The range of ski resorts offering opportunity for weekend skiing is vast, but some are more equipped than others to enable you to make the most out of the weekend. Our Marketing Manager ventured to Engelberg in 2012 to experience the reasons why it’s considered one of the best resorts for a quick weekend away in the mountains.
Engelberg benefits from being part of the super-efficient train network in the Swiss Alps, which means your transfer from airport to resort is almost seamless. Anne flew into Zurich from Gatwick and jumped straight on the train to the mountains. After one quick change from the mainline to the mountain railway (complete with ski racks) in Lucerne, the group pulled into the centre of Engelberg. A total transfer time of 2.5 hours. The station is a short walk to most hotels, manageable even when carrying ski equipment.
Overlooked by the imposing Mt Titlis (3,238m), Engelberg is a classic Swiss mountain town. Clean, smart and up-market, there are old Victorian buildings now interlinked with more chalet-style blocks giving it a traditional feel with an air of the contemporary. Getting around is easy on foot, but there are also free shuttle busses to and from the ski area (about 5 minutes up the road). There are plenty of bars and restaurants for the evening’s entertainments, and there is plenty of too. One of Anne’s favourite spots was a Tex-Mex restaurant and bar called Yucatan, but for the traditionalists there are also plenty of options for a classic Swiss fondue! As you’d expect, dancing on the tables in ski boots is a common theme at the height of an après ski evening.
Things To Do
If you’re in the mountains for a well-rounded excursion and fancy doing something other than taking advantage of the above-average snow conditions in Engelberg, you could do far worse than taking a trip up the famous rotating cable car and experiencing the breath-taking panoramic views of the Urner Alps. There’s also a leisure centre in town with some good facilities such as a swimming pool, sauna and climbing wall. If culture and history is your thing, you can tour the (still working) Benedictine monastery which gave Engelberg its name, translated as “Mountain of Angels”.
Finally… The Skiing
Off-piste skiers have made a pilgrimage to Engelberg in recent years, but the resort is more defined by its variety. Options for guided off-piste itinerary tours are plentiful, as are the range of intermediate to advanced runs in resort. Whilst small in comparison to more well-known Swiss resorts, it offers more than enough skiing for a long weekend, and presents a great opportunity for anyone looking to sample a bit of everything. A roughly 50/50 divide between high alpine and below-treeline skiing, means that Engelberg is skiable in all conditions. A definite must is a trip up the rotating cable car and a long descent down the red and blue runs to the resort base.
Anne’s photos below were taken during a long weekend trip to Engelberg in late January 2012: