If you are into winter sports, Switzerland is the perfect destination to visit. For second year in a row, my boyfriend and I took advantage of 2-for-1 offer and spent our January ski-weekend holidays in Jungfrau Region in Bernese Oberland.
Last year we’ve stayed in Grindelwald village from where we’ve explored the ski areas Grindelwald-First and Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen as well as village Wengen. This year’s base was Mürren, a picturesque traditional alpine village located at 1,650 meters above sea level, on a shelf high above the Lauterbrunnen valley.
Mürren is car free and can be reached only by train and cable car from Lauterbrunnen or by cable car from Stechelberg. Due to the proximity of our hotel to the cable car station, we opted for the cable car.
Mürren is idyllic village with the typical Alpine wooden cottages. At the time of our stay were majority of the restaurants and hotels were already open, but the atmosphere was still very quiet and peaceful. I’m not sure if that changes during the high season. It most certainly didn’t look like, but who knows. However, in January is Mürren definitely not the place for those who are searching for après-ski parties. Because our main goal was to ski, lack of off-piste entertainment didn’t bother us. On contrary, we liked the calm and peacefulness of the village very much.
Stretching at the altitude from 1650 to 2970 meters is Mürren’s ski area the highest-altitude winter sports area in Bernese Oberland. The slopes are somehow naturally divided on the lower (Schilgrat, Allmendhubel and Maulerhubel) and higher area (Birg). Birg area lies above the timberline. Slopes there are long and wide, surrounded only by the snow-covered rocks brushed by cold winter winds. Both ski areas are linked with black (difficult) run called “Kannonenrohr” (eng. “gun barrel”). At ideal ski conditions, 54 kilometers of pistes are open for public. Unfortunately, the lack of snow in mid-January caused the Maulerhubel slopes were closed as well as the Snow Park were not yet ready.
Unlike some slopes, the mountain cottages were all open. We’ve visited few, but only one – Schilthornhutte was memorable enough to mention it. It has everything mountain cottage needs: ideal location nearby Muttleren lift, lovely atmosphere, friendly staff, moderate prices and delicious food. To me, it was ideal place for a lunch or just a cup of warm “Heisseschoggi” (eng. Hot Chocolate, or for Slovenian Standards Hot Cocoa).
The highest peak of Mürren ski area is Schilthorn summit at 2970 meters above sea level. Its main attraction is revolving restaurant Piz Gloria, a principal filming location for the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The Bond legacy at Schilthorn is still very much present. The visitors can take a photo with Bond image at the terrace, eat Bond’s breakfast at the restaurant or buy Bond souvenirs at the souvenir shop. After receiving Bond breakfast vouchers at our hotel, we took the early cable car to the top of the summit and treated ourselves with delicious buffet breakfast and spectacular views at Piz Gloria restaurant.
Jungfrau Region is one of my favorite ski areas I’ve ever visited. Although, I loved Mürren village and its pure alpine soul, I think its ski area lacks diversity. In three days we’ve had more than enough time to fully explore all slopes. Because it is a bit remote to other areas included in 3-days Jungfrau Region ski pass (i.e. Kleine Scheidegg – Männlichen, Grindelwald First), I think it is an not an ideal base for a week-long ski holidays in Jungfrau Region, but is a great choice for a shorter ski-holidays as was ours.
I’m sure my boyfriend and I will return to Jungfrau Region soon. We both like the the lovely villages surrounded by the majestic mountains, great ski slopes and a warm and welcoming locals we’ve met. I hope we’ll have a another chance for a skiing trip this winter, if not, we’ll definitely return in the summer to explore what region has to offer in warmer months.
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