Grindelwald ski resort
Grindelwald is one of the world’s classic resorts with a ski history that dates back to the early 1880s, when a visiting English tourist strapped on his newfangled skis in his hotel room and heroically clomped out down the stairs, through the bar, and out onto the snow.
Set in the magnificence of the Jungfrau Alps, Greindelwald shares one of Switzerland’s larger ski areas with neighbouring Wengen, which is possible to reach on skis, and Murren that requires trains and lift rides to reach.
Despite the extensive skiing facilities, with runs to suit all skill levels, it’s Greindelwald’s scenery that’s its biggest draw, with photo-hungry, dramatic panoramic views of the mighty Eiger and neighbouring peeks. The village itself, which is enjoying a greater selection of après-ski facilities with every consecutive year, is also suitably charming, with its wooden chalets neatly hemmed in by the surrounding mountainscape. It’s no wonder the Jungfrau region is regarded as having the most stunning scenery in skiing – and that’s not an easy category to top.
South of Lake Brienz and east of Wengen in the Jungfrau region, Grindelwald is within the Bernese Oberland administrative area of the Swiss canton of Bern.
On the slopes
Skiers not wishing to take a day trip to a neighbouring resort can choose between Grindelwald’s own First ski area or head to the larger Kleine Scheidegg and Männlichen sectors, which are shared with neighbouring Wengen and home to the infamous Lauberhorn downhill course that’s an intimidating staple of the annual World Cup race circuit.
Just over half of the 160km (100 miles) of runs in the Jungfrau area are rated intermediate, but beginners have excellent nursery slopes in the Bodmi area that can be reached by a free bus from the resort centre. This has an easy-to-ride conveyor-type lift to make the first ascents as simple as possible.
Beyond the Lauberhorn, experts have several black runs to enjoy, including the aptly named Oh God (piste 27); generally regarded as the resort’s toughest. There can be good off-piste skiing too after fresh snow on the Eiger’s glaciers and the mountain guides can take accomplished skiers to the best and safest spots.
Meanwhile, freestyle skiers and boarders will get their kicks in the First ski area’s terrain park.
There are also more than 15km (9.5 miles) of cross-country trails for Nordic skiers to exploit, which although relatively little compared with many resorts in the Alps, is more than neighbouring Mürren and Wengen.
The ski season in Grindelwald generally runs from mid-December until mid-April.