The Maloja snake

 

Anyone up and about early on an autumn morning in the Engadin has a good chance of encountering the thick, white “Maloja snake” as it winds its way along the mountainsides. This notorious weather phenomenon comes about when warm air rises up the slopes of the Maloja Pass and is transformed into mist or cloud. These clouds are particularly low-lying, and only evaporate in lower valley regions as the air becomes warmer.

Another typical weather phenomenon of the Engadin appears with the precision of a Swiss watch: the Maloja Wind, a steady breeze prized among windsurfers, sailors and kitesurfers. It is also a source of fascination to meteorologists, for whom it is a “reverse wind” or “daytime night wind”: in contrast to other mountain valley winds that blow up the valley by day, the Maloja wind blows down the valley.