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Located amidst some of the world's most spectacular scenery, Mürren is a charming little village that has managed to escape over-development despite being famous in the history of winter sports since the very start of downhill skiing. The first Alpine Ski World Championships were staged here in 1931 by the Ski Club of Great Britain and three years before that the first Inferno race, believed to be the longest downhill race in the world attracting around 1,500 skiers every January. Located at one end of the legendary Jungfrau region, on the same lift pass as Wengen and Grindelwald although not linked to them by ski piste (you can however get across by a wonderful, century-old mountain railway). Among its many claims to fame, early mention must be made of the revolving restaurant perched on top of the Schilthorn mountain, also known as 'Piz Gloria' (2970m / 9750ft) with incredible views all around. The panorama from here includes Mont Blanc on the French - Italian border, the German Black Forest as well as the local peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Solar powered and seating up to 340 diners it revolves once per hour and was made famous world-wide in the James Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Mürren is a car-free village, like Wengen, any drivers must park their cars in one of the large valley car parks below and take the cable cars up to the resort. The absence of petrol/gas burning vehicles enhances still further the natural beauty of the place, bringing true tranquility and mountain air as pure as it can be.

Pretty car-free village linked by mountain railway (since 1891) to Wengen and Grindelwald and other Jungfrau Region resorts. The first Alpine Ski World Championships were staged here in 1931 by the Ski Club of Great Britain. Revolving Restaurant on top of Schilthorn.

Mountain

One of the resorts which can claim to be "the birthplace of downhill skiing in the Alps", Mürren also offers the highest ski area in the Jungfrau Region and around 53km (38 miles) of trails locally, with a total of 205km (128 miles) of trails on the Top Ski Pass including the slopes above neighbouring Wengen and Grindelwald - reached and returned from by a combination of ski, cable car, train and bus. There are three main ski areas, the best known being the Schilthorn (see below) - tough at the top but superb for intermediates from the cable-car/tram's 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 easy runs for beginners. It's also possible to take a chair from here to Winteregg where there are lovely runs down through the pinewoods. Mürren's most famous runs for advanced skiers are down from the revolving restaurant on the Schilthorn (not marked on the map), the main one 6km (4 miles) back down to Mürren. If you're staying for less than three days be aware you have to pay to descend in the cable car from here, those who ski save the fare! Longer stayers get the descent included in their pass. Anyone in the resort in January should not miss the 12km / 8 mile long Inferno race, staged annually for more than 60 years and involving a 2842m (9325 feet) vertical descent from the top of the Schilthorn down to Lauterbrunnen in the valley, if conditions are right. The course covers several steep sections, often full of bumps and the fastest descent takes around a quarter of an hour. The less determined regard an hour as a comfortable time. The race was instigated by the famous Kandahar Club, established in January 1924 and still going strong in the resort, just like the DHO (Downhill Only Club) across the valley in Wengen. The Kandahar named their club after a British lord who donated a silver chalice as a prize to competitors in club events. The Club was involved in the early pioneering of slalom technique and worked with the Arlberg school of St Anton in the late 1920s, instigating the Arlberg-Kandahar Race in that resort. The Inferno race was predated by a race organised by Sir Arnold Lunn, a pioneer of Alpine winter sports holidays, in 1922. This is believed to have been the first ever Alpine ski race. There are other tough runs and plenty of heli-skiing opportunities; in the former category try the famous Kandahar slope on Schiltgrat.

Families

An excellent choice for families with children aged three or four up (there's no day care facility) who will enjoy the services of the friendly and informal ski school. Here families may be taught together during low season if they wish it. Add to this the great views, the car free environment, the sports centre with separate children's pool and the unique attractions like the revolving restaurant and you have a wonderful choice for a family vacation. Children learning to ski can use the funicular railway as a very easy ski lift to get up to the nursery slopes and few resorts can offer something as popular and safe as that to get to their skiing.

Eating Out

Most of the restaurants in Mürren are based in the hotels and offer traditional Swiss Alpine fayre - gorgeous as it is - to a high standard. The most noted restaurants are naturally in the higher category hotels, but the Stäger Stübli, popular with the locals, has a particularly good reputation for fondue. Of course Mürren offers the unique opportunity of dining in the revolving Schilthorn restaurant during the day - the last trip to Mürren is at 5pm.

Apres

Mürren's après ski is generally cosy and relaxed with most of the hotels offering traditional stubli bars. A good way to start straight after skiing is with a 'cake stop' at the Bellevue. Later on there is music at the Tächi Bar and the Inferno whilst for night owls the Biemli Chäller should be lively through the night. For a bit of a change rent a toboggan at a sports shop, take the funicular up to Allmenhubel then sled back down. Alternatively you can go down from Mürren to Gimmelwald and take the cable car back up or, if you want to work up an appetite, walk up to the Gimmelen restaurant, enjoy a meal, then toboggan back down to your hotel.

Boarding

Although not a typical snowboarders' destination, Mürren does have the advantage of having most of its runs accessible by cable cars, funiculars and chairs - few surface lifts. The resort has also built a half pipe at Schiltgrat chairlift, close to the village and the cable car station. In the evenings there are few bars to fit the 'boarders stereotype young/loud/video screens norm - but then isn't it also a 'boarders norm to avoid being stereotypical...

// HIGHLIGHTS //
Vertical drop
2175m
Ski area
53
Resort height
1650m
Airport
Zürich
Train station
Mürren
beginner
20%
intermediate
60%
expert
20%