Untracked celebrates the places you may, or may not, be aware of. The places where snow falls in abundance and crowds are rare. Want to ride pow? Here’s where to go.
Maloja is the quintessential alpine one lift winder. Just a single button lift extends up into the mountains at the far end of the Engadine Valley. The piste map might look small but when you’re the only people on the mountain, there’s terrain for days, and plenty more for anyone with touring gear.
Tucked away in the furthest reaches of the Engadine, just as the road starts climbing over the Maloja Pass, lies the small village of Maloja itself. Although the mega resort of St Moritz is just a few miles away, Maloja maintains a traditional Swiss vibe with old buildings nestled on quiet streets beneath huge mountains.
The Alps are full of small one or two lift villages like Maloja. The secret is to know what each spot offers and go there when the weather patterns align. Lapping what feels like your own personal lift on a stormy powder day, cut off from the rest of the world, has to be right up there with the best riding experiences you can have.
Maloja is in a perfect position to score massive snow when the jetstream comes from the south. The Swiss Engadine is located just to the south of the main alpine ridge. It’s surrounded by very high mountains and is in a perfect position to make the most of a sudstau. Maloja lies at a relatively high altitude of 1800m, so rain is rare, and the tree line is high so there’s plenty of shelter.
During periods when the wind is from the north it can be very cold and mainly dry in this part of the Alps. If that’s the case, drive north to Davos or the Arlberg and save Maloja for another day. But when it’s dumping from the south, Maloja is prime.
Although there are a multitude of similar spots throughout the Alps, Maloja just stands out as a real gem in my mind. It proves that even in the most developed mountain range in the world there are still some secrets left for riders looking for a little untracked solitude.
Yep, the final few minutes of mega stoke from this episode of Nipple Deep is Maloja.