Wengen is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places to ski. Its scenery rates alongside that of Zermatt, Chamonix and Banff Lake Louise as some of the most striking. “One of the most picturesque resorts in the world,” said a reporter, and “the only place I have found where I can truly relax and enjoy my skiing”.
Certainly the commute up to the main skiing at Kleine Scheidegg is unquestionably more relaxing and scenic than the daily grind into Manhattan or the City of London. Swiss trains run to a precise timetable, with halts along the way. From Kleine Scheidegg you can drop back towards Wengen or take a run down the far side to Grindelwald. Trains also continue down to Grindelwald as well as up to the 2320m Eigergletscher. This is the highest point from which you can ski.
A rail journey up to the rock face
The train then disappears behind the rock face and takes foot passengers on to the Jungfraujoch. Don’t miss this excursion (the final section is not included in the lift pass), which stops at the famous window in the North Face of the Eiger. From here mountain guides have launched dramatic rescue operations to save climbers stranded on the treacherous Eigerwand.
Alternative mountain access from Wengen is provided by a cable-car that rises to the 2230m Mannlichen ridge separates the Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald valleys. From here, a network of pistes and lifts brings you up to Kleine Scheidegg and the Eigergletscher. Long runs also continue down to the rail station at Grund near Grindelwald.
A reporter warned: “If you are planning to ski down to Grindwald which I do advise, take a packed lunch for the truly slow cable back up to Mannlichen. 32 Minutes to be exact.”
A classic downhill race
Each January, Wengen is the setting for the Lauberhorn, the longest – as well as one of the most celebrated and testing – downhill races in the World Cup Calendar. When not prepared for racing, the course that begins at the top of the Wixi new six-seater chair , provides a glorious 4.5km red descent back to Wengen.
Advanced skiers and riders will find that even the handful of runs marked black on the piste map lack real challenge, however the opportunities for lift-accessible off-piste are enormous. The dramatic White Hare, which begins from the foot of the Eigerwand and is reached from Eigergletscher, is a favourite.
“The hard core skier could also enjoy the slopes, but the lack of any real challenge would start to niggle a few days in,” commented a reader.
Wengen has a terrain park with a variety of jumps and obstacles, served by the Wixi chair. There’s a natural half-pipe at the top of the Lauberhorn as well as a snowboard park, but the off-piste in the Lauberhorn and Mannlichen bowls provide more challenge.
The beginners’ area, Figeller, is conveniently situated in the centre of Wengen, just behind the Tourist Office.