Just 1 hour and 40 minutes from Zürich airport, the historic village of Engelberg is a hidden gem of a ski resort. Easy to reach and perfect for a weekend away, visitors can enjoy access to 2,000 acres of pisted terrain connected by 26 lifts. Surrounded by impressive 3,000m high peaks and the 3,020m high Titlis glacier; this picturesque town’s situation in a valley makes for world-class panoramic views. ‘Welcome to Heaven!’ is Engelberg’s English slogan — appropriate enough for a resort whose name translates literally as ‘Mountain of the Angels’.
Engelberg is certainly no arriviste in the ski resort stakes. The village was founded centuries ago by Benedictine monks and the monastery, which also functions as a school, still dominates one end of the town. British visitors have been coming here for winter sports since the early part of the last century and consequently, they continue to enjoy great respect from the locals, many of whom speak our language well. In recent years, the number of visitors has been on the increase as this hidden gem of a ski resort has once again found itself on the discerning skier’s map.
Resort Altitude: 1,050m
Resort Skiing: 3,020m
Total Ski Area: 89km
Blue Runs: 26km
Red Runs: 53km
Black Runs: 10km
Cross Country: 36.5km
Engelberg has varied skiing making it an excellent choice good for skiers of all abilities. The most impressive ski area is the snow-sure Titlis glacier zone, which is served by the Rotair, one of the world's few 360-degree revolving cable cars, that rises up to a remarkable 3,020m. The other main ski area is the Brunni sector, which rises up to 2,040m and is well suited to intermediates. In total, Engelberg has 89km of pistes and 26 lifts; more than enough to keep decent skiers entertained for a long weekend.
The mighty Titlis glacier opens up to an array of north-facing pistes which are well stocked with powder. The steep descent of the Laub provides for a legendary freeride run; this is just one of the ‘Big Five’ off-piste runs which the resort is famed for; making it truly a mecca for the discerning freeride skier. Beginners will enjoy the sunny area of Brunni across the valley which is home to gentle south-facing slopes.
The Jochpass trails will provide excellent pisted routes for boarders looking to practice their carving on wide open runs. Approximately 30% of the slopes are said to be easy terrain, which will suit beginner boarders looking for some flatter paths on the Brunni side of the valley. Those who are more advanced will love the steep descents of the Laub area and the snow park in the Jochpass area.
Whilst many of Engelberg’s skiers are at an advanced level already and looking to make the most of the challenging terrain; there is still a good selection of three ski schools who offer tuition for all abilities and ages, as well as a range of mountain guides who are able to assist with navigating the glacial terrain.
Choose between a wide selection of mountain restaurants, ranging from large self-service facilities to fine dining options offering table service and local specialities. Down in the town, there are around 55 establishments offering an international mix of cuisine. The Yucatan is a lively Tex Mex restaurant with great happy hour deals, or alternatively opt for the magical ‘Candlelight Dinner’, where you take cable cars up 10,000 feet to enjoy an extensive Fondue Chinoise surrounded by hundreds of candles at the top of the mountain.
A popular destination for après ski is the Sternbar at Station Stand, which overlooks the Titlis glacier. From here, competent skiers can take the 1,000m descent down to the Chalet Bar at the Titlis base station, before heading to the Yucatan for happy hour. Enjoy live music into the small hours at a range of nightclubs and discobars; or alternatively, have a quieter evening with a glass of wine in the cosy 'Living Room by BT' located in the Hotel Bellevue.
Engelberg is a good choice of destination for non-skiers. The bustling town homes a great selection of bars and cafes, where you can enjoy trying some local cuisine. There are plenty of cleared paths for walkers, many of them leading to mountain restaurants on the sunnier Brunni side, as well as several on the lower slopes of the Titlis sector. The train journey to Lucerne is only one hour long and with an hourly train service it makes an ideal day-trip destination.