Family friendly skiing: Wengen
Happy Monday! And welcome back to the winter series all about discovering family friendly winter fun in Switzerland.
Each Monday during the winter season, we will discover where people who actually live in Switzerland like to spend their winter days with their families. You’ll discover the best way to get there, which skiing abilities the area caters to, where to rent skis and which restaurants to try. And as the weeks go on, we won't forget the non-skiers either!
Next up is toddler mum, Sophie. With her past experience as a luxury travel consultant and 7 years of living in Switzerland under her belt, she knows a thing or two about ski resorts. Where is her favourite place in the Swiss snow? It’s at the car free resort Wengen ….
1. Where is your favourite place to ski?
In Switzerland it's Wengen. We have a holiday apartment there which we rent out. (Details can be found here)
Wengen is a small village located on a sunny plateau above the dramatic Lauterbrunnen Valley. It's car free and great for families because it's small and safe. There is a crèche by the nursery slopes. It's not a luxurious or pretentious resort.
Most visitors stay in the hotels or self catered apartments/chalets and go to ski or do other winter sports rather than shop/hang out or party. (Apart from the Lauberhorn downhill World Cup weekend every January when the village transforms itself into a massive party).
Wengen is part of the Jungfrau region ski area which also includes Grindelwald First and Murren. Both are linked to Wengen but you need a full day at each as it takes about an hour to get over on trains, cables cars and a little walking between.
2. What’s the best way to get there? What’s the parking like? Train Station/Bus Stop close by?
Wengen is a car free resort and only accessible by a 15 min train ride from Lauterbrunnen. You can park in the covered car park at Lauterbrunnen train station. It's not very expensive and you can book in advance for periods of longer than 5 days to guarantee a space. This is particularly essential during peak holiday periods.
If you can't park there, the next closest car park is at the church on the far side of Lauterbrunnen about a 1km walk back to the train station. If you are just going for a day at the weekend you will need to arrive early to get parked.
Otherwise, take the train. All trains change at Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen before arriving in Wengen.
3. What ability does the area cater for?
I would say it's best for intermediates. There are one or 2 blue and black slopes but the rest are mostly red. There's not much off piste skiing.
4. Is there a ski school? What facilities are there for beginners?
There are 2 ski schools in Wengen—the Wengen ski school and Altitude ski school (which is English speaking). The nursery slopes are right in the village center which is great for little ones as it isn't exposed. For older beginners there are further areas at Mannlichen and kleine scheidegg.
5. Best place to rent skis nearby?
Central Sport. Right by the Mannlichen cable car station.
6. Anything for non skiers to do? Sledding/Snow shoeing/Winter Trails?
There are some excellent sledging tracks down to Grindelwald from Kleine Scheidegg and Mannlichen and also one down to Wengen from Kleine Scheidegg. They are long and some sections are quite fast, so take it easy!
There is also an ice skating rink in Wengen and a couple of hotels with pools that you can pay to use as well as a bigger leisure centre in Murren.
There are also lots of walking trails and snowshoeing opportunities on well sign posted paths, as well as the option to cross country ski in Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen.
Non-skiers can get to the top of Mannlichen and Kleine Scheidegg easily so it's possible to meet your skiing party for lunch or a hot chocolate. Non skiers could also take a day trip on the train to Interlaken.
7. Best place to warm up? Anything yummy we should try on the menu?
Hotel Aspen above Grindelwald. You can ski down to it from either Kleine Scheidegg or Mannlichen. It has the best burgers and a wonderful terrace with views up the Eiger.
8. What sets your ski area apart from the rest?
The breathtaking views in every direction. Look in one direction and you see the North Face of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau Mountains, look another and it's the dramatic Lauterbrunnen Valley, another and it's the traditional chalets in Grindelwald.
9. What’s one thing you never hit the slopes without?
A multi pocketed ski jacket to hold money, cards, phone, lip salve, sun cream, lift pass, sun glasses, etc etc!
10. Tell us a bit about yourself, Sophie.
My husband and I moved to Switzerland 7 years ago from London and I spent my first 3 years in Switzerland working from home running the luxury travel consultancy. However, I found myself in the UK for at least a week every month visiting holiday destinations which made me feel like I lived neither here nor in London so I resigned and retrained to teach English as a foreign language. I did that for 2 years until our daughter was born 2 years ago. I'm now a stay at home mum and chief dog walker. I still love all things luxury travel related. In the summer you can find us swimming, paddle boarding or bike riding and in the winter skiing, sledging or snow shoeing.
Thanks Sophie for sharing all about Wengen. I personally would never have thought of Wengen as family-friendly destination because of its association with the world cup ski race - but it sounds great! You learn something new every day!
Do you have a ski area you return to time after time that you would like to share with the Simple Family Travel community? It doesn't have to just be to ski - do you enjoy sledding? Snowshoeing? A spa? We would love to hear from you. Get in contact!