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TR Engelberg, CH: 2-3 March 2007

post #1 of 2
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Pictures here:


A 7:15 PM flight from Berlin and excellent train connections had me at my hotel in Engelberg at 11:30. Not bad for a weekend trip. The 6:45 train departure on Monday had me back in the office by 1:00 in the afternoon.

Saturday was awful weather. Heavy rain in the village. Heavy snow up top, but with 80 kph winds. Freezing rain in between. The lifts started running late at 9:00, but only one run was really open, and visibility was close to nil. Not to mentioned getting banged around by the wind. I skied until 10.30 and decided to go have lunch in the village and look around a little.

Nice village. Small and pretty quiet, but nice. Beautiful scenery when you can actually see something. Food was quite pricy, but actually I felt everything else was reasonable (lodging, lift passes, rental, drinks).

At 1:00 I headed back up the mountain, and for about 90 minutes the weather lifted enough to allow for some decent skiing, although they stayed with only one main run open. Enough people had gone home, though, that it wasn’t too crowded. Weather closed in quickly again at the end of the day, and the last couple runs were pretty hairy with the fading light and clouds making it more or less impossible to pick out the contours of the snow.

Sunday made up for the poor weather on Saturday in a big way. The most new snow of the winter according to the locals, not a cloud in the sky, and warm to boot. Just perfect. Of course this meant half of Zurich and Luzern was on the mountain, too, but lift mobs (I refuse to call them lines, as nobody lines up) were manageable thanks to the singles lines. Despite the relatively narrow pistes, it wasn’t that bad for some reason. I’m really not sure why, to be honest. I did, however, have a snowboarder wiz by me and stop about 2 meters ahead of me (He never saw me) on a narrow track. All I could do was sit down and take him out like a base runner breaking up a double play. Jerk.

I didn’t have the coin to spring on an off-piste guide (and don’t have the experience to venture there myself), so I cannot comment on what is clearly Engelberg’s main selling point. It’s odd, because you see all this great terrain, and you see a fair number of people skiing it, and it is all within what you would consider the ski area. If this were in North America, there would be roughly 20 more lifts built to serve all that area.

Despite not being able to indulge in the off-piste, I do give the resort credit for not grooming their pistes into submission, either. There were some great ungroomed bump runs with loads of fresh powder, and the first two hours of skiing before the hordes arrived around 10:00 were truly great.

All in all, a great little resort. Not doing any off-piste seemed a little like a waste of the resorts potential, but there was still some really good stuff. I absolutely would never take a beginner there (there is nothing for them to do), but for the intermediate with higher aspirations like myself, it is very good. I can also honestly say that I have never seen so many excellent skiers, and so few poor ones, in my life.

I’m not sure if there is a better, easier destination for a short weekend break to the Alps. I shall return.
post #2 of 2
The pictures of the area look scenic and like a fun area to explore. We dont get a lot of trip reports from Europe, and it looks like the snow was pretty good for you. Thanks for the report.

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