Lauterbrunnen - The Good, the Bad, ...and the Facts!
Lauterbrunnen Resort Alititude: 800m.
Dramatic location in the U-Shaped Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Jaw-dropping Jungfrau scenery when you reach the slopes above Wengen and Murren.
Cheaper alternative than staying in Wengen or Murren.
Good base if you are planning to ski both Wengen and Murren's ski areas.
Getting to the slopes is obviously slower than staying in one of the above resorts.
Lauterbrunnen Live Streams
The live images below of Lauterbrunnen : Jungfraujoch (3445m) are provided courtesy of Feratel Media Technologies AG
Lauterbrunnen Web Cameras
A list of webcams for Lauterbrunnen and the surrounding area.
Lauterbrunnen Snow Record
Given it's location in the bottom of the valley, Lauterbrunnen's snow record isn't as good as
Wengen or Murren, but assuming you're coming here to ski then it's the snow records of those two resorts that
you're going to be interested in anyway.
For more details have a look at the resort pages for
Lauterbrunnen is Family Friendly
The resort itself is family friendly, mainly because it's so peaceful.
However, those with small children need to be aware that they face a bit of a trek to get
up to the slopes above Wengen or Murren.
Lauterbrunnen has Amazing Scenery
It might not be sat high up on a ledge like neighbouring Wengen or Murren with views directly over to the surrounding
mountains, but Lauterbrunnen's scenery is equally stunning.
Sheer cliff faces drop down vertically either side of the valley bottom, creating the most incredible
U-shaped valley (so perfect a geography teacher would most probably feint on seeing it), with enormous waterfall's
either frozen or hurtling water down from the mountain's above. And being based at the bottom of the valley you really get a sense
of the incredible scale of the Jungrau range that towers over everything.
Any Summer Skiing at Lauterbrunnen ?
Surprisingly, given the size of the mountains that are surrounding Lauterbrunnen, you can't actually ski
anywhere in the summer.
The Eiger has a glacier (the Eigergletscher) and from the visitor centre at the top of the Jungfraujoch
you're right next to another one, also the largest glacier in the Alps - the Great Aletsch Glacier (Grosser Aletschgletscher)
but there are no lifts or skiing on these.
Instead, Lauterbrunnen and the Jungfrau area turns its attention to a whole host of other outdoor activities during the summer months,
such as hiking, climbing, paragliding and water-sports down on the lakes near Interlaken.
Lauterbrunnen - Getting There
Consider travelling by train - it takes about 3 and a half hours from Geneva with changes required at Bern and Interlaken Ost.
This may sound like a long time and a lot of hassle changing but it's worth it.
It's a fantastic journey around Lake Geneva to start with and then the final legs as you hit the Bernese Oberland.
Getting to the Slopes at Lauterbrunnen
Firstly, you need to be aware that this is an old-school bottom-of-valley resort.
Don't get mixed up into thinking that this will be like one of the modern purpose built resorts in the French Alps,
with an ultra-fast gondola zipping you up to higher resorts.
Lauterbrunnen has a history and an identity of its own and getting up to Wengen and Murren involves using the traditional trains.
Ok, so the train may be slower than a lift but just sit back and enjoy those stunning views.
However, don't believe some of the stories you'll hear that you'll waste half your holiday travelling to Wengen or Murren - it's not
that bad, and with a little bit of basic planning (e.g. looking at the train timetable and getting yourself out of your hotel
at a decent time) you can be in either resort within 30 mins.
The Skiing at Lauterbrunnen
The Jungfrau Ski region is comprised of 3 ski areas: Grindelwald-First, Murren-Schilthorn
and Kleine Scheidegg-Mannlichen. The latter two are located above each side of the valley above
Lauterbrunnen and are detailed below:
Murren-Schilthorn Ski Area
Below is a description of the various skiing areas at Schilthorn:
Schilthorn-Birg-Obere Hubel Area
Where else could we start but Murren's most famous landmark - the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant perched on top of the Schilthorn
mountain. What do you mean you've never heard of it ?!? You've most likely seen it though -it was Blofeld's mountain hideaway
in the Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. There's a black run (no. 10) that starts right up here at just under 3000m.
Just down this black run is where the legendary Inferno run starts, the longest downhill race in the world. The black isn't too
difficult to be honest and has some great views over to the jungfrau. It continues down to a position just above Both, from where
there are a number of nice blue runs to take you down to Obere Hubel or down to the Riggli chairlift (black slope number 9 provides
a trickier alternative). Obere Hubel sits at around 2400m so the snow up here is usually pretty good. However, to help ensure good
conditions there are plenty of snow cannons covering the slopes down from here. There's something for everyone here with a blue,
red and a couple of blacks all heading down to the bottom of the Muttleren and Kandahar chairlifts.
From the bottom of the Kandahar chairlifts there's just run that connects you to the next skiing area below (Allmendhubel),
but the bad news for nervy intermediates is that its a black (number 16) - a section of the Inferno run.
Anyone not fancying this black needs to work there way back up to Birg using the chairlifts and then get the cable-car
back down to the Schilthornbahn Station down in Murren
The easiest way to get to the Allmendhubel area from Murren village is to take the Allmendhubelbahn funicular.
From here there's a nice easy blue (number 6) that takes you right back down to the foot of the funicular. It's got snow cannons on it as well, so the coverage is usually ok.
Red 7 follows a similar route down, albeit a bit trickier for early intermediates, and connects into blue 6 towards the end. On the other side of the Allmendhubel area is a couple of short blue runs with a drag lift. A nice long red (no 5) comes down through the trees on this side too and ends up at the bottom of the funicilar. There are a couple of lifts on red 5 as well - the Allmiboden chairlift connects you back up to Allmendhubel whilst Maulerhubel chairlift takes you to the top of the Maulerhubel-Winteregg area.
This area is the hardest to access from Murren village, you've got to come at it from either halfway down red pistes no 5 at Allmendhubel and then get the Maulerhubel chairlift up or get the chairlift up from Winteregg, which is the first stop on the Lauterbrunnen-Murren train. Beginners and early intermediates will find it's worth the effort because once you've got there are a couple of blues down to the base of the Maulerhubel chair and a lovely blue and red that goes in the opposite direction down to Winteregg.
From Winteregg there's actually a red (no 3) that goes right down to Lauterbrunnen - this is the final section of the inferno run, so you can amuse yourself by skiing it flat out and pretending your charging to ski-race glory! Remember this is below 800m so there's no guarantee there'll be enough snow down at this level.
Access to this area has to be done via the Schiltgrat chairlift from the village - it's just a bit further on from the Schilthornbahn cable-car.
From the top of the Schiltgrat chairlift there are a number of runs down to Gimmeln - there are 2 reds (24 and 25) and a blue (23).
Down at Gimmeln you've then got two options - either take the long drag lift back up to the top of Schiltgrat or take a scenic red down back down to the base of the Schiltgrat chair. As well as the pistes down to Gimmeln there are a couple more options, firstly take the blue from the top of the Schiltgrat chair and sweep left on pistes number 20 - this gives you a few options - you can take the red 23b down to the Taverne restaurant, black 21 down to Suppenalp or to the base of the Schilthornbahn, or continue on blue 22 to Sonnenberg
Wengen-Mannlichen Ski Area
Below is a description of the various skiing areas at Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg:
From Mannlichen there is a blue (piste 2) or a red (number 3) to take you right down down to the
base of the Mannlichen chairlift (note - that's the chairlift, not the cable-car back down to Wengen, you wont be skiing
down that way unless you're about the same level as Candide Thovex). There are also 2 sections at the top where you can ski black
piste no. 1 and then get down via the aforementioned reds or blues.
One thing worth pointing out is that some of the higher slopes around Mannlichen can sometimes be closed
due to high winds - it's quite an exposed area. Wengen village centre sometimes get's protected from the winds from the other side
of Mannlichen but it's worth being aware that the conditions on the top run can be very different.
However, this is a problem common to many ski resorts, not just Wengen.
Also going down from Mannlichen top station is the Grindelwald Grund - Mannlichen gondola.
The gondola goes from 2230m right down to Grund at 944m. There are a variety of blues and red pistes to
navigate down to the bottom of the fantastically named Lager chairlift (not as good as it sounds!)
but to get down further to the Holenstein station of the gondola or right down to the bottom at Grund
early intermediates need to be able to get down a red run (piste number 3). Be aware that in busy
holiday periods such as half-term the routes down to Grund can get busy before lunch as lots of
people head down there (anyone skipping lunch or stopping earlier/later will find
the runs down to Grund much quieter over lunch).
There are a number of pistes between Mannlichen and Kleinne Scheidegg but the vast majority
are reds and suited to intermediates. One thing we're too keen about in this area is some of the piste
markings - which were were a bit unclear. Red pistes no. 7 at Tschuggen and no. 21 at Honegg or Kleine
Scheidegg both meet up just below the Tschuggen drag lift and then take you down to Grund.
Speaking of the Tshuggen drag lift - it's extremely long - worth bearing in mind if you've got kids
with you who have a tendency to fall off them if they need to hold on for longer than 2 minutes !!
Nervy intermediates or developing beginners can get down to Grund avoiding the reds if they want
to by using the long blue piste (no. 22) that goes right down under the north face of the Eiger
from Kleine Scheidegg, past Alpiglen and down into Grindelwald.
Lauberhorn-Kleine Scheidegg Area
There are a couple of reds up on the top of the Lauberhorn, and you can ski the World Cup run
that starts up here and winds it's way back down to Wengen. It's the oldest race on the downhill
circuit and also the longest, the pro's doing it in a staggering 2 and a half minutes !
There's a cracking bar up here called
the Start Bar, if you're there when the Lauberhorn race is on then get yourself up to it, you'll
be amazed that you can rub shoulders with the racers before they hurtle off down the course.
If you're up on the Lauberhorn
and look onto the opposite side of Kleine Scheidegg you'll see another area at a similar height
- the Eigergletscher. More advanced skiers will be pleased to hear that there are a few black runs up
here around the Fallboden lift as well as a couple of reds.
You can get back down to Wengen from either the Eigergletscher, Lauberhorn or Kleine Scheidegg areas
(with the latter having the blue option) but all 3 routes (with the exception of the black World Cup run)
eventually end up at the Wengernalp area, sweeping round the corner on a steady blue to Allmend.
If you do come down the World Cup run look out for boards detailing the different sections and jumps
of the course. If you like your Ski Sunday or Eurosport then you'll recognise the names, if not they're still
worth taking a breather at and reading.
There are a couple more black and red runs in the Allmend area, ending down at the foot of the Innerwengen
chairlift, one of the blacks is the Mannlichen World Cup slalom run, which traditionally takes place the
day after the downhill. Back up at Allmend the blue run continues back down into the village - you can then
make your way back over to the cable car and start again or if it's the end of the day head for a well-deserved drink !
Lauterbrunnen Piste Maps
A list of piste-maps for Lauterbrunnen and the surrounding ski areas.
Lauterbrunnen The Resort Itself
Lauterbrunnen Other Activities
Lauterbrunnen Local Knowledge
Lauterbrunnen Apres Ski
The three big Jungfrau resorts - Wengen, Murren and Grindelwald are notoriously laid back. Lauterbrunnen
is no different. It's an ideal resort if you are looking for somewhere quiet, perfect if you have a family and are wanting
to avoid the après-ski maelstrom of some other resorts !
Lauterbrunnen - Any Chance of Early Snow ?
Lauterbrunnen Resort Style
Lauterbrunnen Annual Events
Annual Events in this and neighbouring resorts...
The word 'classic' is often over-used, but not in the case of this race.
Set on the slopes of the Lauberhorn above the Swiss resort of Wengen, this is a race that has the lot - history,
drama and the best scenery on the World Cup calendar.
The 2016 year's event will be the 86th running of the races, making it the longest running of all the
FIS World Cup races. It's traditionally run the weekend before the Hahnenkamm races at Kitzbuhel,
making back-to-back classic downhill races.
Lauberhorn Races »
This spectacular ski race was started back in 1928 by 5 Brits from Murren's Kandahar Club and now has an
important place on the annual ski calendar as one of the biggest and most popular amateur ski races in the world.
The course is just under 15km long, starting just under the Schilthorn
(think James Bond On Her Majesty's Secret Service at 2790m and finishing right down in the valley at
Lauterbrunnen 2000m vertically below. The winner hurtles down in about 15 minutes but there's plenty of
competition - with up to 1800 skiers taking part. The event has become big business for the village of
Murren, with other events in the lead up and a massive Swiss party afterwards.
The 2016 race will be the 73rd running of the event.
Inferno Race »
Lauterbrunnen Useful Links
If you want some further information on Lauterbrunnen, then you might find these links to other sites useful...
Hotels + Chalets in Lauterbrunnen
Lauterbrunnen hotels and chalets.
The Silberhorn Hotel is located in the Lauterbrunnen valley with breathtaking views
of the Jungfrau mountains and the world-famous Staubbach Falls.
It is in a quiet off the main street but only 150m from the
railway station which takes you to the skiing and hiking areas.