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Engelberg

by Adam Attew
BBB Engelberg-Brunni

FACTS

CONNECTED AREA: Titlis, Brunni, Fürenalp, Bannalp

SEASON START & END: Early October – Late May

SKI ALTITUDE IN METRES: Titlis 1000m – 3028m / Brunni 1000m – 1860m / Fürenalp 1000m – 1850m / Bannalp 1588m

PISTES: Total 82km (29km blue / 38.1km red / 14.9km black) // Titlis 23 pistes / Brunni 6 pistes / Bannalp 2 pistes // 35.5% Beginner / 46.5% Intermediate / 18% Expert 

LIFTS: Total 28 / Titlis: Cable cars 3 / Gondola 2 / Chair lifts 7 / Magic Carpet 4 / Drag lifts 2 // Brunni : Cable cars 1 / Gondola 0 / Chair lift 1 / Magic Carpet 2 / Drag Lifts 2 // Fürenalp: Cable car 1 // Bannalp: Cable car 1 / Iron lifts 2

SNOW: – Titlis Glacier whole year throughout covered with snow / 164 Snow canons

LIFT TICKET 2021/22 Ski Pass: Adult Local Resort: from 52 CHF – 1 day / from 240 CHF – 6 days

CROSS COUNTRY SKIING TRAILS IN ENGELBERG-TITLIS : Classic trails 38km / Skating trails 38km / High altitude trails 8.4km / Floodlit trails 2.7km

Day pass CHF 5 / Day pass incl. night run CHF 10

LANGUAGE: German

AIRPORT: Nearest airports are: Zürich 71km / Basel 137km / Bern 143km / Geneva 300km

TRAIN: Engelberg Station / Express Engelberg-Luzern (main station) takes 45 minutes

SKI FACTS:  Longest winter ski season in Switzerland from October – May /  The Cliff walk on the Titlis is the highest suspension bridge in Europe /  The Titlis is the highest mountain in central Switzerland that can be reached by mountain railway /  One of the longest downhill runs in the alpine region with a difference in altitude of 2000m /  12 shops to rental sports equipment /  4 ski & snowboard schools

Adam Attew Engelberg at night

TOWN

Legend has it that when the monastery was completed in 1120, that the voices of Angels were heard from the summit of the Hahnen mountain and thus Engelberg (Mountain of Angels) received its name. Tourism grew here from 1850, however it was not until 1903 that the first Winter season was held. The main mountain here is the Titlis mountain at 3238 metres, named after the local farmer called Tutilos; however the most familiar mountain that stands directly over Engelberg is the Hanhnen at 2606 metres, which to me appears to me like some kind of giant cat looking over the town. The town itself sits at 1000 metres and has been influenced over the years by Benedictine monastery, a large building which still acts as a monastery, with the monks teaching at the monastery’s school. In fact we even saw some nuns on a jaunt up the mountain, though I am not sure where they were staying! In 1992 Engelberg build a ‘World-First’, its iconic revolving cable car, known as the ‘Titlis Rotair’; a great ride to the top of the Titlis area; N.B: put your camera on timelapse and film the rotating panoramic view as you ride to the top. The valley is fairly wide and flat with the town evolving on the north side, probably to receive the sun as the southern side is in the shadow of the Titlis, because of this it does not feel too built up and there are large flat areas where the cross country skiing can take place. The town is made up of a mixture of chalets and Palace hotels like the Kempinski Hotel. I like the fact that part of the valley over in Fürenalp has not been enveloped by the ski pistes, with one mini cable car to the top we enjoyed a surreal and amazing evening of snow shoeing my moonlight with the great guides of Go-In . A truly a spectacular experience, the mountains by moonlight were so serene; our eyes adjusted to the light to the point one could see ones own shadow and even the colour of the moonlight on the snow. Our snowshoe hike was followed by a cosy cheese fondue at the mountains restaurant Fürenalp, this is one experience not to be missed.

SKIING

There are three main ski areas : Titlis, Brunni and Bannalp and one snowshoeing and hiking area at Fürenalp. Brunni goes up to 1860 and is south facing, so mornings will usually be best. It is not a huge area, but then it attracts less visitors, meaning that one can enjoy relatively quiet pistes. I loved skiing the Black 2 Schonegg piste with no other skiers. The area around the mid station Ristis, is really well set up for families, with various beginner slopes for the youngsters a kids playground area and of course the large Berglodge restaurant, there seem to be many winter hikes in this area too, all under the gaze of the surrounding mountains and blessed with sun all day. Titlis is the very large and main skiing area, this is mostly north facing so does not receive as much sun as Brunni, so along with its maximum height of 3028 metres the snow stays in great shape. The lower region of the Titlis at Gerschnialp is really well set up for beginners without any pistes above delivering reckless skiers through the blue pistes here. The upper reaches of Titlis separate into two areas: Jochpass with its fun undulating rides whilst the glacial heights of Titlis deliver fun high altitude pistes perfect for pushing your skills. From Titlis one can ski all the way down the long blue pistes back to the resort, an attractive tree lined run home. The last little area Bannalp consists of about 3km of mostly blue piste.

BBB Engelberg Rotair
BBB Engelberg hiking

BEGINNERS
For complete beginners head to the Klostermatte slope at the bottom of Brunni, or head up to Brunni to enjoy the sun around Ristis. The next step is to head to Gerschnialp blue piste area at the top of the Gerschnialp funicular. 

INTERMEDIATE
Intermediate skiers will love the whole region, with lots of variety of pistes up on the glacier down to the tree laden pistes. We particularly loved the red pistes up the top of the Titlis and over around Jochstock too. 

ADVANCED
There is not a huge amount of Black pistes, the expert skiers here head more off piste, as you will see when the snow is good the snow in between the pistes gets skied out almost more than the pistes; there is ‘lift-access’ off piste skiing in spades. One itinerary ski route which will make your thighs burn if the moguls have grown is the Rotegg leading down from the Titlis Glacial region, this is part of the longest ski run from the top of the Titlis all the way down to the valley.

RESTAURANTS
There seem to be a good selection of large mountain restaurants. We liked the Berglodge restaurant up at Brunni with its huge sun terrace. The Trübsee restaurant is situated in a great spot in the sun again with a giant sun terrace and a cosy interior, you can even stay at the hotel here at 1796 metres.

WHERE TO STAY
We loved staying at the recently opened 5 star Kempinski Palace Engelberg Hotel. The Kempinski blends traditional palace hotel with modern luxury, perfect service and fine cuisine; make sure you visit their winter season Chalet Ruinart for lashings of Ruinart champagne and fondue. The Kempinski also have their own in-house ski-rental Intersport Achermann next to the Ski Room where we rented some lovely Swiss made AK Skis.

ECOLOGY & SUSTAINABILITY FACTS:
– Engelberg is continuously committed to the efficient use of energy, climate protection, renewable energies and environmentally friendly mobility.
– Since the winter season of 2019/20 more than half of the heat comes from a new ecological wood heating plant.
– All cable cars in Engelberg are operated by environmentally friendly hydropower.
– The Brunni mountain railroad is the first and so far only climate-neutral, certified facility in Switzerland.
– Engelberg will cover its own electricity needs from 2022 with 100% renewable electricity and from 2030 with an additional 50% green electricity.

For more information visit online Engelberg.

 

 

 

BBB Engelberg Ski map

Author

  • Adam is equally at home in the mountains or ploughing through a rare steak with a side of G&T. With over 40 years skiing experience from ski touring to Giant Slalom, Adam is a BASI qualified Ski and Telemark instructor and is also a member of the prestigious Kandahar Ski Club. Despite the G&Ts; health and nutrition are a way of life for Adam who has lived Paleo or 'eating like a caveman' for over 15 years. When there is time aside from all of these antics he is also an accomplished Alpine Landscape artist specialising in winter scenes.

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