Skier on floodlit piste at night
Corvatsch Snow Night; Romano Salis, Corvatsch AG

The thrill of night skiing

Jenny Stallard relishes an unforgettable after-dark skiing experience on the slopes of Corvatsch near St. Moritz

Skiing at night is unlike any other skiing experience you will likely have. It may seem a big claim, but from someone who has tried it and skied in many places from the Alps to Banff via the Dolomites there is a magic and majesty to skiing at night that is unrivalled. Especially if you are staying in the spectacular and glamorous resort of St. Moritz.

Of course, one of the big draws of skiing in the mountains is the scenery. Whether taken in from the peak of a slope, a mountain restaurant or a cable car, your time in St. Moritz is all about the views. 

Soaring mountains set against blue skies, with white powder snow glimmering in the sunlight, always stirs the soul, as does the sounds of fresh snow under your skis as you whizz along the piste. 

At night, all that disappears. The mountains become dark, looming on the horizon with unknown surfaces. But just one stands out the Corvatsch run near St. Moritz, which is floodlit at night and open from 7pm.

View of floodlit ski piste at night
The illuminated Corvatsch run; Andri Giovanoli

Embracing the night

At 4.2-kilometre long (2.6 miles), the illuminated piste at Corvatsch is showcased by a snake of lights winding down the mountain like a dragon’s tail, enticing and calling to you to come and play. The run tempts you in a whole new way compared to in the daytime, gleaming with excitement and daring you to come and try something very different and unique.

There are a few things to do to prepare if you decide to try it, of course. Safety is imperative you need your helmet and any other key safety equipment you use when skiing. As a snowboarder, for example, you may use knee pads. Some may use a back protector. There is a romance to night skiing, but you must remember not to play James Bond here! Enjoyment comes when you’re fully kitted out and ready to hit the slope with confidence.

Secondly, you need to consider your skiwear. At night, it’s colder, and layers are key.  You might want to try a lightweight glove or mitten liner, a thermal base layer for your torso and be warned even though you may be tempted, not to unzip your jacket mid-run. 

Freeride snowboarder on powder snow at night
A freeride snowboarder at night

Seeing the light

The biggest difference in skiing on this floodlit piste is the change in how the snow looks. You might imagine it will be soft and powdery after a day of skiers going down it. But the run has been prepared, bashed into its familiar grooves, as it then begins to set hard as night falls. It’s slightly like skiing the first run on an early winter morning, and you’ll need your concentration to focus on your speed and turns. This all adds to the thrill of night skiing here. It’s not just a stroll down the piste, it’s a serious effort with huge rewards. As you begin to get a feel for the snow and the different shadows you cast on it as you ski, you find your pace. Smoothly turning over the snow like a stealthy leopard that has come out after dark to hunt for food. Luckily, you can also find sustenance on the slopes, but don’t stay out too late having to make your way down the mountain in cold conditions on a full stomach is not advised!

Holding your focus as you ski is another amazing element of the experience, as this requires a lot more concentration than daytime skiing. And what better than to think about your triumphant return to base at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, where you will be able to delight other guests with your tales of skiing the night slopes, the one they have all seen lit up at night.

Heading home is just one option, to the cosiness of your room before a quick change to then head down for a nightcap or dinner, depending on how long you’ve been out skiing. Or you could segue into a booking in one of the restaurants in or near the hotel – for the ultimate post-ski mountain experience, try Chesa Veglia; it is home to Pizzeria Heuboden, Patrizier Stuben, Grill Chadafö, Carigiet Fondue Stübli and Polo Bar.

Two night skiers admiring the mountain views
Skiing at night feels daring, bold and very special

An eye on the view

Skiing down the mountain at night feels daring and bold. There is also the thrill of exclusivity as if you have been given a golden ticket to a place that nobody else has experienced. You go into a trance, the noises so different to those you hear in the daytime. 

For the less competent skiers, this floodlit piste is one to take slowly, making sure you go at your own pace. And for the more experienced skiers, a word of caution, too. Don’t be so keen to get to the bottom that you forget to pause, look up, and see the familiar mountain view around you in a whole new (not so) light.

One thing is for sure, you will amaze your dinner guests for years to come with tales of night skiing! 

Corvatsch Snow Night takes place on 4.2 kilometres (2.6 miles) of illuminated, freshly groomed slopes on Corvatsch every Friday in winter, from 7pm. On the other nights of the week, you can also book the piste privately for the Corvatsch VIP Snow Night.

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