The glamorous Swiss ski resort of St Moritz has been a playground for the rich and leisured since winter tourism began there in 1864. The first town in the world to have its name registered as a trademark, St Moritz has developed into a travel ‘brand’ associated with cosmopolitan luxury. Behind the image stands a formidable sporting and hospitality infrastructure, while the whole enterprise rests on the region’s undeniable natural charms. Surrounded by lakes, mountains and glaciers, St Moritz enjoys an average of 320 days of sunshine per year and a famous ‘champagne climate’ that is as dry, sparkling and uplifting as the drink that bears its name.
In February, St Moritz will host the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships for a record fifth time. No other location matches St Moritz’s popularity as the venue for this premier international sporting event, previously held in the iconic Alpine town in 1934, 1948, 1974 and 2003.
VIP packages for the championships include admission to an exclusive hospitality area, situated right at the race finish line. You can watch all the action from the open-air second-floor terrace, where drinks and hot snacks are served and the views of the surrounding landscape are as spectacular as the sporting performances. Between races, slip into the lounge, where super-chef Reto Mathis and his team will be serving up his signature contemporary Alpine cuisine at live cooking stations. Breakfast and lunch are included in your ticket price. Packages also include a VIP shuttle service, but for a real James Bond entrance – after all, the Swiss Alps feature in four of the movies – why not arrive by helicopter? Swiss Helicopter provides a number of options for doing just that, whether in a private charter or shared flight.
In 2017, the competition will overlap with a much-loved annual local event, White Turf. Over three Sundays in February, horse races and ‘skikjöring’ – horse-drawn skiing – take place on frozen Lake St Moritz, surrounded by snow-covered mountains. Next year’s program will also include an evening of illuminated Night Turf, with light shows, music performances and art exhibitions complementing the ice races. Again, VIP packages are available, offering exclusive dining and seating options.
The brilliance and energy of St Moritz is best experienced during the high social season of January-February. There seems to be no end to the inventiveness of this town in creating winter sports events that capitalise on its scenic location and luxury lifestyle. Every year, on the last weekend of January, elite riders gather here for the Snow Polo World Cup. A month later the St Moritz Cricket Club hosts its Cricket on Ice competition, in a playful nod to the British influence on the town’s sporting culture. During all these events, the streets buzz with pop-up bars and cafes, many hosting jazz performances.
For downtime, retail therapy is available at Via Serlas, where upmarket sports and gift shops sit beside the world’s top design and fashion brands. You can visit one of St Moritz’s 12 art galleries or stop in at Audrey Hepburn’s favourite café, Café Hanselmann. And of course, there’s always the option of taking to the slopes yourself, with 350km of ski runs just waiting to be explored.