Engelberg - the perfect short break destination?
by Fraser Wilkin, 24th September 2013
Engelberg is fast emerging as one of Europe’s top short break ski destinations. Not only are the mountains here high, steep and reliably snowy, they are also among the most accessible in the Alps. If you’re looking for a high octane but hassle-free ski weekend, then Engelberg deserves serious consideration.
Although Engelberg offers slopes to suit all levels it is the more adventurous that will appreciate the area most. The big draw is the Laub, an unusually wide off-piste descent of 1000m vertical that is consistently (but not terrifyingly) steep and the perfect place to hone your powder technique. Another epic run, the Galtiberg, plunges 2000m vertical off the Titlis glacier ending in the trees a short bus ride out of town.
If you would rather stick to the groomers, however, there are over 80km of pistes to choose from on two different mountains. The majority of runs are on the Titlis side but both areas offer plenty of challenge and spectacular sweeping views.
If it’s powder you’re after, Engelberg is one of the best resorts in Europe. Ok, the village itself isn’t high but the slopes reach over 3000m and their proximity to the northern edge of the Alps means that they bear the brunt of storms moving down from the Arctic. Yes it sometimes rains at resort level, but the vertical drop is exceptional, and (at altitude at least) Engelberg has one of the highest number of powder days in the Alps. What’s more, the Titlis glacier ensures that skiing is possible from early October right through to late May.
The short transfers:
If short transfers are high on your list of priorities, you’d be hard pressed to beat Engelberg – at only an hour’s drive from Zurich (and not much further from Basel). You could, in theory, be on the slopes just 3 hours after departing any London airport. For those in not quite such a rush, Engelberg can also be reached by train (in around 2 hours) from Zurich airport.
Engelberg may not be renowned for its outrageous après-ski, but there is more going on here than you might expect. The Yucatan bar at the Hotel Bellevue Terminus is the social hub and claims to pull more pints than any other in Switzerland. Other favourites include the “Chalet” at the bottom of the main gondola, which gets packed as the lifts close, and the more sedate Ski Lodge bar.