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Steeped in ski history, Mürren ski resort is a pretty, car-free village perched high in one of the most spectacularly scenic areas of the Swiss Alps.

Murren ski resort switzerland CREDIT Jungfrau Region Tourismus AG
Photo: Jungfrau Region Tourismus AG

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The highest ski area in the Bernese Oberland, the Mürren-Schilthorn ski area offers pistes for every level, links to the wider Jungfrau ski region, marvellous mountain views of the local Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks and an illustrious place in the history of downhill skiing.

The very first Alpine Ski World Championships were staged in Mürren in 1931 by the Ski Club of Great Britain. Three years before that the first Inferno race was also held here - this legendary event is believed to be the longest downhill race in the world, and still attracts around 1,800 skiers every January.

It was in Mürren that the British more or less invented modern ski tourism. Sir Arnold Lunn organised the first ever slalom race here in 1922. Some 12 years earlier his father, Sir Henry Lunn, had persuaded the locals to open the railway in winter so that he could bring the first winter package tour here.

Mürren itself is a charming car-free village. The absence of cars enhances the natural beauty of the place even further, bringing true tranquility, and mountain air as pure as it can be... 

Photo: Schilthornbahn AG

Where is Mürren?

Mürren sits at 1,650m, above the Lauterbrunnen valley in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. It cannot be reached by car. Drivers must park in one of the large valley car parks below and take the cable cars up to the resort. For UK visitors, the easiest way to reach this area is via the Swiss Rail Network, from airports at Zurich, Basel or Geneva, going first to Interlaken and then via the local services to Lauterbrunnen.

What is Mürren like for skiing?

The Mürren-Schilthorn ski area is situated above the Lauterbrunnen valley and stretches from the Schilthorn (2,976m) down to Lauterbrunnen (800m). It offers 51km of pistes, served by 13 lifts. The winter season here starts as early as the beginning of November - thanks to snowfarming.

There are three main zones. The best known is the Schilthorn, which is tough at the top, but superb for intermediates from the cable-car mid-station at Birg. The Schiltgrat has a mixture of runs whilst finally the Allmendhubel, reached by funicular train from the village, has a draglift and nursery slopes for beginners. It's also possible to take a chair from here to Winteregg, where there are lovely runs down through the pinewoods. 

For advanced skiers, adrenalin is guaranteed on piste no. 9, the Direttissima! With a gradient of 88%, it is the steepest piste in the Jungfrau region. Freestylers, on the other hand, have fun in the Skyline Snowpark, with kickers, rails and boxes. Off-piste lovers will find some challenging terrain from the Schiltgrat ridge, while the potential for ski touring from the Schilthorn is huge, but you need a guide to make the most of it.

Photo: Schilthornbahn AG

You can also ski the wider Jungfrau ski area on the same Jungfrau Ski Region ski pass, but while the 205km of slopes are not lift-linked from Mürren, getting across to the Grindelwald and Wengen areas with their extensive intermediate slopes, is a hugely enjoyable experience, involving the famous mountain railway as well as more conventional cable cars and ski lifts. A highlight of any visit here is to take the railway all the way to the highest station in Europe, the Jungfraujoch.

Looking towards the future, construction work is currently taking place on a new direct connection between Stechelberg and Mürren, replacing the cable cars on the Mürren-Birg and Birg-Schilthorn routes, which will make skiing the Jungfrau Region even easier.

Feel at home in Mürren's charming car-free village

Mürren is a perfect destination for family ski holidays. The wooden chalets and car-free heart are a delight, while the off-slope facilities are excellent. The sports centre has been greatly improved over the past few years, and the ice skating and curling will keep kids happy. The various tobogganing routes are great fun, too.

Most of the restaurants in Mürren are based in the hotels and offer a high standard of traditional Swiss Alpine cuisine. Mürren's après ski is generally cosy and relaxed, with most of the hotels offering traditional stubli bars.

Photo: Jungfrau Region Tourismus AG

Find everything from snowshoe trails to virtual reality in Mürren

The Mürren Schilthorn area has 10km of toboggan runs, 15km of winter hiking trails, and 8km of snowshoe trails, including the brand-new Gimmelen trail. From the Schilthorn cableway station in Mürren, follow the winter hiking trail up towards Gimmelen to the start of the actual snowshoe trail on the Obere Brüch. The trail now leads gently uphill through a wonderful snow-covered forest to the junction on the Obere Gimmelwalder Allmi. From here you have a choice of routes - either follow a loop into the valley over snowy pastures and through the forest and past small barns and alpine huts to the Gimmelen restaurant. Or you can take the direct route through the small forest up to the Gimmelen Restaurant, and then onwards to the village of Gimmelwald. A moderately-difficult trail, it's 5.3km and takes about 2hr 45mins.

Another innovative addition to the offerings here is a virtual reality experience in the Alpine Sports Centre - a virtual snowball fight! With up to four players, two teams compete against each other over five rounds and a total playing time of 15 minutes, immersed in a virtual winter landscape. The game is suitable for everyone from the age of six.

Don't miss: A trip up the Schilthorn

James Bond fans will not be able to resist a trip up the 2,970m Schilthorn, to the world's first revolving restaurant. The Piz Gloria offers incredible panoramic views of Mont Blanc on the French-Italian border, the German Black Forest, and the local peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau rising up on the opposite side of the Lauterbrunnen valley. Solar powered, it takes 45 minutes to revolve 360° and was made famous by the James Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service. For Bond fans there's a themed exhibition - Spy world - and the Walk of Fame.

Photo: Jungfrau Region Tourismus AG

Experience the famous Inferno Race

January 27, 2024 sees the 80th anniversary of this famous Inferno ski race, first staged in 1928 by ski-crazy Brit members of the famous Kandahar Club, established in January 1924 and still going strong in the resort. The Inferno race is now considered the biggest amateur race in world skiing. The number of participants is limited to 1850. The varied, special topography is what makes the appeal of this 14.9km long course, which can also be skied outside the race. Good skiers need about 20 minutes to complete the descent; the winners less than 15 minutes. For mere mortals, an hour is regarded as a comfortable time.


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