A week before the Easter holidays we decided to book a last minute spring skiing break. A combination of points saved on Avios and cheap flights on off-peak days and times made it all possible. Then an apartment with a flexible booking period sealed the deal, allowing us to secure five days and nights on the slopes.
Having a godfather who lives in a ski resort gave us the perfect excuse to visit. We knew the snow was still excellent in the Alps and there was a clear five-day window.
So we arrived in Wengen by train from Basel airport, laden with Easter chocolates and all the kit needed for a short (ish) ski holiday. The ‘godfather’ conveniently has a ski rental shop (Ski Hire Wengen) in the resort centre, so kitted up early doors on our first morning we were swiftly heading up the Mannlichen cable car for our first runs of the day.
The snow cover was still perfect and all but two chair lifts in the immediate area were open. Skiing down to Brandegg, on the way towards Grindelwald, the runs were soft and we were excited to see the blue run down to Grund train station was also open. This became our secret ski run – each of the three days we skied the Wengen/Grindelwald area, we managed to ski right down to the resort, despite the valley looking beautiful and green.
We’d hoped to connect over to ‘First’ above Grindelwald and try out the ‘First Flyer‘, a lift that carries you from ‘First’ to Schreckfeld, 50m above the ground and at speeds of up to 84 kmph, but unfortunately that ski area had closed – one for our next visit.
On our hottest and last day, the highest pistes below the Eigernordwand chair were corrugated and bone shattering at 9am. Down our secret run, otherwise known as no 22, the pistes were just softening by 10am and super quiet, we loved it!
This hot spell over the Easter holidays was brought by southerly winds, which dropped Saharan dust across much of the Alps; we didn’t have the dust but we did have some very strong winds.
Our fourth day found us rushing to catch the 8.24am train to take part in the Junior AICC races (Amateur Interclub Team Championships). We had discovered these were taking place during our stay, and along with another family we combined our children to make two teams.
The event this spring was supposed to be hosted by the Kandahar Ski Club in Murren, but some confusion over dates meant that the Wengen based English Ski Club, the DHO (Downhill Only Club) stepped in.
Having arrived by train to Kleine Scheidegg above Wengen, all 36 children signed up were ushered into the restaurant along with accompanying parents. Once there we were told that due to the winds, most of the lifts in the resort were closed and that the proposed route on the top section of the famous Lauberhorn run would have to be moved.
An hour later and 12 teams skied down to the ‘Bumps lift’ (except the Bumps T-bar lift had been packed away over a week previously). Each team skied a short GS course in teams of three, and between runs had to walk back up the course. It was a funny sight, but everyone helped each other with the older skiers carrying the younger ones’ skis back up the mountain.
It was great fun and for a day, which looked like it would be scuppered by bad winds, our children said it was one of the best days of their holiday. They made new friends and were made to feel welcome by the many regular young ski racers taking part.
Each year a different English ski club takes on the organisation, so the events move around Europe with amateur ski racing for both adults and juniors. Next year it’s being hosted in Alpbach… fancy signing up?