A fairy tale come true: Zauberwald Lenzerheide

Winter season brings out the romance in me. I just love the holiday season. This year I discovered a true fairy tale in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

The Zauberwald Lenzerheide is one of the most magical Christmas markets I have ever seen. You get to enjoy pretty cool art and light installations, live concerts, even some poetry and traditional Christmas booths with hot cider, local food and craftsmanship – surrounded by the majestic mountains of Lenzerheide.

Right now it is my favorite Christmas market, EVER. I got goosebumps, happy tears and could really feel the magic of the trees – breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful.

How to get there

It is pretty close to Munich. Hence, I took the Flixbus to Chur (a three-hour ride from Munich for 15 EUR) and from there I hopped on the PostBus to Lenzerheide – a 40-minute ride from Chur. If you prefer a little road trip, it only takes two hours and half from Munich.

I recommend to stay for a whole weekend. Lenzerheide is just so pretty. I can really picture myself living there. You find many great deals online. I stayed at the Hotel Sarain Active Mountain Resort, which was all I needed. My recommendation for the Zauberwald Lenzerheide: book a priority ticket online. This saves you a lot of hustle. If you start early at around 5 p.m. it is not too crowded, either.

All in all, I spent 150 EUR for a whole weekend, including entrance fees, accommodation, bus fares and food expenses.

Next year I will be back – that is for sure.

xoxo

photo & video credits: Munich Mountain Rebel, Zauberwald Lenzerheide

Meet the Grande Dame of Pontresina: The Grand Hotel Kronenhof

*ADVERT*

The Grand Hotel Kronenhof is one of the most splendid hotels in the Alps. This heritage-protected luxury-class establishment is located in the heart of the idyllic Engadine village of Pontresina, only six kilometres from St. Moritz. The only 5-star superior hotel in the village, it boasts some 112 spacious rooms and suites as well as the large and well-equipped Kronenhof Spa and several very notable restaurants.

I was cordially invited to stay one night at the hotel in order to explore charming and elegant Pontresina. It was the beginning of my personal Swiss fairytale and I could not wait to get out of my hiking gear, changing into one of my pretty dresses.

Historic Architecture

Historic architecture that dates from 1848, elegant light-filled rooms and suites, one of the finest spa facilities in the world and a superb location in the heart of the Swiss Alps – this unique mix of the magic of times long past, modern comfort, and the beautiful natural world all around is what makes the Grand Hotel Kronenhof so special and unique. After a comprehensive renovation in 2007, this landmark neo-baroque building that is an alpine architectural treasure is now also one of the world’s top luxury and wellness hotels.

The Grand Hotel Kronenhof belongs to a tradition of hospitality that began in 1848. Today, the Grand Hotel Kronenhof is among the best-preserved 19th-century grand hotels found anywhere and is, at the same time, one of Switzerland’s top luxury and wellness hotels.

The Mountaineering Village of Pontresina

Pontresina is situated in a wind-sheltered side valley at 1,805 metres above sea level. The village is very close to the Bernina Massif with the two most famous peaks of the Engadine: Piz PalĂĽ and Piz Bernina. Standing at 4,049 m, the Bernina is the highest peak in the Eastern Alps. The region offers visitors action and variety as it also offers peace and quiet.

Guests first arriving at the historic mountaineering village are immediately captivated with the village itself. The charm of the traditional Engadine houses and the elegance of the Belle Époque hotels quickly transport you to a more tranquil former age.

My opinion: I find it much more charming and relaxing than St. Moritz (no offense).

Staying in Style

With 112 rooms and suites in different categories, the Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina blends modern comfort with grand hotel elegance and atmosphere. The hotel is ideal for families, especially as most of its stylish rooms can be connected, but also for couples or singles.

Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by the interior design of the rooms and their rates as well. Since I mostly travel alone, I always have a closer look at the single rooms. The cozy Deluxe Single Rooms and Superior Single Rooms all exude an alpine elegance. All rooms have a small seating area, and the luxurious bathrooms feature the finest granite and amenities.

During high winter season, prices start at 400 CHF for a single room, which I think is VERY fair. – All rates are in Swiss francs per night and room, and include a gourmet package (half board) as well as free access to the 2,000 sq m Kronenhof Spa and to the fitness centre.

Guests can also benefit from free Wi-Fi, free use of the Kulm Golf St. Moritz and Kulm tennis courts in summer and of the natural ice rink in winter (until the end of February). In addition, the hotel provides a free shuttle service to and from Pontresina train station, and a free ski shuttle to the Celerina/Marguns and Diavolezza mountain railways. Service charges, tourist tax and VAT are also included.

In comparison, Deluxe Classic Double Rooms are located in the main wing, on the South side of the building and feature a view of the magnificent St. Moritz Mountain range. Furnished with cherry wood furniture and light-grey/red granite bathrooms, these rooms offer both functionality and comfort. Some rooms were recently renovated and redesigned by star architect Pierre-Yves Rochon. Prices start at 715 CHF.

Compared to other 5-star superior hotels in the world, this is an EXCELLENT package!

Culinary Art

Guests at the Grand Hotel Kronenhof can enjoy culinary variety in three restaurants. Diners can relish the decor in the magnificent Grand Restaurant, sample a fine gourmet meal at the Kronenstübli, have lunch at Le Pavillon in the legendary Kronenhof Bar & Lounge, or alternatively, dip into Swiss fondue and Raclette at the cosy bowling alley. There’s no doubt that every stay at the Kronenhof is a culinary discovery trip.

Believe me, you will be deligthed to dine at the Grand Hotel Kronenhof: first-class service and excellent cuisine! I strongly recommend to dine at the Grand Restaurant when you stay at the Kronenhof.

In the splendid Grand Restaurant with its neo-baroque vault dating from 1872, guests can experience a wide culinary variety as well as a sense of history and of elegance. Here, breakfast and dinner are really served in style. Swiss culinary specialties combined with international creations and local products all play a part in dishes that are a synthesis of the culinary arts – accompanied by a wine selection that leaves nothing to be desired, of course.

Wellness Heaven for Dreamers

Have you ever tried floating before and can relate to this feeling when you reached total relaxation? Then you know, what I am talking about – an unforgettable experience.

The Kronenhof Spa really is a place of relaxation – for those who enjoy, relax and dream. The unique wellness and fitness offer on 2,000 square meters is one of the most impressive in the Engadine. And it is also available to non-resident guests.

Next to their beauty, body and wellness treatments, they now also offer a oneday mental coaching session, where you can Change your life sustainably, gain clarity and mental power. Currently one of the most renowned Swiss psychologists and mountain guides, Thomas Theurillat, sets the course for success and satisfaction with the Kronenhof guests.

Awaken the Dreamer in You and remember: All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. This is exactly how I felt when leaving the spa area.

A new Favorite Luxury Retreat?

Just a little side note: I once did a trip with my mom along the east coast in the USA and we stayed at the Ritz Carlton Central Park in New York and simply pampered ourselves. Up till now, the Ritz Carlton has been my all-time favorite Luxury Hotel in a Western Country/City because of this special memory and these positive, warm vibes.

Seriously, this has now changed. This warmth and peacefulness at the Grand Hotel Kronenhof just got me right from the beginning when I stepped inside. At the Grand Hotel Kronenhof I really felt like I could just be myself, refuel my energy, bring things back into balance and simply fall in love with the surrounding mountains. I had one of these fairytale moments that are really precious. And I will never forget it.

Are you ready for breathtakingly beautiful fairytale-like moments? Then make sure to find your way to the Grande Dame of Pontresina. – My German readers will find a lovely interview with the Reservations Manager below. Enjoy!

xoxo

photo credits: Grand Hotel Kronenhof, Munich Mountain Rebel

The Badrutt’s Palace Hotel

*ADVERT*

Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, in the center of St. Moritz, has been synonymous with glitz and glamour since the resort opened as the Palace Hotel in 1896. This landmark luxury hotel overlooks Lake Saint Moritz and offers views of the surrounding Swiss Alps.

Every guest can feel it. The St. Moritz magic at this hotel. The feeling when you enter the Le Grand Hall is indescribable. Like a spell, far from the daily routine. The history of this luxury hotel in St. Moritz draws you in again and again into its enchantment. This is what St. Moritz looks and feels like!

History

It all started in 1856 when Johannes Badrutt took over the 12-bed Pension Faller in St. Moritz and upgraded it into a hotel with the name Engadiner Kulm (today’s Kulm Hotel).

This was followed by the legendary bet: Caspar Badrutt (1848-1904), son of Johannes Badrutt, purchased the St. Moritz Hotel Beau Rivage, built in 1872 by C. Rungger. He charged the renowned Swiss architects Chiodera and Tschudi with the remodelling of the hotel. The hotel was also renamed Palace Hotel.

Johannes Badrutt won a wager and brought the first English tourists to St. Moritz for winter sports. He built curling rinks and the world’s first toboggan run and, in doing so, invented alpine winter tourism. And that was exactly the time, when the magic began.

The official opening of the Palace Hotel was then on July 29th, 1896.

Regular Guests

Alfred Hitchcock first came to St. Moritz in 1924, and returned here two years later for his December honeymoon with Alma Reville, staying at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel (these days, locals just call it “the Palace”).

Back in the day, Alfred Hitchcock was a regular here, staying in Badrutt’s Palace Hotel annually for 50 years. In the picture above, you see the Hitchcock Suite at the Palace.

Rooms & Suites

They have a total of 157 rooms, 37 of which are suites and junior suites. There are four room and seven suite categories ranging from CHF 490.00 to CHF 20’230.00.

I stayed in a Double Room Deluxe with lake view on the 5th floor. Spacious, individually designed, soothing colors. Only the best materials are used, such as Italian marble in the bathroom. My opinion: At the Palace, it is all about details. Very charming and your home away from home!

My friend Milos stayed in a Junior Suite Deluxe on the 2nd floor. The Junior Suite Deluxe meets the demands of a modern man or woman who knows exactly what he or she wants. Guaranteed lake view. Own balcony. Spacious and enough storage. Noble materials – and everything stylish.

My favorite suite is the Hans Badrutt Suite. This suite with lake view is like a catchy tune: it stays on your mind. A marble entrance hall. A cosy library. The princess-like bathroom with make up mirror. From the Jacuzzi the princess overlooks the mountains. The dressing room provides ample space for all treasures. Simply magical!

Restaurants, Bars and Night Club

IGNIV@Badrutt’s Palace: A new restaurant concept never seen before in St. Moritz. IGNIV@Badrutt’s Palace by Andreas Caminada opened on 21st December 2016 in the rooms of Le Relais. IGNIV means »nest« and for Andreas Caminada, the 3 Michelin starred Swiss chef, stands for sharing values, social exchange and comfort. Caminada’s innovative finedining-sharing-experience focuses on time spent together, sharing menu components served on platters and in pans.

La Coupole/Matsuhisa@Badrutt’s Palace: in the 2014/15 winter season the Japanesese star chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa (»NOBU«) opened his premier brand Matsuhisa in the former tennis hall, which was once Europe’s first. The Martin Brudnizki Design Studio in London designed the unique interior of this 108 seat restaurant where original classic elements are skilfully combined with modern style. One such example is the original studded steel girders of the former tennis hall which now support a glass dome. This affords guests a view of the legendary hotel tower and also acts as both the landmark and namesake of ›La Coupole‹. The restaurant incorporates a cocktail and sushi bar as well as a private dining room. Japanese Peruvian cuisine; only open in the winter season.

Le Restaurant: The Grande Dame of Badrutt’s Palace Hotel’s restaurants. Guests enjoy glamorous nights in a unique setting for a classic dinner, candlelight dinner or a cultural event. This venue seats 300 people and features International and French cuisine. During the winter a harpist entertains guests for breakfast. A set dinner is served daily throughout the summer and winter season. Dress code: From 07.30 pm jacket required, tie desired.

Le Relais: The Le Relais restaurant offers French cuisine for lunch daily (in winter). The restaurant offers a cosy atmosphere with its colourful dĂ©cor in the Belle Epoque style and large windows with stunning views over Lake St. Moritz. It can be divided into two dining areas as well as a separate area for small to medium sized private events. In summer the breakfast buffet is served here.

Renaissance Bar – Vintage Cigar Lounge: Smoking allowed – in particular fine Cuban cigars! From 3rd December 2016 the Renaissance Bar will become Europe’s first »Vintage Cigar Lounge«. Pure indulgence. The dĂ©cor oozes comfort and encourages lounging. An exclusive choice of cigars. Paired with drinks and cocktails mixed by Andrea Delvo, Manager of the popular bar.

Le Grand Hall: The legendary lobby of the hotel with its stunning views, extravagant dĂ©cor and fantastic architecture is known affectionately as the »living room of St. Moritz«. Guests can enjoy the hotel’s glamorous atmosphere over High Tea, champagne and caviar with live piano accompaniment.

La Diala (Rhaeto-Romanic for »mountain fairy«): The latest of Badrutt’s Palace Hotel’s restaurants. Situated within Palace Wellness, the restaurant offers a light Mediterranean cuisine with a wide selection of salads and sandwiches. The family friendly restaurant with its terrace opens daily from 09.00 am to 08.00 pm.

Chesa Veglia: One of the oldest farmhouses of St. Moritz (built in 1658). Chesa Veglia is a hideaway for the rich and famous and its restaurants are among the favourites in St. Moritz. It features three restaurants and two bars: The Pizzeria Heuboden for original Italian pizza and pasta, the Grill Chadafö for elegant dining with classic French cuisine and the Patrizier Stuben for Swiss and International specialities. The Polo Bar and Carigiet Bar are the perfect place for a get-together, as well as for pre and after dinner drinks.

King’s Club: All party animals and fans of sophisticated nightlife are on tenterhooks. The new King’s Club has been revealed in its new outfit during winter season 2016/17. Tantalising afresh in shimmering red and glittering gold. Sizzling with life and energy, on fire. Mirrors, sparkle and light elements galore make the club and its future clubbers shine bright. The new King’s Club celebrates the beautiful things in life: combining the joy of live music and famous DJ stars with an elegant, relaxed atmosphere and a tempting list of signature drinks and irresistible urban street food. Open only during the winter season.

Hotel facilities

Palace Wellness

  • Indoor swimming pool with access to heated outdoor pool, Jacuzzi
  • Treatment Centre with ten individual treatment rooms including two luxury Spa
    Suites, private Hair Spa, Pedi Spa, Solarium, one room for facial treatments and four
    rooms for body treatments, Wet Zone/ Palace Spa with two Saunas, Ice Room, Mist
    Room, Aroma Therapy Room, Salt Steam Room, Massage Shower and Rain Shower
  • Fitness Centre with latest fitness and cardio facilities
  • Yoga room
  • Private sun terrace
  • Outdoor tennis courts managed by professional tennis coaches (summer only)
  • Natural outdoor ice-rink with instructor (winter only)
  • Kids’ Club Palazzino with professional day care

Palace Galerie

  • Gallery with designer boutiques and elegant jewellers plus shopping guide: Bulgari,
    Rebecca Ardessi, Church’s, Embassy Jewel AG, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, De Grisogono, Les
    Ambassadeurs, Trois Pommes, Miu Miu, de Nicola, GĂĽbelin, Four Emotions, Santoni, Snow
    Sports St. Moritz, Tom Ford, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Giorgio Armani, Harry Winston, Lucia
    Pieri, Fabio Caviglia and Galerie Gmurzynska

Service Spectrum 

  •  Palace Ski School in winter
  • In-house ski service, shop and rentals in winter
  • Ski pass included
  • Kids’ Club Palazzino‹ with professional day care included
  • Free laundry service for children until 12 years
  • 24-hour Room Service
  • 24-hour Concierge Service
  • Butler service for all rooms and suites
  • Free use of refreshment bar, movie channels, WiFi Internet access in all areas and free
    newspaper
  • Limousine service and car hire, including Rolls Royce transfers
  • Shuttle service to/from Zurich, Milan and Samedan airports on request
  • Free use of all fitness facilities
  • Free access to ice-rink
  • Events & Guest Relations Team
  • In-house fitness trainer
  • In-house bridge hostess
  • Baby sitting service
  • Coiffeur Hair Spa

To sum it all up: Tradition and quality endure. So it says daily in the ads. If the sales arguments are still the same almost 90 years later, it seems like tradition, quality and innovation were actually proven – and the St. Moritz glamour-factor is still there.

xoxo

Trail running Clavadel – Ischalp

“It’s not where you take the trail… It’s where the trail takes you!”

Just breathe

I just had one of these unforgettable runs. It was an early Saturday morning in Davos, Switzerland – foggy, rainy and quiet.

Hence, I just put on my running gear and decided to go for a run. No plans, no special route, I just followed my gut and discovered one of the most magical trails.

From Davos Platz I took the route up to Clavadel and to the Clavadel Alp. The views and the atmosphere were just amazing. From there I took the trail to the Ischalp and went back down to the valley. This run definitely made my top 10 list.

If you are ever in Grisons, Switzerland, you should check it out.

xoxo

photo credits: Munich Mountain Rebel

AMERON Davos: Making Mountain Bike Dreams Come True

(ADVERT)

I spent three days with one of my closest friends and blogger colleague Andrea at the AMERON Davos. We wanted to go mountain biking, simply enjoying the great outdoors and having a magical time together. As it turned out: it was the coolest girls’ trip in a long time.

The best Mountain Bike ride EVER

It was Saturday morning, 4:30 a.m. – I got up pretty early doing some functional training and going for a swim afterwards, getting ready for our mountain bike tour. The AMERON Davos and the Bike Academy Davos kindly reserved two rental bikes for us so that we could explore the magical trails in Davos. I know, in my Instagram story most of you voted for an E-MTB, but guess what, deal with it. In Munich I am training with my sexy hardtail so that I convinced Andrea NOT to take an E-MTB, especially since we are both in pretty good shape right now.

At first the weather wasn’t really promising, it was all foggy, windy and cold. But we did not care and decided to simply roll with it. If it was going to rain, who cares. You can still have the ride of your life – no matter what the weather looks like. AND, as it turned out, a good genie was with us and the sky cleared up, literally having the best mountain bike ride EVER.

We combined different routes: part of the Jakobshorn trail to Teufi and then along the Dischma Valley. Not too difficult so that we only needed to walk or carry our bikes at two sections. Darn, it was so awesome. Andrea and I were high on endorphines and we loved playing with our bikes. We totally digged it and did not care about anyone or anything.

The best part: we went downhill as fast as we could. When it wasn’t fast enough, we hit the pedals and sounded like a little coyote when cheering for each other. The AMERON Davos and the Bike Academy Davos literally made my mountain bike dream come true.

AMERON Davos

I already introduced the AMERON Davos in my Instagram Story, which is featured as a highlight on my profile. The four-star Swiss Mountain Resort made our girls’ mountain bike trip just perfect. As a certified bike hotel, the AMERON is continuously improving their service for all bike enthusiasts. Over a long weekend Andrea and I discovered the diversity of the region on an extensive mountain bike tour and then relaxed in their 850 m2 VITALITY Spa. What more do you need?

Guests benefit from a free use of the bicycle cellar incl. Pro-Tool Station and also have a free ride on all mountain railways incl. free bike transport. If there is anything else you need, they try to make it possible, closely working together with the Bike Academy Davos.

The Accomodation

Andrea and I stayed in a 29 m² premium double room with a south-facing balcony. The room is furnished in a modern, Alpine chic design with natural materials, quality wood and silky materials, creating an atmosphere which makes you feel at home straight away. A selection of different pillows and mattress toppers also ensures you have a great night’s sleep. Rooms start at 150 CHF per night, which is more than fair.

Honestly, there is nothing to complain. We both felt pretty comfortable, loved the natural lighting in the room and slept like little babies.

The Food

With a focus on sports and fitness, the hotel offers a huge variety of healthy food options. But seriously, when you are on a girls’ trip, you have fun – you don’t count calories or talk about the best diet for your current training schedule.

Hence, Andrea and I became a huge fan of the CANTINETTA Lounge & Bar. You can relax in the evening with a wonderful glass of wine or choose from their huge Gin selection, enjoying one or two, or maybe three, Gin Tonics. Their bar menu also has a tempting selection of pasta, pizza and home-made burgers. We went for the home-made pizza and loved it: thin crust, fresh ingredients, on the point. Afterwards, we got to try their new Teranino Rose Cocktail, which was just heavenly. We both fell asleep with a huge smile on our faces.

The Spa

Until this weekend I only stayed in bike hotels that did not have any spa or wellness center. And I admit: I just love to go for a relaxing swim after a tough workout, relaxing in the sauna afterwards. Thus, I am a fan of their 850 m² Vitality Wellness and Spa Centre.

 It can be pretty crowded over the weekend, but after figuring out the perfect time, you can really enjoy the quietness and peacefulness, refueling your energy. Both, sauna and steam bath are excellent, as well as their relax area. An ice cold water pool would be the cherry on the cake, but the crushed ice makes up for it. All in all, Andrea and I really had a magical time over the past three days and we can both recommend this hotel, definitely coming back for our next sports & outdoor adventure. Once again, special thanks to the whole staff for making this possible.

What’s next?

Well, any kind of outdoor sports is dangerous for me, since I get addicted quite easily. After this awesome bike ride on Saturday we went on another little tour on Sunday morning. But since we had to leave in the early afternoon, there just wasn’t enough time. Andrea and I both weren’t ready to drop off our bikes, were riding against the clock.

Man, now being back home in Munich, I am already dreaming of my next bike ride. – On Wednesday I will pick up my pretty little bike from the shop and then taking it for a spin along the Isartrail. But I am honest: I want more. The speed ride downhill in Switzerland was one of the best adrenaline rushes I have had in a long time. I wanna do it again. Also, I would LOVE to bike along a ridge trail, taking in the magic of the mountains.

In October I will be back in Davos, on my private vacation, enjoying a time off – being completely off the grid for a week. No collaborations, no work, no pressure, just enjoying myself. With more than 1300 km of cycle paths – from easy single trails to downhill parks – Davos is a paradise for mountain bikers. Maybe I will just give it a try, riding along a more difficult trail. PROBABLY – if the weather is fine. I am not sure, if I will do it alone or with a guide, I just know: I want more, finding out what I am capable of enjoying mountain biking as a new sport.

Till then, ride on and have the times of your life.

xoxo

photo credits: Munich Mountain Rebel; AMERON Davos

The bikes were provided by the Bike Academy Davos and the AMERON Davos, that hosted us for the weekend. However, thoughts are my own.

Trail Running Tip: LatschĂĽelfurgga – Strelapass – Weissfluhjoch

During my private vacation in Switzerland I focused on my trail running training and simply wanted to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors. Although I have discovered mountain biking as a new sport, which I LOVE, I will always be a runner. Running up steep, high mountains, testing and challenging my personal limits, running farther, higher, faster. This is my biggest drug. I am a running addict!

LatschĂĽelfurgga – Strelapass – Weissfluhjoch

For those of you who are looking for a nice 20k run in alpine terrain, I got this special tip for you. Magical, beautiful and empowering. I started in Davos Platz and ran/hiked up the way to LatschĂĽelfurgga. There were many snow fields up there, which slowed me down, but it was also amazing. Most of the time I was all by myself, wearing a tank top, enjoying the sun, taking in these beautiful surroundings and just running through snow.

Then I took the route to the Strelapass. This time it was a bit too crowded for my taste. Too many hiking tourists so that I ran pretty fast in order to be alone again. But nevertheless, it is always gorgeous.

At the Strelapass I decided to run along the “Felsenweg”, all the way up to the Weissfluhjoch summit. I have seen magical images of the mountain ranges from some mountain bikers and so wanted to see it for myself. I loved the rocky surroundings, it was a bit rougher than the Strelapass, exactly what I needed. The way up to the Parsenn Station and then to the Weissfluhjoch summit is pretty steep. When trails are steep, breathing becomes harder, legs fatigue more quickly, and you tend to feel every painstaking step. Shortening your stride and taking quick steps help maintain efficiency on climbs. Short strides also help keep you in a more upright position, always standing tall – which I did.

WOW – the views up there are heartbreakingly beautiful. I saw the spot where they build the igloo village during winter season and some of the most magical mountain ranges. The Weissfluhjoch summit itself was rather disappointing, since it is a major tourist attraction. My recommendation: don’t take the funicular, hike or run up the summit. It is so much better. The same applies for going down. And if you are lucky, you get to see a group of alpine ibex climbing cliff face.

Up there – just breathe. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath in and out, then opened my eyes and had this huge satisfying smile on my face. All in all, it was a 20k run with an elevation gain of roughly 1,324 m. A magical tour!

xoxo

photo credits: Munich Mountain Rebel

The Sertig waterfall is an insider’s tip for ice climbing & snowshoeing in Graubünden

This hot spot is nothing for the faint-hearted: the Sertig waterfall in the Sertig Valley in Davos. The ideal place for ice climbing and snowshoeing in GraubĂĽnden.

Ice Climbing

Climb a frozen waterfall with ice axe and crampons and explore your own limits: Ice climbing attracts more and more adventurous winter sports enthusiasts. If you want to try this extreme sport yourself, you will find ideal conditions at the waterfall in the Sertigtal valley all winter long.

Carabiners rattle, hooks clink, ice splinters trickle. With one hand you hit an ice axe into the wall and ram the crampon into the ice. A little break. Take a deep breath and carry on. Step by step you climb the cascades of the frozen waterfall, which shimmers in the light in different shades of blue. The last piece of freedom. That’s how an ice climbing adventure in the Sertig valley could feel like. Even if you want to put crampons under your shoes right now: Prepare yourself well first – and take your first steps in the ice together with a mountain guide.

Snowshoeing

For those of you who are not fit enough to climb the waterfall – just like me – explore this magical spot on a snowshoeing tour. You can simply start at the BergfĂĽhrer Restaurant, enjoying the Sertig Valley, walking your way up to the waterfall.

Beware, the last bit to the Sertig waterfall is very steep. It is nothing for the faint-hearted and you need to be fit! Milos and our guide Beat went straight to the top, touching the ice while I did a little detour through deep powder. It was breathtakingly beautiful and simply magical.

However, this tour to the Sertig waterfall is not for beginners! If you are new to snowshoeing, simply stick to the easy valley tour and don’t go up all the way to the waterfall. For health and fitness benefits, snowshoeing is great for you. It provides a cardio workout while also building strength, agility, balance and endurance. The best part is, you get to do it all in the beautiful outdoors!

Mountain Guide

I can recommend the BergfĂĽhrer Davos Klosters as well as the Schweizer Schneesportschule Davos. Whether you wanna do a snowshoeing tour, go skiing or try something adventurous, these folks put your safety first and can make almost anything possible. I especially liked their individually tailored tours that suit your personal interest and fitness level. Special thanks to our guide Beat, who ROCKED!

xoxo

photo credits: Munich Mountain Rebel, Davos Klosters (Marcel Giger)

Be Realistic, Plan a Miracle! – Winter Sports Tips in Switzerland

I hope you all had a wonderful start in 2019! I gotta admit, I am still a bit groggy but grateful and happy, ready for more sports and outdoor adventures, simply enjoying life and the beautiful, great outdoors. For those of you who are planning their winter sports vacation, maybe even for Easter break, I got a few tips for you.

Fatbiking

Whether you go downhill or are up for some cruising with an E-Fatbike, just get out there, have fun and feel inspired for your next trip.

Snowshoeing

Don’t forget to just breathe every once in a while. Find your inner balance, refuel your energy and stay focused on the things that make you happy. You will find all that on a magical snowshoeing tour.

Trail Running

Well, there are times when you simply just wanna blow off steam. Work hard, play hard, get fit and be good to your body. I say: winter trail running is the best training to get fit for summer.

All-inclusive Adventure Package at the AMERON in Davos

For those of you who wanna try some of these winter sports, check out the new “You In” Program by the AMERON Swiss Mountain Resort. Simply choose the adventure package and you are ready to test all sorts of fun activities. And believe me, your inner adrenaline junkie will be thrilled.

For me personally, the AMERON has the perfect package. And no, I don’t get paid for saying this. In fact, I don’t take any money at all. It is my own personal recommendation. Over the past two years, I have tried several hotels, hostels and private accomodations. I myself don’t need a lot of luxury or pampering, but since I travel a lot and work pretty hard, I wanna feel home away from home. For mountain bikers I can truly recommend the Grischa – one of the best hotels for bike enthusiasts. But as I already wrote, I also like a wellness area, since I love to go swimming after a long ride or a tough training, simlpy relaxing afterwards. And I LOVE to unwind in the sauna. Best relaxation EVER.

Especially after my hip injury I make sure to take good care of my soul and body. And that is the reason why the AMERON is my number one choice, together with the Grischa. If you just wanna hit the trails with your bike and need an excellent bike service, then the Grischa would be your place. If you prefer a bigger variety and would like to chill afterwards in a cozy wellness area, I would pick the AMERON. It has it all: different outdoor packages for all sports enthusiasts, wellness, great food and drinks, individual health packages and even some luxury, if you want. Hence, for 2019, I will spend more time at my number one accomodation, focusing on my training.

I for myself will be doing all those winter sport activities I mentioned above, plus some cross-country skiing and mountain biking over the next weeks. Skiing & biking in the Bavarian Alps, snowshoeing in Austria and Switzerland and fatbiking in Canada. So, if you wanna meet me, you know where to find me.

xoxo

photo credits: Munich Mountain Rebel

Accomodation Grischa – DAS Hotel Davos

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(click here for English summary)

Für mein Mountainbike und Trailrunning-Training übernachte ich jeweils im Sporthotel Grischa und muss ehrlich sagen, dass ich das Hotel auch privat großartig finde. Generell brauche ich keinen übertriebenen Luxus, sondern möchte mich einfach nur Zuhause fühlen. Da ich meistens alleine reise, bevorzuge ich gemütliche Einzelzimmer zu einem fairen Preis; sauber und komfortabel. In der Regel ist man allerdings gezwungen, ein Doppelzimmer zur Einzelnutzung zu buchen oder man erhält ein Einzelzimmer, was gerade mal so groß und komfortabel ist wie eine Abstellkammer. Sehr, sehr uncool. Nicht so im Grischa. Da ist wirklich für jeden etwas dabei: für Singles und Alleinreisende, Pärchen und Familien.

Die Zimmer im Grischa

Ich selbst habe jeweils in der Suite Bocktenhorn übernachtet und war rundum zufrieden: extrem geräumig, ein großes Badezimmer mit Dusche und Badewanne, zwei Balkone, ein großer Wohn- und Essbereich und ein schöner Ankleidebereich im Flur. Für eine Person fast schon zu groß, wenn man bedenkt, dass ich die meiste Zeit eh draußen in der Natur verbringe. Von der ersten Minute an habe ich mich wie zu Hause gefühlt.

Vor allem das Bett war großartig. Dadurch, dass ich extrem viel unterwegs bin, ist das für mich ehrlich gesagt mit am wichtigsten. Es gibt nichts Schlimmeres, als verspannt aufzuwachen. Schließlich liebe ich den Outdoor-Sport, um mich eben komplett zu entspannen und abzuschalten. Auch die Kosmetikserie von Rituals war eine Punktlandung. Ich versuche immer mit so wenig Gepäck wie möglich zu reisen, was auch Kosmetik- und Hygieneartikel betrifft. Wenn ich weiß, dass ich im Hotel eine gute Bodylotion habe, mit der ich mich vor dem Schlafengehen einreiben kann, bin ich happy.

Trotzdem habe ich mir während einer Hotelführung auch die anderen Zimmer angeschaut und muss sagen, dass ich wirklich ganz besonders von den Einzelzimmern begeistert bin. Der gleiche Standard und Komfort wie bei den anderen Zimmern und auch nicht zu klein.

Was mir zudem gut gefällt ist, dass jedes Zimmer einen eigenen Touch hat. Im gesamten Hotel findet man außerdem sehr schöne Naturaufnahmen, die der Inhaber selbst fotografiert hat. Das gibt dem Ganzen eine persönliche Note und passt auch richtig gut zu einem Sporthotel.

Kulinarisches

Auch hier erfĂĽllt das Hotel wieder nahezu jeden Wunsch. Ob chinesisch, ausgefallene ShowkĂĽche, gute Hausmannskost oder ein erstklassiges Käsefondue, das Grischa verfĂĽgt ĂĽber fĂĽnf unterschiedliche Restaurants, so dass kaum ein Wunsch offen bleibt. Auch das FrĂĽhstĂĽck kann sich sehen lassen.

Ganz egal, wonach einem ist, ob man es lieber süß oder herzhaft mag, die Küche ist ausgezeichnet. Ich persönlich hab genau zwei Schwächen: Burger und Schokoladenkuchen. Beides auch im Grischa eine exzellente Wahl.

Übrigens ist es ganz angenehm, abends nach einer Biketour draußen auf der Terrasse oder in der Bar zu chillen. Die Atmosphäre hat mir gut gefallen und das Publikum ist wirklich sehr lässig.

Zusammenfassend kann ich sagen, dass es ein sehr gutes Hotel ist. Vom tollen Extra-Service für MTB-Fans hatte ich ja bereits berichtet. Der Wäscheservice, die persönlichen Tourentipps und der Transport-Voucher sind top. Das Einzige, was ich eventuell manchmal vermissen würde, wäre ein hausinternes Schwimmbad, da ich nach einem harten und anstrengenden Lauf gerne etwas Schwimmen gehe, um zu entspannen.

Für zwei Nächte habe ich 360 CHF bezahlt.

xoxo

photo credits: Grischa – Das Hotel Davos

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English Summary: Accomodation Grischa – DAS Hotel Davos

For my mountain biking and trail running training in Switzerland I stayed at hotel Grischa – a very accommodating sports hotel. Since I mostly travel by myself, I always need to book a double room for single occupancy, which is actually quite annoying. But at the Grischa they also offer spacious, comfortable single rooms for active outdoor enthusiasts like me.

Generally, they have different rooms for almost anybody: families, friends, singles, couples, business travelers. I was very surprised by the variety and the unique features of each category. My personal highlight: the sleeping place. Since I travel a lot, I really need a comfortable bed in order to relax and have a good night’s sleep. Let me tell ya: I slept like a baby – no tension in my back, neck or shoulders, extremely cozy. Almost as great as my boxspring bed at home.

Also, I loved the bathrom amenities. Most of the time I love to travel light, leaving loads of stuff at home, including toiletries. Hence, I highly appreciate it when a hotel offers high quality body lotion so that I can have my evening beauty routine. At the Grischa they collaborate with Rituals, which is excellent. Going to bed with smooth, soft skin, smelling good – what else do you need?

Cuisine

You can really spoil yoursel at the Grischa, choosing from five different restaurants. Whether you prefer Italian cuisine in an stylish ambiance, specialties from the grill, seasonal delicacies or authentic Chinese cuisine, they have it all, always offering the best quality. My personal favorite: burger and chocolate cake.  Sorry, but after a long run, I ALWAYS crave either a burger or chocolate cake; cannot help it. – My personal tip: enjoy a sundowner on their terrace after a nice bike ride. You will love it.

All in all, it is an excellent hotel, which I would always book myself, especiall when I take my bike with me to Davos. Thumbs up!

Swissalpine Irontrail 2018

“Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go. So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why. It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time. It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.” (Green Day) – At the Swissalpine Irontrail 2018 I definitely had the time of my life. I initially had different plans, taking along one of my readers, wanting to run a new PR at the Swissalpine H21 in Davos. Well, since I got stood up by my reader Maria on Thursday night, I had to rearrange everything. And as it turned out, it was one of the best experiences ever.

Trail running for beginners

One of my best friends asked her husband to join me on this trail running adventure. RenĂ© spontaneously took off half a day at work and decided to hit the road, meeting me in Davos. I have never run a competition with a friend before. Nor with a friend who is a total newbie, not working out AT ALL. RenĂ© and I were both like: “What the heck – let’s just have a blast together.” We did not think, we did not make any plans. Well, that is not all true. I actually put together a little schedule for the H21, setting a time limit, but screw this.

The H21 is generally a pretty easy, relaxing hike. You start at Davos Platz, hike to the Stafelalp, climb up the Chörbsch Horn, run to the Strelapass and back down to Davos via the Strela Alp and Schatzalp. (21.3km │ +/-1074m)

I would say it normally is a 5-hour hike. I already ran this tour in the end of May, having to take many detours due to loads of ice and snow. Back then it took me over four hours, since most of the trails were still covered with snow and I had no clue where to go, needed to take several detours crossing huge ice fields.

Thus, I actually wanted to run this tour in about 3 hours. Well, screw any plans. In the end, it was so worth it.

And you wanna know why? I took along a very good friend who hasn’t been into any outdoor sports before, who does not train, who does not hike and who does not run. RenĂ© has been playing soccer for many years and is also into Mountain Biking – but only sporadically. Thus, he only has a certain minimal fitness. And running in alpine regions surely is a challenge when you have NEVER ever done it.

1st stage from Davos Platz to the Stafelalp

Boy, I was  so happy that we started during a rain shower on Saturday morning. The day before was just way too hot for me. We took it pretty easy in the beginning till we reached a nice hiking trail in the forest. I tried to give RenĂ© some advice for steeper parts and gave little tips regarding his technique so that he could go easy on his strength.

The summer hiking trail to the Stafelalp is just so incredibly beautiful that I just wanted to run. And guess what: RenĂ© started running as well. That was probably one of the best parts of the whole competition. Seeing my friend running up the mountain, jumping over stones, crossing bridges, smiling and having fun. I will never forget this huge smile on his face. His first steps in trail running. Hence, we reached the first post after 90 minutes getting something to drink. I was so happy! WE were happy!

2nd stage from the Stafelalp to the Chörbsch Horn

I think I call it “RenĂ©’s worst nightmare”. I gotta admit: when you never hike and are not used to alpine regions, the ascent to the Chörbsch Horn can be pretty challenging with its steeper passages. RenĂ© was definitely leaving his comfort zone, wishing it would end. There was one point when I felt really bad and questioned myself. Was I reckless taking him along, was it irresponsible?

We went up very slowly and took many breaks in between. René was definitely going beyond his limit but I made sure it was never too much and that he could manage it. I am pretty sure, during this stage, he probably cursed me several times. Which is totally alright. He can be so proud of himself that he managed it. It took about two hours to reach the Chörbsch Horn, but honestly, time was not of the essence. I wanted René to enjoy it! Then, at the Chörbsch Horn we took another little break, taking some beautiful pictures.

3rd stage from the Chörbsch Horn to the Strelapass

This is actually my favorite route, totally loving the trails. I just needed to run, wanted to jump, to play, to have fun. Thus, I just went and ran for a while. Only for a little bit ’cause I wanted to finish the race together with my friend. But for those of you who run, you will LOVE it. It’s playful, very easy, with breathtakingly beautiful views. When you are in Davos, make sure to try it.

RenĂ© was at his lowest point and I knew that if he was giving in now, he would not make it. This was the only time I pushed him, helped him to get out of this runner’s low. I mean, every runner knows this feeling. You have two choices: either give in and give up or overcome it, gain new energy and finish it. I looked at him and he told me he wanted to finish it. He maintained good circulation, his muscles weren’t shaking. Thus, I gave him an energy bar and pushed him just a little bit till we reached the Strelapass. It was good!

Last stage from the Strelapass back to Davos, via the Schatzalp

At the Strelapass we took a longer break. Seriously, picture this: someone who is neither a runner nor a hiker, not used to alpine terrain, just did this tour, left his own comfort zone and took out all his strength. Everyone should cheer for him – I am so darn proud of him. And between us, he was actually fitter than he gave himself credit for.

The last 5k back down were tough, though. René had to undergo several knee surgeries in his past so that the steeper descent from the Strelapass was pretty challenging. But he is a quick learner, using the right technique going back down. I could tell that he had just one goal: reaching the finish line, wanting it to end soon. I could feel his pain.

Before reaching the finish line, he took out all the power and strength he had left and just ran. Together we freaking ran through the cheering crowd and finished it together. He did it! Finish time: 6:49. For those of you who now want to judge it: don’t you dare! For me, it was one of the best running events ever. Participating in the Swissalpine Irontrail 2018 with a good friend. A friend who has never done something like this but was eager to try it because he is friends with a crazy outdoor girl like me. RenĂ© freaking rocked and he can be so proud, showing the medal to his wife and daughters back home!

So, as you can see: no matter how old or how fit you are, just get out there, enjoy the great outdoors, walking, hiking, running or biking the trails. Just have fun! René is living proof how much fun it can be leaving your comfort zone, enjoying mother nature. Running the Swissalpine Irontrail 2018 with a friend was much better than doing it by myself, wanting to run a new PR.

Special thanks to Tina and RenĂ© for being such awesome friends. It’s the little things in life that matter – my friends are my family! Hence, I spontaneously went on a little road trip with RenĂ© back home to Munich, instead of staying in Davos. Tina and RenĂ©: You are one of those people who make my life better just by being in it. Love you!

xoxo

photo credits: Munich Mountain Rebel