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The best on the way to the ski run


Mountain magic

<p>Mountain magic</p>

Mountain magic
Rising majestically from the floor of this high mountain valley, the Corvatsch mountain is an impressive and fascinating feature of the surrounding landscape. In winter its sparkling snow draws lovers of winter sports to its slopes, whilst in summer it invites hikers and bikers to explore its many trails. A symphony in white and blue, rock faces, glaciers, lakes, dramatic contrasts between light and shade, rugged scenery interchanging with gentle, perfumed meadows where alpine plants grow in abundance: these are the many facets of Corvatsch. Each day a different natural spectacle awaits: for adventure-full sports activities, or simply to behold and enjoy the tranquillity of the mountain. Silvaplana’s local mountain is very special, and casts its spell far and wide.

For centuries Corvatsch has provided protection to the inhabitants of Silvaplana and the upper Engadine, at the same time exposing them to the dangers of natural disasters, whilst it has also served as grazing land. It is an essential part of their life; they depended on it, but were also at its mercy. They kept a wary eye on it, and loved it dearly. With the arrival of tourism in the nineteenth century, more and more people came under its spell. In 1898 Philip Mark and Claudio Saratz climbed on their skis all the way to the icy ridge of Piz Corvatsch, firing – so to speak – the starting pistol for the “Corvatsch Ski Experience”. Shortly afterwards the first efforts were made to open the area to a wider public. In 1902 St. Moritz was granted the concession to build a revolving cable car from St. Moritz-Bad to the Hahnensee. That was the beginning, opening up possibilities for the future. Twenty years later the British organised their first summer ski race on Corvatsch. At the end of the 1950’s innovators decided to plan the construction of a cable car up to 3303 m. Their ambition was to connect the north-facing slopes between St. Moritz and Sils. Their vision was finally realised in 1963: a cable car and two ski-lifts laid the foundation stone of the Corvatsch sport arena, carrying skiers to a whole new area of ski pistes.

From now on there was no holding back; tirelessly the promoters sought new ideas, continuing with planned projects, making improvements and extending existing installations. In 1971 the Furtschellas funicular was established and already a year later Corvatsch and Furtschellas joined forces to create a vast skiing area. Two years later the ten millionth guest passed through the turnstile.

Success strengthened and motivated the promoters, who were ever more committed to raising the standard of comfort and security in the challenging enterprise of Corvatsch. Today, a winter sports’ paradise awaits visitors – extending from the hustle and bustle of St. Moritz to the peaceful stillness of Sils. Starting point is the journey in the Corvatsch cable car that quietly carries passengers on a journey of discovery, adventure and enjoyment past the steep rock faces up to the mountain ridge. As you emerge, at 3303 m above sea level, the majestic scenery of a mountain paradise lies at your feet: 14 ski-lifts and 120 km of prepared pistes - a skiing experience that cannot fail to excite even the most demanding skier or snowboarder. For those who prefer a more modest approach to Corvatsch, snowshoes provide an excellent way to get around and venture further in these snowy surroundings.

The history of the Corvatsch Ski Service is closely connected to the Corvatsch sport arena. When the Corvatsch cable car was built in the 1960’s my father, Curdin Conrad – who was just a young lad at the time – began dreaming. When he was only 23 years old he realised his vision: a block hut close by the pistes, with the most eccentric ski sport products. I grew up there, amid Hanson ski boots and Spademan bindings. We have both grown older meanwhile, but continue to have plenty of ideas and visions.

We are most grateful to Corvatsch AG for their assistance in our freestyle photo shoot on our “local mountain”. As well as providing lighting, PistenBully snow grooming machines and much more, they prepared the pistes for us and made a major contribution to this magazine.