Verbier and Engelberg in the Swiss Alps
Next up on our Ski Europe adventure…Verbier and Engelberg in the Swiss Alps. First, we drove from Les Trois Vallées to Verbier, Switzerland. We chose Verbier for a couple of reasons. 1) Like Les Trois Vallées, Verbier is covered for 5 days of skiing by Vail’s Epic Pass. 2) We had hiked in the Verbier area on the 3rd leg – the Haute Route – of our month of hiking in Switzerland in 2013, and thought it was beautiful. That also meant that there should be some trails for snowshoeing (as these are often hiking trails in the summer), and our focus for these two weeks was more snowshoeing and less skiing.
Which was a good thing, as we weren’t overly impressed with the skiing in either Verbier or Engelberg. One factor was that they REALLY needed snow here by the time we arrived and even more so by the time we left. But in general, the runs were hard to get to from town (spoiled, I know), very spread out, and once you did get to them, there just wasn’t that much variety. Because of this, everyone was on the same runs, so it was also a bit crowded. If it’s going to be crowded, at least give us the huge variety of Vail to ease the pain of the lift lines!! Verbier is supposedly well-known for great off-piste skiing, but there just wasn’t enough snow to get to many off-piste areas.
We knew before we went to Engelberg that the skiing wasn’t going to be the primary reason to be there. Our fourth week in the Alps was the week of the English and French school winter break, so we had searched out a place that was uniquely beautiful and quaint but wouldn’t be a huge draw for hordes of winter-breakers. And uniquely beautiful it was. The cute little alpine town is completely surrounded by mountain peaks (think box canyon like Telluride). We had bright sunshine every day and we walked all of the available hiking/snowshoe trails (and a couple of them twice). We didn’t get our skis out of the bag.
The Brunni carnival parade is held to ‘welcome spring’… Feb 14 seems a little early for spring, but all the next week was sunny with warming temps, so maybe not! Shazam would have a hard time recognizing this song; oh, and don’t miss the gold-cape-clad-bikini-woman!