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Snowboarding in Switzerland

Text by Urs Mayer

Snowboarding in Switzerland

We decided to celebrate carneval 2000 in Switerland's Unterengadin. We packed everything into our VW van and set off, arrived late at night and parked in front of the skilifts. Note that our van has no central heating.

We wake to half a meter of fresh snow and brilliant sunshine - our destination the 3179m Piz Tasna. One cable car ride and two chair lifts are needed before reaching the top of the Champatsch skilift. From here we descend 300m down the Champatsch north face and reach the flat section near the Tirai. It's freezing cold but the snow is fantastic powder. Here we put the snowboards on our backs and step into our short skis for the ascent. Blood starts to circulate again, the sun warms us up and the steep slope gets our muscles working hard.

An hour-long traverse northwards between Piz Tasna and Piz Mot proves to be hard work; we have to break trail through the fresh snow and the backcountry skiers and their guide don't want to take the lead. In the end they thank us. Better than nothing.

When we reach the summit of Piz Mot we notice that the slope that leads to piz tasna is icy and windswept. To our right though lies a fantastic slope, completely sheltered from the wind. A glance at the map shows that this is Piz Davo Lais, 3027m - we're up the remaining 300m in no time at all!

Snowboarding in Switzerland

The panorama from up here is truly impressive: Ortles, Bernina, Piz Kesch and the Silvretta. Fantastic. A quick rest to eat and then we get ready for the thrilling descent - down to Mot and then leftwards to Val Davo Lais and Alp Era, 2045m. There are no tracks, the snow is still virgin, and we make some massive sprays - if only the descent never ended. What's better than snowboarding in fresh powder?

To return to Scuol we have to catch a bus, but this leaves in an hour. To kill time we eat a great hot soup in the restaurant opposite the bus stop. The sun has already set in the valley and it's getting cold again. It looks likes its going to snow again tonight…


The itinereary is graded intermediate. Highly recommended is a rescue beacon and shovel. Orientation: east, north south
Getting there
By car:
Milano - Malojapass - St. Moritz - Scuol 230 km, 4 hrs
Bolzano – Reschenpass (Passo di Resia) - Scuol 110 km, 2 1/2 hrs
By train:
Zurich - Landquart – Scuol,
2 3/4 hrs
St. Moritz – Scuol, 1 1/2 hrs
The best time of year must be march and April; check out the local weather conditions under Bollettino Valanghe Svizzero.
Height difference
Ascent: 700 m on foot after having used the skilifts.
Descent: 300 m + 1600 m
Books and maps
Skitouren Graubünden, Vital Eggeberger, 5th edition, 1999 (with a guide to the best snowboard tours in the area), in German
- Map: Skitourenkarte von Scuol (Schweizer Landeskarten)
Links and useful information
Scuol, Tarasp-Vulpera, Sent, Ftan
CH - 7550 Scuol
Tel 081 861 22 22
Fax 081 861 22 23

Text by Urs Mayer

Photos by Urs Mayer and Ralph Castelberg.
Snowboarding in Switzerland
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