A few miles from St Moritz, Pontresina is a small, elegant village with the best access for Diovalezza and Lagalb, 20 minutes away by train or bus. It is also very close to some of the best cross country skiing in Switzerland. Although the accommodation is largely upmarket, there is a good hostel conveniently located next to the railway station. Diavolezza enjoys a long season, often from October until May, but Diovalezza also often shuts for a couple of weeks or so from late November. During this period Lagalb will usually be open, but if you set your heart on doing the Diavolezza glacier do check the lift is operating before you go.
The train that runs between Pontresina and the nearby pistes is the Bernina Express. Further along the line on its way to Tirano in Italy it makes the highest rail crossing of the Alps on one of the steepest railways in the world which doesn't use a cogwheel track.
Sky and Rail
The nearest airport to Pontresina is Zurich. There is a railway station in the airport.
Best of the Slopes at Pontresina
Diovalezza base station is high, so it provides good long runs in both early and late season. Round the back of Diovalezza is the 10 km glacier descent to Morteratsch along a marked trail. Lagalb is a good area for free-riding.
Where to Eat and Party in Pontresina
Pontresina is not the place for a lively nightlife and, being away from the pistes, does not have a real après ski ambience. The hotel bars are generally stylish and the Pitschna Scena is as good a place as any for a bar atmosphere and pub grub. More upmarket is the Gourmet Restaurant Kronenstubli (+41 81 830 30 30) and I also like the Hotel Restaurant Saratz (+41 81 839 40 00).
Getting to Pontresina by Train
The best destination to access the downhill slopes by public transport in this ski area is Bernina Diavolezza or Bernina Lagalb. Stations adjacent to cable cars at both areas. Bus also between base stations and from St Moritz, Pontresina and Celerina.