Hotel, which is steeped in tradition and the oldest hotel there. There, more than 320 employees take care of the well being of a maximum of 312 guests. In the cellars, caviar and champagne supplies are stored – for this winter alone 4,000 bottles are being chilled.


The world championships committee secured its rooms long ago in this fine establishment. Whether the boss is housed in the presidential suite wasn’t unfortunately divulged. Perhaps this room is still available upon request. It would be worth a try. For CHF 1,400 (EUR 1,300), you get a sensational panoramic view, have your own fireplace, and plenty of room with 176 square meters (1,894 square feet) to stash all your fur coats and jewels. One drawback: The suite is only available for no more than three people.

Historic Ice Pavilion

The choice to reside in the Kulm Hotel is of course a well-advised one since this outpost is the epicenter of world championships festivities in 2017. Just in time for the Alpine ski championships, the 110-year-old Kulm Country Club beams with a new brilliance. Here is where very first Olympic Winter Games were celebrated in 1929. No less than star English architect Sir Norman Foster oversaw the renovation of this historic gem. The entire Kulm Park with its Ice Pavillion was restored for the world championships for a rich CHF 10 million (EUR 9.3 million). The opening celebration on Feb. 7 will take place here, and here is where the super athletes will receive their medals. In the evenings, free concerts will be offered at Kulm Park. The Country Club will of course be the best address to have for the championships.

How to mush a Husky

For anybody who finds the whole ski falderal a bit too colourful at some point will also find an extraordinary offer just in time for the event: A Husky driver’s license. If you have forever dreamed of doing this, then take the chance to mush your very own Husky sled. The mushers will teach you how – a basic course is two hours and can be booked at the Kulm Hotel or the Kronenhof in Pontresina from CHF 600 (EUR 558). One completely free (hard to believe) wintry enjoyment is a walk on the frozen Lake St. Moritz, well positioned in the sun. You can also hire ice skates and cross the ice on blades.

For whomever finds all of this just too much athletics can take advantage of the recommendation for art. A number of galleries are showing exciting pieces. Even Heidi Klum’s beau, prominent gallery owner Vito Schnabel, is hoping for a financially well-established clientele from all over the world. My personal tip: A short excursion to the stylishly elegant hotel Suvretta House. Titled, “From Paris to New York,” Gallery Française is showing a special exhibit with the best from Warhol to Picasso. With luck, gallery owner Monsieur Schneider will guide visitors personally through the high-end exhibit.

For a little pick-me-up in the afternoon there is one mandatory item: a visit to Café Hanselmann. Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn drank their hot chocolate in this heritage café in the heart of the village. Trying the Engadiner Nut Torte is absolutely a must – along with a big helping of ‘seeing and be seen’ at Hanselmann that is included with every visit for free. One more culinary tip for lunch: Pur Alps, on the main street at the end of the village. Peaceful and in fact a good price too, if one dare ever use that term in the same sentence as St. Moritz.


My favourite tip when it comes to eating, drinking and immersing oneself in the World of Moritz is the legendary Sunny Bar. This is where bobsled drivers have rendezvoused for forever to wash away any sweat from their daredevil rides down the ice chute. The spirit of St. Moritz playboy Gunter Sachs, in the city he called home, is still to be seen in many photos, and somehow one is always hoping that he’ll step through the door at any time. At Sunny Bar these days, what is available is Peruvian cuisine! Delicious! Surprising, fresh and very flavourful. And also not too expensive!


The nightlife in the village of the rich and often beautiful! The world-famous Dracula Club was founded by Gunter Sachs and is still a hot spot on the international jet-set scene today. Getting in? Not easy. Best if you are in the company of prominent companions and have a well-stocked wallet – in emergencies ask at your hotel. Also an institution for years on the Moritz disco scene and just as good: the Kings Club in the Hotel Palace.


The reason St. Moritz is such an outstanding world championships host is not only due to the great managers and conditions but also to a large extent because there are so many volunteers ready to help. Some 1,300 so-called ‘Voluntari’ will take care of ensuring the best flow and conditions for athletes and spectators during the world championships. These Voluntari and the entire organization committee this year are also decked out very stylishly and of course are also protected from the weather with their GORE-TEX outfits by the trendy J.Lindeberg label, the official outfitter of the 2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.

From all appearance, this will be a wonderful world cup – with super athletic performances, dazzling fun and a dream stage. Off to St. Moritz!