Wednesday, 21 September 2016

St Moritz Things to Do Part 1: Funicular and Cable Car to Piz Nair

And ideally back down again!

Gifting myself an afternoon off training, I decided to make the most of another sunny afternoon and head to the top of the mountain. Piz Nair, at 3057m above sea level, was the destination, and the funicular and cable car were the mode of transport. The plan was to return to the town on foot. It would be all downhill; how difficult could it be?

Starting right in the heart of St Moritz Dorf (the posh part of town), the funicular takes an almost vertical route to Corviglia (2,486m), which from the lake seems like pretty much as high as you can go. The views from there are pretty amazing, and I was surprised to see so many other people up there, many of whom, it seemed, had arrived by bike. Fair play to them!

After snapping some snaps, and putting on an extra layer of clothing (it was pretty cool up there) I made my way to the cable car terminal, ready for the rid to the peak up ahead. It looked like a steep ride (and a rocky decent) but thankfully I'm not afraid of heights.

Only, as we approached that peak (which indecently, and scarily, will host the start of next February's World Downhill Skiing Championships), I realised we weren't stopping; we were going even higher! There was a further peak which I had missed in the clouds ahead.

The cable car stopped at 3022m; it was just a short, rocky hike from there to the very top. The views took my breath away - ok that was probably the altitude, but still, they were amazing!!!

Now for the decent! Yes, I was still going to tackle it on foot. I'd done the cable car. It was time to get a different perspective on things.

The first bit seemed ok, and surely it wasn't all going to be as rocky as it looked.


After all, this was a hiking route.

I could handle this.

Couldn't I?




The first 30 minutes of the decent was the single scariest thing I've ever done. There were bits, I kid you not, where I just sat on my bum and sort of shuffled down on all fours.

I now know why hikers carry those pole things!

On a couple of occasions I considered backing out and heading back to the top, but I knew that if I turned around and saw where I'd come from, I'd loose my nerve altogether.

This would all be over soon!

And eventually it was. I had made it to the bottom of the rocky peak, and was back on the wider tracks, no longer fearful of slipping over the edge.

But the hard work wasn't finished yet. There was still another 90 minutes or so of descending ahead. And even that was a lot steeper than it looked from above. An afternoon run would surely have been easier.

Am I happy I did it? Yes, absolutely!

Would I do it again? Hell, no!

And so, in summary, if you're in St Moritz and looking for something to do, absolutely take the funicular to Corviglia. I'd even suggest taking the cable car all the way to the top.

But, please, please, please take it back down again too.

Top tip: If you have a St Moritz Sport Elite Athlete Pass, be sure to show it at the ticket office along with your passport. You'll get yourself a nice discount!

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