Skiing with kids in Switzerland: Scuol
We have been visiting Scuol in Unterengadin for many years (even before kids), but it wasn’t until Baby Z was born and I took her to Singapore instead of ski week did the rest of the family decide to try it out for the kids’ ski week. This year, with little Z old enough to ski herself, the 5 of us packed up and headed through the Vereina Tunnel and I got to see what the rest of the family has been raving about. As hubby says, everything just works so well.
WHAT’S THE SKI AREA LIKE?
The ski resort above Scuol combines with the neighbouring villages of Sent and Ftan to create 70km of pistes. It is best accessed from Scuol with the gondola, which is conveniently located next to the Scuol train station. The gondola will whisk you up to Motta Naluns, where you then connect to the chairlift. Motta Naluns is where you will also find the kids ski area, two restaurants, as well as the start of various winter walking paths. Being situated on the south-facing part of the mountain, you can enjoy sunshine all day long.
For families with little kids you will be happy to know the area has childcare right at the top of Motta Naluns - opened from 9.30 to 16.00. Great for kids who are too tired to ski in the afternoon or for those who have yet to start skiing. If you visit in high seasons make sure to reserve a spot: 081 861 1439.
WHAT ABILITY DOES THE AREA CATER TO?
This is a family friendly ski area. Beginners start in Snowly’s village with its 3 magic carpets and then quickly progress up to the blue and red runs that are accessed with chairlifts. There are also a couple more difficult runs for those looking for a challenge. While there are a couple of t-bars, you’ll mostly find chairlifts.
Hubby and the Teen in particularly loved the “Traumpiste” or “Dream Piste” a red run which takes about 20 minutes to travel down from Salavina at 2710m to Sent at 1430m. They then took the ski taxi for 5chf back to Scuol to do it all over again after lunch.
IS THERE A SKI SCHOOL? WHAT FACILITIES ARE THERE FOR BEGINNERS?
Beginners start the the nursery slopes just down from the top of the Gondola at Motta Naluns. Little Z who joined the ski school for the first time headed into Snowly’s Village on Monday with its mini magic carpet and moved into the beginning area already by Tuesday with its two more longer magic carpets. By Thursday she was heading up with the chairlift to have a go at her first blue run.
The Boy, who was trying out snowboarding for the first time met his class just above the gondola at Motta Naluns (walking up is a good warm up I am told) and also used the beginning areas before heading up on the chairlift once they could confidently make turns.
The ski school is very well organised, although it may look like a bit of chaos on the Monday of each ski week. Once your teacher is allocated you meet them at their sign each day. We chose to use the Swiss Ski School Scuol/Ftan, but Element also has a good school that The Boy has used before on a previous visit.
BEST PLACE TO RENT EQUIPMENT?
Rent your equipment right at the valley Gondola station at Sport Heinrich. They have plenty of gear so no need to reserve ahead of time. When The Boy’s snow boots were giving him problems midweek they happily swapped out the boots - great customer service. They also rent helmets for those who forget theirs back home.
Tip: If you don’t want to lug your equipment back to your accomodation each day, Sport Heinrich rents ski storage facilities starting from 5chf per day. It was soooo nice not to have to lug everything back with us on the bus and the family enjoyed putting on their warm ski boots each morning.
ANYTHING FOR THE NON-SKIER TO DO?
There is plenty in Scuol and the Unterengadin region for the non-skier. Being (mostly) a non-skier this season I can highly recommend Scuol for families who are looking for a ski-resort that caters to everyone, skiers and non-skiers alike.
Take a tour of Scuol and learn about the Engadin houses, hop on the train and visit Guarda, enjoy a swim in the thermal spring waters, take one of the many hiking paths, or just sit up on a restaurant terrace and enjoy the view and sunshine! With Scuol having a train station, exploring the Engadin region is as simple as deciding where to go.
For more things to do in Scuol in winter watch for a post coming next week.
BEST PLACES TO WARM UP FROM THE SLOPES?
We split our weekday lunches between the self-self-service La Charpenna and the table service restaurant Restaurant Motta.
Restaurant La Motta takes reservations and they book up quickly for the popular 11.45am time slot. You will find a variety of local dishes such as Capuns as well as the standard mountain fare.
The self service La Charpenna has soups, pasta and salad bars, the standard fried food as well as a changing daily special. On the days we ate here there was already a line at 11.45 am but it moves fast enough.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET THERE?
Scuol is in the Engadin region of Switzerland which in winter is accessed best by taking the Vereina Car Train. This ingenious train cuts your journey by ferrying your car through the mountain from just past Klosters. The car train can get VERY busy on weekends and on school holidays, so if you want to avoid a very long wait, our advice is to get there early. We arrived at 9 am and had a 30 minute wait, and those just behind us had a 1-hour wait, but we have been known to wait more than 2.5 hours.
You could forget the car altogether though and catch the train, around a 2.5 hour journey from Zurich via Landquart. The train station is right next to the gondola where you can store your skis, and then you can take the free Sports Bus to your accommodation.
Everything just works so well for us in Scuol: the ski bus takes us easily to the gondola to where our skis are stored. The ski school is very friendly and well organized. There isn’t much we have to complain about, we just wish it was closer to home so we could visit for a weekend. We’ve booked for next year already!