The Alps are getting hammered with snow this season, but if you want to ski Europe now most places remain closed, or at best locals only.
But Not Switzerland!
Their COVID measures have allowed regional governments to make the decisions on key aspects of life, including whether to open ski facilities or not. So for anyone traveling who can get there, the best skiing in Europe now is at Switzerland’s best resorts.
Felix Aradsson and an intrepid Swedish crew are trying to do the season in the Alps, pandemic or no pandemic. They were leg weary from a month of no lifts in Chamonix, with no prospect of lifts opening in France, so they moved on to Engelberg-Titlis for some lift accessed snow action. They hit the jackpot to file this report.
What a week we have had in Engelberg!
We have had great food at the lodge, ridden the best and deepest powder of our lifes and we have been guided by one of the best skiers in the world, Christophe ‘Tof’ Henry – aka the fastest skier in Chamonix and all round legend.
Tof taught all of us a lot about the area, it is for sure gonna be a lifetime memory.
The Brunni side, or so-called sunny side of Engelberg, has given us good tree skiing with a lot of good snow, with close to zero other people skiing around us. On Brunni you can find really long off piste runs with good vision because of the trees.
The Titlis glacier has given us the absolute deepest snow because of its height at over 3,000m. The snow depth was 408cm already at the top station this week – in fact Titlis can sometimes have the most snow of any major resort in the World.
On Titlis you can also find very long runs in the off piste, like Steinberg, the glacier run. But the visibility on the Titlis side was very bad on many days and also had a lot of wind, so we stayed more on the Brunni side.
We have spotted many great skiers on the slopes, like the Olympic competitor Mattias Hargin and many Freeride World Tour riders like David Dolvid and Cody Bram.
The Swedish owned Hotel Ski Lodge Engelberg has treated us awesome, with a wonderful breakfast buffet every morning that gives us the energy to ski the whole day. The chef and the rest of the personnel were all great at their job, so a big up to them.
We noticed that on the weekend a lot of people came for just a short visit, and between Monday and Thursday it was almost empty on both the lifts and the slopes.
Which was nice for us, but we still feel sad for all the people losing money from the corona crisis once again.
We have seen how Switzerland handles the corona virus and are still enabled to have the ski resorts open, so we think it’s odd that the other countries like Austria, Italy and France aren’t able to open theirs (in Austria’s case they are open for locals as we reported earlier).
People in Switzerland are really paying attention to the restrictions, and are careful with distance and hand sanitizer.
It will in the next few days snow 250cm in Chamonix where we came from, so it will be forbidden even to tour up the slope for days, or maybe weeks – nobody knows. So we will be able to rest a few days after an intensive skiing week in Engelberg.
Then we will head to Verbier, where we have lined up new seasonal accomodation to be able to ski with lifts for the rest of the season. The only problem it seems is that every seasonaire who planned to go to France this season, like us, is now moving on to Verbier after the bad news from the French government who are maintaining restrictions on skiing in place.
But Verbier is big, so we should be OK ..
Stay tuned for the lads updates from there. For more Engelberg-Titlis info see the links below.
Getting to Engelberg-Titlis
Fly to Zurich www.swissair.com
Train: It’s from just over 2 hours train trip from Zurich airport to Engelberg, 1 hour and 50 minutes from Zurich, 45 minutes from Lucerne, 4 hours from Geneva and and Basel. Travel from Lucerne to Engelberg on the “Zentralbahn” railway.
Self drive: From Zurich Airport to Engelberg is as little as 75 – 80 minutes depending on conditions. Follow the A2 and take the Stans Süd exit before continuing along the main road to Engelberg. Car park next to the valley station.
Thanks to Felix åradsson, Tage Jergmo, Kasper Törnwall, Edwin Evans, Max Brolin