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Jungfrau, Switzerland (2015 March 16-20)

post #1 of 2
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I participated in the NASA Goddard Ski Club (http://gewa.gsfc.nasa.gov/clubs/ski/) trip to Interlaken and the Jungfrau area of Switzerland in March 2015.

 

Arrival/departure: Flights were to and from Zurich airport, with connection to Interlaken via a chartered bus. It is also possible to take a train, changing in Bern or Luzern, for $50-100. Interlaken is a medium-size town in the valley between two lakes (hence the name).

 

Interlaken, Switzerland (2015-03-15)

 

 

Lodging: We stayed at the City Hotel Oberland in Interlaken. It was pleasant, comfortable, well-situated in the town, and the personnel were friendly. A copious breakfast was offered daily. Our group package also included dinner in one of the two adjoining restaurants on most of the evenings; you could either choose the menu of the day or get a credit for à la carte ordering. Rooms had bathrooms with tubs, but there was not a hot tub on site (that lack is typical for Europe). If I were to go back (a distinct possibility) I would probably stay in Grindelwald or Wengen because they are smaller villages closer to the skiing.

 

City Hotel Oberland, Interlaken (2015-03-15)

 

Ground transportation: Getting to the slopes required taking either the ski bus, or a combination of public bus+train. Buses stopped very close to the hotel. The ski bus runs once in the morning and once in the afternoon and was very convenient. We typically used it, but it cuts some time off your ski day. You can take the train either to the base of the gondola, or all the way up to Kleine Scheidegg -- very strange to see a train station at a ski area!

 

Train station at Kleine Scheidegg

 

Ski areas: There are three areas: Grindelwald/First, Männlichen/Kleine Scheidegg, and Schilthorn, shown from left to right on the map below:

 

Jungfrau ski area map

 

Grindelwald/First was the easiest, and I only skied it once, on the first day. Männlichen was the largest and had a very good variety of terrain, and I mostly skied there. Both of these were directly serviced by the ski bus. Schilthorn had the most challenging runs, including the famous James Bond ski chase run from On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). I only skied there once but would have returned if the snow had been better.

 

View from top of Eigernordwand ski lift at Männlichen (2015-03-17).

 

The villain Blofeld's lair in James Bond film "From Russia with Love" (1969), now Piz Gloria restaurant, Schilthorn. The ski chase run (#10 "Schilthorn") is below. (2015-03-18).

 

Patrollers on James Bond ski chase run from Piz Gloria at Schilthorn (2015-03-18).

 

Snow conditions: We were there somewhat late in the season. There had not been fresh snow for about 3 weeks. Conditions were typically very firm in the morning and higher up, and became spring-like by the end of the day. Männlichen had a vast amount of near-piste and off-piste terrain, some of which I skied and all of which would have been epic on a powder day, but it tended to be refrozen tracks so it was not ideal. The pistes were groomed nightly. There were very few mogul runs, though I found a couple at Männlichen. I skied Monday-Friday, but skipped Saturday because it was raining in town with white-out conditions and minimal snowfall up top.

 

Scenery: The views were spectacular! Skiing at Männlichen is directly beneath the north face of the Eiger. From Schilthorn you can see the summits of Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau arrayed before you.

 

Après-ski terrace below the Eigernordwand (2015-03-20).

 

The Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau from Birg, Schilthorn (2015-03-18).

 

Other activities: I took 3 hours on Friday to take the train from Kleine Scheidegg all the way up to Jungfraujoch and the Sphinx Observatory. Some people took a day to ski Zermatt, which was 2-3 hours away by train. There were a number of non-skiers in the group who did other tourism. 

Panorama from Jungfraujoch (2015-03-20).

 

More photos: 

 https://picasaweb.google.com/107367095129429339936/201503InterlakenAndJungfrau?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMK9x8yt34DbAg&feat=directlink

post #2 of 2
Thanks for the report and the pictures. I spent two nights in Murren in July and have been scheming to get back ever since. I have a hard time imagining anywhere more idyllic and hope to put together a ski trip someday.
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