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As the birthplace of leisure skiing, the Jungfrau resorts of Grindelwald, Wengen and Mürren have a strong shared history. Meanwhile, the ‘fourth’ Jungfrau resort of Haslital has some treats in store for even the most experienced skier

Grindelwald

  • Resort 1,034m
  • Summit 2,500m
  • Vertical 1,562m
  • Ski area 155km
  • Parks 1

/Overview

For spectacular scenery Grindelwald is hard to beat as it sits directly opposite the massive north face of the Eiger. It’s a pretty resort and also the largest in the Jungfrau region, with good rail connections to Interlaken, and a wide range of accommodation, shops, bars and restaurants, making it the perfect holiday base. Getting up to the ski areas can be slow, whether it’s the gondola to First or the cog railway to Kleine Scheidigg. But 2018 is due to see the opening of a new high-speed cable link to Männlichen.

Grindelwald_winter2.jpg

/Ski area

Grindelwald has two ski regions – Kleine Scheidegg/Männlichen, which it shares with Wengen, and also its own area, First. South-facing First – reached by a six-person gondola from the village – is generally the quieter of the two ski areas, but huge fun when the snow is plentiful. 

Grindelwald is ideal for intermediates who will love the long 8km descent from Oberjoch back to Grindelwald. Best advice though is to stay higher where the snow is better, and save the home runs for the end of the day. There are fewer runs for experts but the most spectacular piste is without doubt the super-steep, super-fast Lauberhorn down to neighbouring Wengen, made famous by skiing’s World Cup stars.  For off-piste, the lower flanks of the Eiger are popular for freeriding and there’s plentiful terrain over at First too. 

Work is due to be completed in 2019 on a new high-speed cable link between Grindelwald Grund and the Eiger glacier above Kleine Scheidegg, cutting access times by 45 minutes. 

/Off the slopes

Grab a beer at Tipirama on Kleine Scheidegg or at one of the slope-side bars on the way back down to Grund. Later on, village bars such as Avocado are hugely popular. For off-slope fun, choose from 80 km of winter walking trails with views across seven 4,000m peaks and majestic glaciers, as well as 60km of toboggan runs, including, at 15km, Big Pintenfritz, one of the longest sledding runs in the Alps, whizzing down from the Faulhorn back into the valley. 

 

Wengen

  • Resort 1,275m
  • Summit 2,970m
  • Vertical 1,697m
  • Ski area 155m
  • Parks 2

/Overview

Put on the ski map by tourism and ski-sports pioneers Sir Henry Lunn and his son Arnold in the early 20th century, this charming car-free Brit favourite, with its nostalgic timber houses, chalets and hotels, has retained its picture-postcard appeal. Moreover, the south-west facing terrace guarantees above-average hours of sunshine. 

/Ski area

Although based on the slopes of the Eiger, Wengen’s ski area – lift-linked and shared with Grindelwald – is great for intermediates. The best progression routes are over towards Kleine Scheidegg and Männlichen, including an epic long blue run below the north face of the Eiger down to Grund in Grindelwald. On-piste challenges include the black runs from Eigergletscher to Wixi and, of course, the thrilling Lauberhorn. The Honegg piste is one of the most beautiful and scenic in the region. Some good off-piste is available, particularly around the foot of the Eigerwand on a beautiful run called the White Hare. Heli-skiing is also possible from late January until mid May.

/Off the slopes

Tipirama wigwam at Kleine Scheidegg is a lot of fun immediately after skiing. The mountain restaurant Allmend, just above Wengen, offers beautiful views, while sipping a Bergfrauen-Kaffee (mountain-women-coffee) – coffee mixed with a secret recipe of alcohol and whipped cream. Wengen is ideally placed for the ultimate Jungfrau excursion, up to the spectacular Jungfraujoch. The clean air, the long hours of sunshine – especially in winter – the toboggan runs and around 50 km of winter hiking trails keep families happy too.

 

Mürren 

  • Resort 1,034m
  • Summit 2,500m
  • Vertical 1,562m
  • Ski area 155km
  • Parks 1

/Overview

This small, charming, car-free village on the opposite side of the Lauterbrunnen valley from Wengen, is where the very first Alpine ski world championships were staged in 1931, and the views across the valley to the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau are seriously jaw-dropping. Ski slalom racing was invented here in 1922 by British ski pioneer Arnold Lunn. It’s also the home of the infamous Inferno amateur ski race every January in which 1,800 skiers race from the top of the 2,970m Schilthorn to the valley floor! (see highlights)

/Ski area

Mürren is reached by cable car from Stechelberg or from Lauterbrunnen and the network of 13 lifts – chairs, cables, funicular and drag – is pleasingly efficient. There are three main ski areas, the best-known being the Schilthorn – tough at the top but superb for intermediates from the mid-station at Birg. The Schiltgrat has a good mix of runs, while the Allmendhubel, reached by a funicular from the village, has easy runs for beginners. Winteregg offers lovely runs down through the pinewoods. Records and adrenalin are guaranteed on piste no. 10 – with a 75% gradient, it’s the steepest in the Jungfrau region. There’s also some cracking off-piste and some fierce moguls between marked runs and beneath some chairlifts. More demanding off-piste is found on avalanche-prone slopes into the Blumental including Blumliloke off Schiltgrat. There are also big mountain descents off the back of the Schilthorn, strictly for experts only. 

/Off the slopes

Delightfully cosy, with most of the hotels offering traditional stübli bars. A calorific way to end your ski day is with a cake stop at the Bellevue, but save room for a fondue at the Stäger Stübli. For some downtime entertainment, it’s hard to resist the 007 exhibition in the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant on the top. 

 

Meiringen-Haslital

  • Resort 1060m
  • Summit 2,433m
  • Vertical 1,373m
  • Ski area 60km
  • Parks 2

/Overview

Tucked away in a quiet valley off the northern end of Lake Brienz, about an hour from Interlaken, Haslital is proud of its status as the ‘fourth’ Jungfrau area resort. It has ski slopes to suit all levels, but also some awesome freeriding, and is a great destination for families and those seeking a less busy resort. The main resort base of Meiringen is best-known as the holiday favourite of Arthur Conan Doyle who ‘killed off’ his famous sleuth Sherlock Holmes at the region’s iconic Reichenbach Falls, and the Holmes links are widely celebrated here.

Meiringen - family.jpg

/Ski area

On-piste this is best-suited to beginners and intermediates, but the 60km of pistes includes some good long runs to ensure a bit of thigh burn by the bottom. The 13 lifts are modern and connect all the pistes well.  

But the Haslital area also has a long tradition of ski touring, and a week in the Susten, Trift, Gelmer or Gauli area is a must for any ski touring fan. Skiing down the crevasse-covered Rosenlaui glacier is one of the most unique alpine descents in the Alps – on a par with the Vallée Blanche in Chamonix.

 Haslital also offers a great learners’ area which includes a fun area for kids and easy-to-use carpet and rope lifts. 

/Off the slopes

Numerous restaurants and bars along the slopes allow for both cosy gatherings and full-on party spirit. There are especially good off-slope activities and facilities for children, and Haslital has been awarded the ‘Families Welcome’ quality mark. For down-time, there’s 25km of winter hiking trails, and two marked snowshoe routes.

 

Jungfrau highlights

Ski the Lauberhorn  

Start from the actual race hutch,where you get a snap of yourself at the start. At the famous Haneggschuss, where the world’s best reach up to 162km/h, you can compare your time with the pros.

1_Lauberhornrennen_1.jpg

Take part in the 75th Inferno 

This classic ski race is  huge with pros and amateurs alike and celebrates its 75th anniversary from 17-20 January 2018.  All participants – around 1,800 – will receive a commemorative award.

Soar on the First Flyer

800 metres of steel cable, up to 50 metres high and speeds of up to 84 km/h: the First Flyer, above Grindelwald, promises pure thrills for up to four riders at a time.

 

Jungfrau cool lodgings

Eiger Selfness Hotel, Grindelwald 

Comfortable, family-run hotel. Eat in Barry’s restaurant, enjoy a drink in the Gepsi-Bar, and relax in a private spa, 

Price: twin room from £213 pn.

eiger-grindelwald.ch/en/experience the delights of an indulgent private spa, including Finnish sauna and a herbal sauna.

Price: from £213 per night for a basic twin room.

eiger-grindelwald.ch/en/ 

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Hotel Reuti, Hasliberg

This new 3-star hotel is in the heart of the winter sports area of Meiringen-Hasliberg and right at the end of a piste leading down from Mägisalp. 

Price: twin room from £169 pn

hotelreuti.ch/ 

 

Hotel Alpenrose, Wengen

The oldest hotel in Wengen has been owned and run by the same family for well over a hundred years. Stunning views.

Price: doubles from £138 pn.

alpenrose.ch/en