If history attracts you, then Grindelwald is the resort for you. The largest resort in the Jungfrau region, it lays claim to being the “birthplace of alpine skiing”. The story goes that in 1881 an Englishman put on his skis in his hotel room and walked out through the hotel bar to the slopes wearing them. This long association with skiing was further reinforced when, in 2007, Grindelwald celebrated the 60th anniversary of the first mountain railway.
The skiing is certainly very good, particularly for intermediates. The skiing area is shared with Wengen, but there is also a dedicated first ski area, unique to Grindelwald. Visitors can choose either a local lift pass which includes all lifts in Wengen and Grindelwald or an area pass which also includes Murren and a 50% reduction to Jungfraujoch.
There are plenty of good, gentle cruising runs for intermediates, with most of the resort runs passing through trees. Experts have to look a little harder but can enjoy challenges such as the Lauterhorn world cup downhill course or off piste, for which guiding is available. There is also good powder on the Eiger Glacier, which offers guaranteed snow all year round.
Boarders are well catered for. There is a terrain park for boarders with kickers, rails and boxes in the first area. There is also a very good half pipe. As part of its growing reputation for boarders the resort has also hosted skicross world cup races. For those wishing to improve their skills, tuition is available from three different ski schools.
The resort is very family friendly. One particular attraction for families is the English speaking Kindergarten on the Bodmi nursery slopes. Activities include drawing, craft and playing in the snow and igloo.
There is a dedicated bus to take children to ski school for any lessons they might have. Small snacks, drinks and craft materials are all included in the price, which is CHF60 for an entire day. Sessions can also be booked for either a morning or an afternoon. The kindergarten takes children from ages three to seven and is open from 9.30am to 4pm.
The village is very pretty, with traditional alpine features, set against the magnificent backdrop of the Eiger which towers over the village. International visitors are attracted to the bustling and cosmopolitan resort, not only for its skiing but also for scenery, walking and tea rooms.
Indeed, there are plenty of activities available for non-skiers. If you are more into cross country than alpine skiing, then Grindelwald offers 30km of cross country trails. Snow shoeing and guided walks provide alternative ways of exploring the surrounding countryside. Other winter sports include curling, ice skating, tobogganing and sledging ï¿½ on the longest run in Europe.
For those who would like a break from the slopes there are a range of options available from the active to the simply relaxing. If you simply want to relax your muscles then visit the wellness centre where facilities include a sauna and massage options. If you are after something more active then try the sports centre which contains a pool or bowling.
Why not admire the skill of others by enjoying one of the floodlit ski and snowboard exhibitions, which you can follow up with a drink in one of the wide variety of aprï¿½s ski venues on offer. These range from the quiet and informal to lively bars. Some to look out for include Cafe Genepi, Espresso Bar, Sports Bar, Gepsi, or for live music try Challi.
There are a wide variety of restaurants to choose from ï¿½ some to try include Fiescherblick, Eiger and Spinne. For a meal with a view, why not take a trip over to the Murren ski area and try out the famous Piz Gloria revolving restaurant on the Schilthorn above Murren which featured in the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Another trip worth taking is the train up to the Jungfraujoch world heritage site at 3454m.
There is a wide variety of accommodation on offer, ranging from family run hotels to self catering apartments and chalets.
The resort can be reached from either Geneva or Zurich, which are both a few hours drive away and can also be reached by train. This means that the resort is also suitable for the increasingly popular option of a “long ski weekend”.
With its history of alpine skiing and beautiful scenery, the Jungfrau region has long been popular with British visitors. Grindelwald, a pretty and cosmopolitan village, offers the perfect base to explore the region.
Cheap Ski Holidays is a trading name of Hello Sunshine ABTA number K2931 and an Agent for ATOL Protected Operators. a trading division of Hays Travel Ltd, who are Members of ABTA. ABTA and ABTA Members help holidaymakers to get the most from their travel and assist when things don't go according to plan. We are obliged to maintain a high standard of service to you by ABTA's Code of Conduct. For more information on ABTA, the Code of Conduct and the arbitration scheme available to you if you have a complaint, contact ABTA, 30 Park Street, London SE1 9EQ, Tel 020 3117 0581 www.abta.com.
Cheap Ski Holidays, 3 Byron House, Hall Dene Way, Seaham, County Durham, SR7 0PY. Company Reg. No 1990682