For Issue #156 we visited the high alpine town of St Moritz, and while we mentioned the Corviglia Flow Trails, they really deserved some extra focus.
St Moritz is known for it's alpine lifestyle, and that permeates through summer too. The high end of the Engadin Valley in the Graubuenden canton gets over 320 days of sunshine a year, and as it is at about 1800m, you can ride trails in the trees, or easily get high above them for some higher alpine trails - groomed or raw.
The Corviglia Trails
The Corviglia Trails are easy to find, sitting on the mountain above St Moritz. They are accessed by the Corviglia Mountain TRansport - which is easy to use with bikes. There's no holding onto bikes on a rocking chair lift!
The descents are long enough that you might want to stop part way down to enjoy the views, but short enough to allow a few runs in a session. The three trails are all a bit different, but the main trail has amazing views across St Moritz, and across to Pontresia.
The trails are a little different to the flow trails you will find at home. Mostly due to the altitude loss. Overall it creates a steeper trail, with more free speed available than on machine built trails in Derby or similar - but also more corners than on the flow trail at Thredbo.
The Fopettas flow trail has heaps of built features in the forest, and it's well worth looking ahead to see which line you're choosing, as some A lines leave you on a drop off which must be done. If in doubt, take the B line and hit the A line on your next run!
The WM trail has advanced lines but isn't the exclusive realm of downhill riders. I spoke to one of the trail builders, Lukas Hausler, about riding in the region.
"Most of the mountain bikers come here to combine the riding and nature. The natural setting here is the big difference between St Moritz and another resort. At the moment I'm working in Austria, but when I come back I'm so stoked because I'm reminded how beautiful and special this valley is. It's a unique experience just because of the natural terrain and beauty. That makes it really special for riders."
And that plays across not just the older natural trails, but the newly built flow trails as well. Each of the three trails is different, and lets you experience a unique part of the mountain.
Switzerland isn't close... but it is more achievable than you think. Flights to Zurich or Geneva fly from most Australian capitals, and once on the ground you're best to invest in a rail pass and get around by train.
Not too bad, you'll see a range of riders on the trails as really there is always a line you can roll down. But the WM trail and Fopettas have line options for advanced riders, and intermediate riders will find some extra speed and air time with line choices on the main Corviglia flow trail.
The usual spares, but most importantly take a jacket for cold mountain weather, and some sun cream for protection. Don't forget some Swiss Francs too for a refreshment at one of the mountain restaurants.
Starting on the WM trail and turning onto 672 makes for a great longer loop with some excellent natural singletrack to Silvaplana.
Best time of year
Late June until October - although in June you are unlikely to sample the really high riding at Piz Nair.
While in the area
Ride more! There are about 400kms of trails to explore. Check out the St Moritz website for more details.
For more information about all 5 top bike regions in Graubünden check out www.graubuenden.ch/bike