In the winter of 2014/2015 St. Moritz, the Engadin and Switzerland will be celebrating 150 years of winter tourism. And as the birthplace of winter tourism St Moritz is set to take centre stage.
In autumn 1864, Johannes Badrutt made an offer to his last remaining English summer guests. Winter in the Engadin, he told them, was full of sunshine and much more pleasant than winter in England. He invited them to stay at his hotel to experience it themselves; if they were not satisfied, he would also pay their travel expenses.
The only winter weather the Englishmen were familiar with was England’s cold and damp winters, so even with the best will in the world they could not imagine that it could be any different in the Swiss Alps. Nonetheless they turned up in the Upper Engadin in time for the Christmas season – and stayed right through until after Easter, leaving nicely tanned, rested and happy. They became the first winter tourists of the Alps and discovered a new world: winter holidays in the snow. And winter tourism in the Alps was here to stay