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February Weekend: Engelberg or Andermatt?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm back from my yearly summer vacation to the US, the air is crisp with fall, so of course it's time to start planning for the winter. Due to a job that unfortunately does not lend itself well to my skiing habit, I'm limited to two weeks over Christmas and New Years (already long ago booked), the first weekend in February, and the four day Easter weekend. I've seen flights listed to Zürich on Air Berlin for €60 for that February weekend, so it's time to book while the booking's good!

Because this will necessitate an evening departure from Berlin after work on Friday and a morning return on Monday to get me back in the office, I can't venture too far from Zürich. The train time tables being what they are (I don't want to rent a car), the choices appear to be Engelberg or Andermatt. I suppose if I did a little more research I might find it possible to include Lenzerheide, Klosters and even Wengen/Murren on that list, but somehow I don't feel like expanding it out that far.

So, I know Engelberg pretty well and know how to do it reasonably cheaply. I have not been to Andermatt, but everything I've heard about the place tells me I'd like it. Can Andermatt be done cheaply, and if so what are the tips (where to eat/sleep/drink)?

I like off-piste, but nothing that will require me to spend any time off the ground (while skiing I mean; riding lifts is fine). I will be taking my first avalanche course over Christmas, so I will have some basic safety knowledge and hopefully know how to use the equipment.

So which should it be?

EDIT: Having just consulted the Swiss railways website, Klosters and Lenzerheide are every bit as possible as Andermatt and Engelberg. Seeing as my cross-country skiing girlfriend will be with me, I should probably consider those options more fully. Also bear in mind that these will likely also be the choices in the running for our Easter trip, although the train connections to Andermatt make it easier to do in February for reasons I don't need to get in to right now.
Edited by ami in berlin - 9/25/09 at 8:14am
post #2 of 17
My vote goes to Andermatt, but not for any real rational reason. It just seems like a more "underground" type of place for locals (my type of place) than a place where loads of foreign tourists go, but you definitely want more informed opinions than mine.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post

My vote goes to Andermatt, but not for any real rational reason. It just seems like a more "underground" type of place for locals (my type of place) than a place where loads of foreign tourists go, but you definitely want more informed opinions than mine.




 

I thnk we have the same tendencies, then. I'm leaning towards Andermatt for the same reason. But then I first went to Engelberg also for the same reason and fell in love with the place.

From my initial search, hotels look to be a lot more expensive than I expected in Andermatt. The Hotel Bellevue in Engelberg is such a great value for the location. Is there anything similar in Andermatt that I'm missing?
post #4 of 17
I've been to both, and they're both awesome mountains. But Andermatt is one of my favorites all around.
post #5 of 17
On venere.com I found the Hotel Badus offering double rooms from 150 CHF with online booking and the phone numbers of several other hotels without online booking.

Just do a search for Andermatt without any dates listed to get the whole list.

That's the best I've seen so far, but I haven't done much digging since I'm not sure if I'll be going there this winter.
Edited by CerebralVortex - 9/28/09 at 5:35am
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post

On venere.com I found the Hotel Badus offering double rooms from 150 CHF with online booking and the phone numbers of several other hotels without online booking.

Just do a search for Andermatt without any dates listed to get the whole list.

That's the best I've seen so far, but I haven't done much digging since I'm not sure if I'll be going there this winter.



 

From the tourism website, the online booking tool is giving me options that are more expensive that what I want to pay, but they also have a list of B&Bs and private rooms that look much more reasonable. Looks like I'll just have to get on the phone.

I have a feeling Andermatt is going to end up costing me more than Engelberg, but I like the looks of it, so I think I'll check it out.

Any insider tips are of course appreciated.
post #7 of 17
btw, skiing in italy would cost less...
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

btw, skiing in italy would cost less...
 

Not with flights to Zürich only costing €65 return and with a half-fare Swiss rail card.

I'd love to ski Italy sometime. I've still never been there despite having been close enough to peer across into the country a couple times.

But for a weekend trip from Berlin, the only options are to fly after work are to Munich, Salzburg or Zürich.

I'm finding B&B rooms in Andermatt listed under 100 CHF for a double, so it's looking easily doable.
post #9 of 17
Let us know when you decide, who knows...
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Decision has been made, trip has been booked!

I got a double room with breakfast in Andermatt for 100 CHF per night, reserved from Friday 5 Feb to Monday 8 Feb.

I'm thinking we'll probably do Engelberg for Easter.

Now if it could just start to snow ...
post #11 of 17
The only bad things with Andermatt is that its heavily crowded during weekends but you can always take the train to Disentis.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
BUMP!

Only a few weeks away from heading to Andermatt.

Anyone have any tips? Cheap food and a decent place to drink at the end of the day is especially appreciated.

My Avi course in Disentis was cancelled, as I was the only person who signed up for it, so I will be limiting myself to on-/next to-piste skiing. I'll only have two days skiing. Is there any point in going to the sectors other than Gemstock? From the looks of the map there doesn't appear to be, but you never know.
post #13 of 17
 Andermatt on piste is really small. Gemsstock gives wonderfull runs, which you won't mind repeating.  Not many places where you can ski 1600m down in one run!  And there are more options to take in one run.  At the other side of the village is Naetschen, which is more used by families as it is easier skiing. Might be good sometimes when Gemsstock is in the clouds.  Hospental is not very interesting (small). It is easy to take the train to sedrun or Disentis (beautiful ride too!)

As for the food: It's been a while since I've been there, but on both Gemsstock and Naetschen there is only the Mid station restaurant (nothing special).  In the village there is a good restaurant in Aurora (right next to Gemsstock lift). Mid village there is 3koenige &post (expensive but good) and across from 3koenige there is a new restaurant which looked good. Next to 3koenige there is Spycher which is (when I was there) the local hang out. Bergidyll is a cheaper hotel and restuarant (old fashioned). 

Overall Andermatt is never cheap, and a small ski area.  It is nothing like Engelberg which is much bigger.  But somehow (and the powder possibilties help) it is also one of my favorites. (maybe get a guide for offpiste... a shame not to do that there!)
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks Aimee.

As a friend of mine who lived in Lausanne for two years liked to say "Nobody goes to Switzerland to save money". I may find myself between jobs here soon, so I should exercise some caution. I'd of course love to get a guide for off-piste, but I'm not sure that's going to work out this time.

I'll definately check out Spycher and Bergidyll. I'm usually wary of mid-station restaurants, so maybe popping down to the Aurora is an option.

I was in Disentis exactly two weeks ago. Fantastic little ski area! And a powder day at that. I arrived from the other direction, so I missed out on the train ride, though.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ami in berlin View Post

Not with flights to Zürich only costing €65 return and with a half-fare Swiss rail card.

I'd love to ski Italy sometime. I've still never been there despite having been close enough to peer across into the country a couple times.

But for a weekend trip from Berlin, the only options are to fly after work are to Munich, Salzburg or Zürich.
 
Have you looked into low-cost flights to Bergamo (BGY, may also be referred to as "Milano Orio al Serio") or Turin Caselle, or
Verona (don't remember the exact name)?
Also Linate and Malpensa (both Milan Airports)
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

Back from a successful weekend in Andermatt. Arrived to snow Friday night; Saturday was a mix of sun and clouds; and Sunday was snow, fog, and at times white-out conditions.

 

With my job situation somewhat up in the air, there was no money for guides and pretty much everything was kept to a tight budget. To that end, Swiss Rail offers a "Snow&Rail" special that worked out costing a total of CHF 105 for a two day ski pass and train to and from Zürich Airport. Fantastic deal. Spycher was the location of pretty much all eating and drinking. Fair prices and a good atmosphere.

 

I felt there was enough skiing to keep me busy without a guide for two days. Any longer would have been pushing it. Pretty much skied the yellow marked route on the map off Gemstock the whole time. Saturday was fairly crowded, normally had to wait one or two trams to get up each run. Sunday was great, as the visibility at the middle station was about 10 meters all day, but after about 1:00 the sky cleared up just above that point, and the sun came out around 2:30. The result is that most everyone sat in the bar at the middle station of rode the tram down early thinking it was a white-out all over the mountain. This meant fresh snow all to myself until the lifts stopped running, and about 10 people in each tram up. Fantastic.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for your advice here.

post #17 of 17
Murren and ski the Shilthorn it is incredibly beautiful there.
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