The myths and legends that surround the Diavolezza and Lagalb may give these mountains an other-worldly aura, but for skiers, freeride enthusiasts and ski tourers, the peaks’ snowy slopes promise heaven on earth. Sparkling attractions include full-moon descents, glacier runs, off-piste classics and the highest open-air hot tub in the Alps!
Easy? Probably not the right description for the Diavolezza/Lagalb region. “Demanding” would be more accurate: this winter sports area offering panoramic views is a paradise for advanced and expert enthusiasts.
The long pistes are graded either black or red, and in some cases have a vertical drop of more than 800 metres. For a special thrill, try the Minor run: with a gradient of 86%, this is the steepest prepared piste in Graubünden! And for a winter sports experience of unrivalled charm, glide down the mountain by moonlight on one of the magical “Glüna Plaina” (Romansh for “full moon”) nights.
Like to prepare for some serious ski touring with a (relatively) gentle secured tour that still promises off-piste thrills? Then put the Diavolezza Challenge at the top of your “To Tour” list! This marked and secured ski touring route offers ideal training terrain for beginners and those returning to the sport after a break. The ascent from the Diavolezza cable car base station to the summit station requires a climb of 890 vertical metres over a distance of 4.5 km. You can hand in your rucksack at the base station and collect it from reception at the summit hotel, where you can also enjoy a hot shower (towel and soap included).
Another route that enthusiasts regularly call the queen among ski tours also leads to a classic freeride run. The adventure begins up on the year-round snows on the Diavolezza and leads via Sass Queder into the steep bowl of the Val Arlas. With slopes facing east, north and west, this valley promises every participant the chance to trace their own individual dream descent, no matter where the sun lies. Down at Alp Bondo Sur, a cross-country ski trail invites tourers to indulge in a spot of skating to reach the Lagalb connecting lift and thereby the shuttle to the Diavolezza cable car base station.
The Piz Palü (3,900 m) likewise deserves star billing at any mountain beauty contest, and promises another classic tour for ski mountaineering enthusiasts. This dream tour can be tackled as a day trip in ideal conditions, but experts recommend instead spending the night at the Berghaus Diavolezza mountain hotel and setting off before dawn by the light of a head torch. An initial descent via the western flank of the Diavolezza leads to a gentle climb to the Cambrena seracs, and then along a clear route through a glacier crevasse zone to the ski depot. Ski mountaineers need to don crampons here, either to scale the slope up to the eastern summit or to follow the exposed ridge up to the main summit. The descent essentially follows the route up.
Novices as well as advanced ski tourers enjoy the short tour to the Gemsfreiheit, which promises bewitching panoramic views of the glaciers and a glorious long descent. Starting at the Diavolezza summit station, the itinerary begins with a descent to the Pers Glacier and then a climb up to the Fortezza ridge. After a gentle ascent of about 2 hours, you reach the Gemsfreiheit (3,186 m) – and the exhilarating prospect of a long but leisurely off-piste run as far as the Morteratsch restaurant, with a total vertical drop of 1,300 m.
In the Engadin, we have a shorter way of saying “perfect powder and boundless fun”: it’s “Diavolezza and Lagalb”! The endlessly varied terrain captivates freeride enthusiasts with its immaculate snowfields and wide slopes offering myriad possibilities for jumps and tricks off rocks and cornices. One of the most spectacular runs is the nerve-tingling “1,000-metre couloir” via Gianda Persa down to the Morteratsch Glacier, a superlative run in every sense.
Talking of superlatives: the Diavolezza cable car summit station is the starting point for Switzerland’s longest glacier run! The 10-kilometre route is marked but not prepared, and promises an exhilarating experience of high-altitude alpine terrain: the perfect introduction to glacier skiing for good skiers. Graded medium-difficult to difficult, the run leads down the Pers and Morteratsch Glaciers through spectacular mountain scenery to finish by the sun terrace of the Morteratsch restaurant.
Last of all, one more insider’s tip: the La Rösa run from the Lagalb summit station takes you all the way down into the Valposchiavo, as far as the La Motta customs building. A shuttle brings you comfortably back to the Lagalb base station. Reservation required through the Pontresina Mountaineering School.