It might take you a while to find the Aela ski lift. Starting at the eastern end of the village, the lift will pull you up the north-facing slope along a narrow corridor. The descent is steep and requires total concentration. The way down takes you through trees and boulders, over cliffs and inside couloirs. It is the best place in the Engadine to ski in the trees.
On a sunny day, from the top, you will see all the way to St. Moritz and almost as far as the border with Italy. But, today, we haven’t come for the view: snowflakes the size of napkins settle on bushes, and trees, and the skiers’ goggles as well as the lenses of our cameras. Fresh snow blankets the landscape and any noise. The T-bars on their way up rattle monotonously as they pass the pulleys. All other ski lifts are shut; the snowstorm is too intense, the avalanche risk too high.
Maloja is our small retreat – on a snowy day, it’s all the world to us. You’ll hear a shriek now and then. Maloja is sheer bliss. The Lord has been generous with Maloja. And, when the lift stops, now and then, stillness returns to paradise.
SKILIFT AELA (2,100 METRES)
Maloja, 17 km from St. Moritz, terminus of bus lines no. 2 and 4. Steep T-bar ski lift, not suited for beginners. Two runs (one red, one black), and varied, rocky terrain for off-piste skiing. Beware of crevices and cliffs!
Our tip: Call +41 81 824 31 20 to find out whether the lift is running.