For many cross-country skiers, open races are the icing on the cake. The moment bib numbers are handed out, excitement starts to mount – turning into a euphoric burst of energy at the starting shot as countless competitors give their all. Here in the Engadin you have the chance to take part in a wide variety of thrilling cross-country ski events throughout the winter season: we present three of the best.
Are you crazy about cross-country skiing? Do you have anything planned for the second Sunday in March? If so, no doubt we’ll be seeing you at the Engadin Skimarathon! Every year, more than 14,000 enthusiasts spend months gearing up to compete in the most iconic open cross-country ski race in Europe – which is also the second-biggest cross-country ski event in the world. First held in 1969, the races (the main race from Maloja to S-chanf, the Engadin Half Marathon, the Engadin Women’s Race and the Engadin Night Race) are now a key fixture on the international winter sports circuit, attracting thousands of spectators to cheer competitors along the whole spectacular route.
The name of this exacting 65-kilometre cross-country ski race is Romansh for “The Diagonal”: a reference not only to the diagonal stride used in the classic style of cross-country skiing, but also to the course, which leads diagonally across the map of the Engadin. Open to classic-style skiers, the race forms part of the Ski Classics circuit and is considered a test of endurance, even among top Scandinavian athletes. The full course leads from Zuoz along the river Inn and through the Staz forest, across frozen Lake St. Moritz, into the Val Roseg, back down to Pontresina and then via S-chanf back to Zuoz. Racers can also compete in two shorter alternatives. “La Pachifica” (27 km) is gentler but still scenically spectacular, while “La Cuorta” (11 km) offers a superb opportunity for skating-style enthusiasts to have a go at classic technique.
This cross-country event launched in 2018 bears a name that means “The Challenge” in Romansh: a fitting description. Modelled on no less a contest than the legendary Tour de Ski, this multi-stage race in the Upper Engadin sends participants on a different course on each of three consecutive days (4 km, 13 km and 14 km). With interval start stages, mass start stages and bonus seconds up for grabs, amateurs have the chance to compete under professional conditions. Skiers use the skating technique.