The topography of the Engadin could have been designed for ski touring. Even the floor of this wide, open valley is high and snow-sure, with an altitude of 1,715 m to 1,822 m. The surrounding mountain peaks mostly top 3,000 m, with slopes of all pitches and orientations. Time to fix on your ski skins and tackle a mountain summit!
In the mountains, many things are relative, but one thing is sure: any ski tourers who stand together on the summit of a 3,000-metre peak are already on first-name terms. That may well be the reason why people of the Engadin are so quick to use first names with new acquaintances. Hardly any other region can have so many 3,000-metre summits that are easily accessible on a pair of skis and skins.
The Bernina Pass region does not offer quite as many summit ascents as the Julier Pass. However, there are fewer ski tourers out and about, and the scenery is extremely dramatic, thanks to the nearby peaks of the Bernina massif. A 15-minute drive leads from Pontresina to the Diavolezza car park, starting point for ski tours up the Piz Alv (2,974 m) and Piz Minor (3,048 m) – and also the “Diavolezza Challenge”, a marked and secured ascent along which skiers can time themselves automatically with the chance to win prizes. The route is also open Friday evenings.
For mountaineers, the Berghaus Diavolezza hotel (2,978 m) serves as a base for high-altitude ski tours in the Bernina massif. This is also the starting point for one of the finest ski tours in the Engadin: via the Gemsfreiheit (3,185 m) down to Morteratsch (1,896 m). The route is not very difficult, but spectacular in the extreme, as it leads across the Pers Glacier with the mighty Piz Palü soaring high above. Skiers without glacier experience should tackle this ski tour only in the company of a mountain guide.
Probably the best-known region for ski touring in the Engadin lies around the Julier Pass (2,284 m). From Silvaplana, just a few minutes’ drive lead to the various car parks where the ski tours begin. The Julier Pass region is popular because it offers plenty of choice and variety. Whatever the conditions here, our mountain guides are able to find safe routes. Classic tours include the ascent of the Piz Surgonda (3,196 m) and the Piz Lagrev (3,165 m), which reveals glorious views of the Engadin valley. The Julier region is also home to a popular Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) hut, the Chamanna Jenatsch (2,653 m). This is the starting point for a variety of tours, including the ascent of the well-known Piz d’Err (3,307 m).
When it comes to ski touring, Muottas Muragl (2,454 m) is a gem. Accessible by funicular, this summit is especially popular for winter walking and tobogganing, but it also serves as the starting point for two top-class ski tours: up the Piz Muragl (3,156 m) and up the Piz Vadret (3,199 m). As the two summits lie at the very heart of the Engadin, they offer superb views over the whole valley.
The village of Zuoz enjoys a peaceful and idyllic location beside the river Inn, framed by mountains. On both sides of the valley, enthusiasts can embark on leisurely ski tours that in some cases begin right in the village. Zuoz also has a small but charming ski area, whose lifts reduce considerably the time required for the ascent of the Piz Belvair (2,821 m) or Piz Griatschouls (2,971 m). On the opposite side of the valley, the Piz Arpiglia (2,764 m) is also a popular summit for ski tours.
Other villages also offer ski tours that begin on the doorstep, such as Madulain (Muntischè, 2,604 m), La Punt (Crasta Mora, 2,935 m) and St. Moritz (Piz Mezdi, 2,991 m).