Where is the most stunning scenery from the slopes? Opinion is, of course, divided. For one thing, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, for another, it’s hard to make generalizations.
But, for well-travelled skiers, a few places do keep popping up – The Canadian Rockies, the view of Mt Yotei from Niseko in Japan, the coastal views from New Zealand’s peaks (we’ve all seen Lord of the Rings) and pretty much the whole country of Switzerland. For some reason, it seems like the Swiss Alps are that bit higher, that bit more dramatic and that bit more spectacular than the Alps in other countries.
The most stunning in Switzerland? That’s a tough call but the Jungfrau region (home to the dramatic Eiger, Jungrau and Mönch mountain peaks and the ski resorts of Murren, Grindelwald and Wengen) top the list for pure “awesome”.
See Switzerland lift tickets.
Wherever you are in the world, Switzerland is a great country to fly in to if you want to go on a ski holiday.
The major airports including Geneva and Zurich have rail stations so after you collect your bags, you can walk straight out and hop on the train that will seamlessly take you to your ski resort. There’s no need to mess around with car rentals (unless you really want to) since there are also a lot of private transfer companies that can collect you from the airport and deliver you to your resort.
Switzerland is rightly famous for its great train service, and you can buy tickets from the airport to anywhere in Switzerland before you fly there (Search: “Swiss transfer ticket”). By train is THE way to reach your resort through amazing scenery, making your trip special from the moment you arrive on Swiss soil. So why wouldn’t you?
All Swiss resorts are efficiently linked to the rail network, but Engelberg has built a reputation of being one of the quickest and easiest to reach if you fly in to Zurich.
3. Great Skiing
Although they may have been skiing for well over a century in Switzerland, the lifts are very state-of-the-art and the ski areas are some of the biggest in the world. Switzerland is home to the highest ski lifts in Europe (and amongst the 10 highest in the world) and home to one of only two resorts worldwide that operate 365 days a year (weather permitting).
Engelberg, with more than 6,500 feet of lift served vertical is a case in point. A new state-of-the-art gondola installed this season whisks you up this mighty vertical, then for the last section, you step into the Rotair—an incredible tram with circular, revolving cabins and full 360 panorama views. The Rotair slowly rotates while you ascend and soak in those stunning Swiss mountain views.
Swiss resorts have a reputation for providing the highest quality ski experience in Europe, if not the world.
Expect comfortable hotel rooms, fast efficient ski lifts, excellent restaurant meals, well-groomed runs and instructors of professional quality. In short, expect everything to be good.
Quite a few Swiss ski resorts are also car-free (Saas Fee and Wengen among them) which makes your ski holiday particularly special. Just imagine spending your time in resort with no noisy engines spoiling the perfect, peaceful atmosphere.
5. Rich History
If you’re looking for ski history, you can’t do much better than Switzerland. The world’s first recorded winter snow holiday took place at St Moritz in 1864-65 (151 seasons ago). It was also the place where many of the first reported ski descents in the Alps happened in the 1880s and 1890s, including one by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes) who helped popularized the sport in Switerzland.
The first downhill races happened in Switzerland as well, particularly around the Jungfrau region, which still hosts the legendary Lauberhorn each winter. The FIS (International Ski Federation) was based in Switzerland and two of the first five Winter Olympics were staged at St Moritz. No country has a stronger ski pedigree.
While some ski nations have a—shall we say, ‘happy go lucky attitude’ to keeping things moving—Swiss resorts have a deserved reputation for everything being as good as you would hope it to be, and better still.
Switzerland is known in Europe for everything working on schedule (it’s quite unusual in other European countries), even when the weather is bad.
So there you have it, six good reasons to ski or board in Switzerland. Once you visit you’ll find many more.