Home to the longest glacial downhill ski route in Switzerland, as well as a varied network of ski runs, it’s not hard to see why Diavolezza is a popular haunt for powder junkies. Standing over 9,800 feet (3,000 meters) proud, Diavolezza Mountain adds an impressive eight peaks to the Bernina skyline, and is accessible by gondola from the Diavolezza train station.
Although it’s well known as a winter sports destination, Diavolezza also makes a great base for climbing the surrounding peaks of Piz Palü, Piz Bernina, and Bianco Grat, as well as for glacial hiking expeditions to Pers and Morteratsch Glaciers. Plus, it’s home to Europe’s highest whirlpool bath at the Berghaus Diavolezza hotel, clocking in at 9,800 feet (3,000 meters) above sea level and serving up 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius) waters to counteract the icy cold evenings. Private and group ski lessons as well as guides are available.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The area is known for its difficult slopes, all red and black, including the popular 6.2-mile (10-kilometer) slope down the Morteratsch Glacier to the Morteratsch railway station; there is no beginner terrain.
- Diavolezza is perfect for more technical, serious hikers with hikes that are considered challenging; there is a manageable 2.5-hour walk that leads from Diavolezza to Munt Pers.
- Families can hike up to Sass Queder, which takes about 30 minutes, but the terrain is very rocky and mostly straight up, and is not accessible to strollers.
How to Get There
Diavolezza is located above Pontresina in the Upper Engadin area. It’s accessible by the Rhaetian Railway (RhB), with its own station stop. You can fly into Zurich and Milan Malpensa airports, both of which are connected to Diavolezza via train. Private transfers and car rentals are also available but keep in mind that driving can be tricky. It’s a 15-minute drive from Pontresina.
When to Get There
If you’re interested in skiing or snowboarding, the best time to visit the area is from December to early April. But good snow conditions can extend all the way to May in Diavolezza. For warm weather activities like hiking, biking, mountain climbing, kayaking, and sailing, visit from mid-June to mid-October.
The Legend of Diavolezza
The name Diavolezza comes from the legend of the she-devil. As the story goes, once upon a time, an ethereal being lived in Munt Pers. Young hunters became besotted with her, following her into her fortress, never to be seen again. Aratsch was one of those who never returned. But those in the Bernina Range at night swore they could hear a wail exclaiming: “Mort ais Aratsch, mort ais Aratsch,” which means “Aratsch is dead.” According to legend, in response to Aratsch’s death, Diavolezza covered the entire mountain alp with ice and scree.