St. Moritz Lake SUP Sport Switzerland

How the winter tourism was born in St. Moritz in Switzerland?

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St. Moritz – Hotel Kulm

We arrive in St. Moritz with the red train that runs along the Albula railway that is in UNESCO. Today, the city in the canton of Grisons is the best-known Alpine tourist destination. St. Moritz is famous for nature, luxury accommodation like hotels, the casino, ski slopes and VIPs that attracts every year.

St. Moritz Lake church st. Karl Borromaeus tower

But fame is frowned upon by the local population. The girl who hosted us on Airbnb turned up her nose when we told her we were headed to St. Moritz. She said that there are many other more beautiful valleys in the area, even if less famous.

St Moritz Lake Town Switzerland
St. Moritz Lake walking area mountains

Despite the ostentation that annoys the local population, the history of St. Moritz is important. In fact, winter tourism was born here, thanks to the intuition of the hotelier Johannes Badrutt.

Mountain Trees St. Moritz Lake Switzerland

In 1855 Johannes had used twelve rooms in a building as a guesthouse. In the following years he expanded his business by creating the Kulm hotel , the first hotel in St. Moritz.

St. Moritz Lake Kulm Hotel Switzerland
St. Moritz Boat Church St. Karl Borromaues

The bet

At the time, tourists only came to St. Moritz in the summer. The wealthy English bourgeoisie sought the sunny climate and thermal springs of the Engadin valley. In 1864, Johannes Badrutt decided to make more use of his business.

St. Moritz Lake conifers house Switzerland

In front of the fireplace, Johannes made a bet with four of his English guests. He declaimed to them the beauty of winter among the snow-capped mountains, the sun and the mild temperatures. So, he invited them to come back in December. If the four Englishmen had not enjoyed the stay, Johannes would have reimbursed the travel expenses. The four returned and did not leave before Easter.

St. Moritz waling area dog Switzerland
St. Moritz Lake light and shadow Switzerland

Johannes had won the bet and created winter tourism. The bet becomes one of famous stories about tourism. But his insights did not end. The hotelier discovered electricity and was fascinated by it. He therefore decided to light up the restaurant of the Kulm hotel with electricity, and make it an ideal place for masked balls. In 1879, the Kulm hotel became the first electrified building in all of Switzerland.

St. Moritz Lake Sainling Boats
St. Moritz river houses mountains

The sports

Tourists loved practicing various sports and using sleds to move around the city. In some cases, they came down with their heads forward instead of their feet. The constant sled traffic in the city center proved extremely dangerous.

St. Moritz Mountain Conifers clouds

In 1884, Caspar Badrutt, son of Johannes, decided to build the legendary Cresta Run, a natural track suitable for practicing these descents safely. The track was then reserved for skeleton, the new sport created in St. Moritz, in which the descent is practiced on the stomach and face forward.

St. Moritz Lake SUP sport hotel trees

In the twentieth century, St. Moritz hosted two winter Olympics, in 1928 and 1948. The inauguration of both events was held in the areas of the Kulm hotel. In addition, the resort hosted the first continental ice skating and curling tournaments, as well as countless alpine skiing competitions. Sports enthusiasts go skiing on the slopes of the nearby Piz Nair Mountain.

St. Moritz Lake Train Station
St. Moritz greenfields flowers mountains

The lake

Caspar also built a new luxury hotel, with an architecture reminiscent of a medieval palace, the Badrutt’s Palace. We walked along the lake of St. Moritz before returning to Thusis with the Albula railway.

St. Moritz Lake Badrutt's palace
St. Moritz Lake shores hotels houses

The lake of St. Moritz is a small lake, which is fed by the Inn, the river that flows into the Danube in Germany after crossing the city of Innsbruck in Austria. In winter, wealthy tourists bet on horse racing and polo tournaments taking place on the frozen lake.

Stones shores St. Moritz Lake Switzerland
St. Moritz Lake Running Switzerland

Written by Enrico, Translated by Hua and Photo from Hua

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