The swish town in Switzerland’s Engadin valley is a hotbed of skiing and eclectic wintersports, from toboganning on the famous Cresta Run to golf, cricket, polo and horseracing on its frozen lake.
A traditional mountain culture underpins the glamor, all set against the backdrop of the Piz Nair (3,056 meters) and the Piz Corvatsch (3,451 meters) on either side of the lake-filled valley.
St. Moritz is a regular stop on skiing’s World Cup circuit — the women are there this week for and alpine combined and two super-G races – and has hosted two Winter Olympics (1928 and 1948) and five World Championships, most recently in 2017.
For those who like to follow in the ski tracks of movie stars, the resort was also used as a location for James Bond flicks “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “A View to a Kill.”
Here’s what you need to know about this jewel in the glitterati crown.
The men’s downhill start is the steepest on the ski racing circuit, plunging skiers from 0-90 mph in six seconds.
ALESSANDRO DELLA BELLA/AFP/Getty Images
The ski area
The 218 miles of ski runs and 58 lifts are an intermediate’s heaven centered around the Corviglia area, with skiing from just below the summit of the Piz Nair via a cable car.
A funicular railway whisks skiers from the main bling-filled hub of St. Moritz Dorf (1,846 meters) into the heart of the slopes, from where lifts and runs spread across the mountain.
Up here lies the infamous men’s downhill race course, with a starting slope known as “Free Fall” because of its fear-inducing gradient. The almost vertical drop catapults competitors from standstill to 90 mph in just six seconds.
It’s the steepest start gate in the world, accessed by a gondola lift and a 178-step climb. The severity of the slope means TV cameramen have to wear crampons and abseil down to obtain suitable filming positions.
The competitors for the downhill skiing race at the World Championships in St. Moritz face the steepest start gate around — a 45 degree drop.
The interconnected Marguns area above the hamlet of Celerina offers more cruising options in a wide bowl on the flanks of Piz Corviglia.
On the opposite side of the valley above the less showy St. Moritz Bad (1,772 meters) is the smaller Corvatsch area rising to a high point of 3,303 meters with wide open skiing on the Corvatsch glacier.
The outlying Diavolezza area offers more options for those prepared to travel.
St. Moritz is a gourmet’s delight with a range of fine-dining options both in town and on the mountains.
St. Moritz first became famous as a summer resort because of its mineral springs before winter visitors were tempted by talk of 300 days of sunshine from the mid-19th century.
St. Moritz is also a gourmet’s delight and offers a rich choice of stomach-stuffing options with five Michelin-starred restaurants and a host of other fine-dining emporiums in town and on the mountain.
The Via Serlas is St. Moritz’s answer to LA’s Rodeo Drive and offers every designer label from Armani to Valentino.
The famed natural ice track of the Cresta Run was first built in 1884 and is a St. Moritz icon.
The 1,212-meter natural track, which is created from scratch every year, drops 157 meters to what was the village of Cresta, but is now part of Celerina. Riders lie face down, head first and use rakes on special boots to brake and steer. Guests can apply for a slot, with prices starting from $500 for five rides.
CNN Alpine Edge host Christina Macfarlane takes a ride down the bobsled track of St. Moritz, which was used for the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympics.
The track record is held by Irish Winter Olympian Lord Wrottesley, who became the first person to go under 50 seconds when he broke James Sunley’s 16-year mark in February 2015. He also achieved the fastest speed ever recorded of 82.87 mph.
St. Moritz is known for championship-level skiing, glitz, glamour and…horse racing? The White Turf race takes horses from the track to a frozen lake.
True members of the jet set can have their private plane land at nearby Samedan airfield, only four miles from St. Moritz.
For the rest, St. Moritz is a three-hour drive from Zurich airport.