Charming and pretty quiet village located in a narrow valley with minimal traffic. You can take an opportunity to experience the endless pistes of the Silvretta Arena in Samnaun / Ischgl, which is considered to be the largest ski resort area in the Eastern Alps.
Except the wonderful nature, Samnaun is the only duty-free area in a whole Switzerland and probably the highest shopping street of Europe. This resort is more quiet than its Austrian neighbor. It’s perfect place for family holidays. However party, concerts and night life fans will find something for themselves.
But what else can Samnaun offer for its guests? We are really interested in getting acquainted with it closer. We asked about Samnaun the person, who knows Samnaun as own five fingers – Bernhard Aeschbacher, Head Engadin Samnaun.
– Bernhard, as a representative of Samnaun, could you tell us a little about its location and history of the resort, its natural peculiarities?
Samnaun is the lowest side valley of the Engadin in Switzerland. The ski area is linked with world famous Ischgl (Austria). Samnaun is the only duty-free area in Switzerland. Samnaun is worth visiting in summer and winter. In summer time there are many hike or bike-tours. There is a unique variety with more than 900 different plants in the Samnaun valley and a lot of animals such as marmots, chamoises, capricorns and eagles.
– What is the reason of being Samnaun as the exclusive duty-free zone in Switzerland?
The resort became duty-free because the valley was only accessible via Austria. There was no street to the Engadin in Switzerland. Because of this, people in Samnaun speak a Tiroler dialect.
Samnaun – a unique duty-free zone in Switzerland
– Is the glamorous Austrian ski resort Ischgl your partner or rival? How are you getting along with such a famous neighbor?
Ischgl is definitely our partner. We profit from one of the best skiing areas in the Alps, the Silvretta Arena. Our guests like also the open air concerts in the skiing area, there are three great concerts in spring. In the same time, Samnaun is probably a bit cozier than Ischgl, which is very popular for its aprÈs-ski.
– What are the peculiarities of skiing at the resort?
The resort disposes 238 km of slopes. It has 45 transport facilities, mostly modern chairlifts and gondolas. There is the «Twinliner», which is the world’s first double-decker cablecar with a capacity of 180 persons. In the large area there is a variety of all kind of slopes, blue, red and black as well as freeride areas.
TWINLINER chairlift. Photo by Andrea Badrutt
– You mentioned Samnaun had freeride areas. What’s interesting can find both freeriders and snowboarders at the resort?
There is a large snowpark at the Idalp for snowboarders or freestylers. There are 3 areas for beginners and professionals in it.
– Are there general or off-piste skiing areas?
The Piz Val Gronda-gondola opened in 2013 is designed exclusively for off-piste skiing.
– How large and modern are accommodation facilities? And what does the resort mainly offer: residence and/or chalet accommodation?
Samnaun has a capacity of 2600 guest beds, half of them in 30 hotels and pensions, half in about 100 self-catering apartments.
– Could you tell the most popular ones?
Everything depends on the guests’ wishes. All hotels have a familiar atmosphere in the 3 or 4 star categories. The Chasa Montana is our recommended wellness-hotel. Another specialty in Samnaun is the Hotel Homann in Ravaisch with an outstanding gourmet restaurant. The Sport– und Wellnesshotel Post is a family-owned 4 star hotel with a great hospitality.
The Chasa Montana Hotel
– What does the resort offer for young people?
Sportive young people will adore the skiing area. There are also several bars and huts for the aprÈs-ski in the skiing area as well as in the village. In the Silvretta Arena several concerts and events take place, especially in spring.
– You said the resort was also for families? What does it offer for them?
For the beginners there is the Musella-hill with a lovely ski kindergarten called «winter-flower-dream». Children learn skiing or snowboarding close to the village. The fairy tale-walk is opened all year.
– We know The Night Skishow at Musella-Hill is unforgettable. And, we think, is one of the vivid impressions of evening activities at the resort. What basic skills and new trends can your ski schools teach children and adults in the daytime on slopes?
The Night Skishow will again take place every Monday from January to March 2016, the atmosphere at the show is impressive indeed, when the ski instructors show their abilities. Our ski instructors always ensure to meet everyone’s skills and to improve at the individual level. Groups are small and the mentoring familial. The goal is for children and adults to have a feeling of success, so that skiing or snowboarding is a lot of fun.
– How long does the ski season last? Is the weather stable?
The season starts on 26th November and lasts till May 1st. The weather is stable usually.
– What popular social and sports events, festivals are held at the resort?
On November 28th there is the «ClauWau», which is the world’s championship of Santa Clauses from all around the world. The candidates must demonstrate their skills. In the evening there is the final with an open-air concert in Samnaun Dorf. The Top of the Mountain Easter Concert is on March 28th on the Idalp. Later in spring, on April 24th there is the Spring Snow Festival on the Alp Trida with another open-air concert as well as the 2nd European Championship of Synchro-Skiing. The winter season ends with the Top of the Mountain Concert on April 30th on the Idalp.
«ClauWau» – championship of Santa Clauses from all over the world
– Where do u guests usually come from?
Our guests come from Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Netherlands of France.
– What is the fastest the best way to reach the resort from main airports and railway stations?
It is a 3 hour ride by car from Zurich or Munich Airport to Samnaun. The closest railway stations are Scuol-Tarasp (public bus transfers every hour) an Landeck (Austria).
– What can you say about aprÈs-ski facilities?
There are different bars, including the Almrausch in Samnaun-Laret, the Schmuggleralm in Samnaun Dorf.
– During the last visit of our Managing Director, he noted a fact that the resort is pretty lively in the daytime, but not everybody is skiing. But not with less enthusiasm the guests of the resort and those, who descended from Ischgl are doing the shopping. Tell us, please, a little about Duty Free zone, which is considered to be a unique advantage of your resort?
Samnaun is the only duty-free area in Switzerland at 1800m altitude. There are more than 50 shops, where you can buy top brands, for example perfumes, watches, jewelry and alcohol at attractive prices. It’s probably unique to have such a great selection of top-brands on a small scale as in Samnaun.
Top brands at attractive prices only in Samnaun
– What innovations and surprises can be expected from lift stations?
The Pardatschgratbahn is new since 2014. The cablecar brings skiers from Ischgl to the Pardatschgrat in only 9 minutes.
– And the last question concerning ski passes. Does the resort have special offers of ski-pass purchase for different categories of tourists?
The guests of Samnaun get the reduced VIP-lift pass. Children until 7 years are free. There are reductions for children 8-16 years and seniors from 60 years. In November and December as well as in April there are special offers with reduced lift pass prices.
Silvretta Arena slopes map
Интервью подготовила Виктория Щербина – менеджер горнолыжного портала skitours.com.ua