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Ski Holidays | Lakes Holidays | City Breaks | Mountain Holidays
Mürren Schilthorn Ski Resort Switzerland
Muerren Schilthorn is a massive beast of a Swiss ski resort rising spectacularly above the Lauterbrunnen valley near Interlaken. Part of the expansive Jungfrau Ski Region, Mürren Schilthorn provides all the thrills that any freerider could ask for! Non-skiers will enjoy the multiple exhilarating winter activities available the region, including some of world’s most incredible train journeys in the ultimate Alps glacier environment.
Any trip to the region should include a few days exploring the wonderful Grindelwald / Wengen Ski Area. Just across the valley from Mürren Schilthorn, the area is included in the Jungfrau ski pass. Grindelwald Wengen has wonderful terrain, stupendous surroundings & numerous long piste trails.
- High elevation terrain & immense skiable vertical of 2,174m.
- Incredible off-piste freeride terrain.
- Uncrowded, no lift lines.
- Amazing Swiss Alps mountain scenery.
- Some of the world’s most spectacular cable car rides.
- Good range of piste trails for intermediates & above.
- Quiet car free villages above the valley.
- Loads of non-ski winter activities for the non-sliders amongst us.
- Easy public transport access by train.
- Terrain, trails & lift placements are complex making navigation for first time visitors a challenge.
- Critical cable cars from Mürren to Birg & Schilthorn run on a timetable rather than constantly, imposing needless wait times.
- Lift infrastructure is dated & chairlifts are all low capacity (mostly doubles).
- The one valley trail to Lauterbrunnen becomes a narrow icy road near the bottom – intermediates beware!
Pro or Con (depending on your perspective!)
- Main resort village of Murren only accessible by train & cable car which can be awkward for those with excess luggage!
- Limited accommodation in Mürren.
- Freeride terrain is imposing & some skiers may require a guide – at least initially.
- Mürren is a car free village – so no driving direct to the chalet, but oh the blissful quiet!
Skiing & Snowboarding, Lifts & Terrain
The Mürren Schilthorn skiing & snowboarding terrain ranges from astounding on a blue bird powder day to potentially frightening during a blizzard. The stats tell one tale – a skiable vertical of 2,170m, 58km of trails, longest ski trail of 15km, summit height of 2,970m all served by a train, funicular, 3 cable scars, chairs & a few other odds & sods. The reality computes with the stats but it is not until one gets to the Lauterbrunnen valley that the true scale & potential of the ski resort becomes clear.
The on-piste ski terrain is best suited to intermediates & above. The trail network & ski lift placement is complex for the first-time visitor, so have a good look at the trail map before committing to anything. The 15km Inferno run (from the summit of Schilthorn all the way down to Lauterbrunnen) competition occurs in late January every year. It is possible to ski it at other times in one hit but there are some long flats & short uphill sections that are best avoided.
Better to ski it in three parts and utilise the Muttleren & Maylerhubel chairlifts to get the best pitch all the way down.
Off-piste, the freeride terrain is amazing for advanced & expert riders. A vast array of steep alpine chutes, bowls, ridges & cliffs are available for the intrepid. Scoping out the terrain in good visibility is essential, particularly the entry points below the Schilthorn-Piz Gloria, around Birg (into the Blumental) & beyond the Kandahar chairlift down toward Winteregg.
Ski lifts in the resort, unlike Grindelwald Wengen across the valley, are neither super-modern nor super-high volume, but that reflects the relatively low skier numbers here & is also indicative of the terrain requiring cable cars to ascend the more precipitous sections. A series of efficient new cable cars are due to be rolled out from 2021, starting from the top. The modern designs will improve operations during high winds plus increase capacity & speed.
The Jungfrau Ski Region resort includes masses of terrain across the valley from Muerren accessible by train from Lauterbrunnen.
Where is Mürren Schilthorn Switzerland?
The Jungfrau ski region & the resort area of Muerren-Schilthorn is in central Switzerland just south of the city of Interlaken.
Interlaken is 55km by road south-east of Bern & only 120km south-west of Zurich. The main international gateway airport is Zurich (ZRH) and the recommended mode of travel from the airport to the ski resort is by train. Jungfrau’s ski resorts are connected to the rest of Switzerland by a wonderful railway system via Interlaken.
Trains from Zurich go via Bern to Interlaken Ost in a round 2hr, or via the scenic route through Lucerne in around 3hr. All train journeys from Interlaken Ost into the resort are included in the Jungfrau Ski Region lift pass.
The gateway village to Murren Schilthorn is Lauterbrunnen & from there the journey feels a touch convoluted. The local topography is so dramatic that no journey is too simple from the valley.
Trains from Interlaken Ost make the journey to Lauterbrunnen in 30min, leaving every 30min! From Lauterbrunnen, across the road from the train station, a cable car ascends to Gruetschalp where it is met by another train for the 15min journey to the fringes of Muerren..
In Murren one then needs to walk for 10-15min to the next lifts (either a funicular, cable car or chairlift). An alternative is to take a bus from Lauterbrunnen to the other valley cable car base at Stechelberg. Ascending two cable cars via Gimmelwald gets one directly to the lift base in Muerren.
Anyone driving to the Jungfrau region (not recommended) & staying in Muerren or Gimmelwald should note that the villages are car-free & vehicles need to be parked at Lauterbrunnen or Stechelberg. The journey can only be completed by combination cable car & train to Mürren or two cable cars via Gimmelwald.
The car free village of Mürren (1,630m elevation) is the perfect spot to explore the ski region for an extended period during winter. In the heart of the action, Muerren provides the quickest access to the ski slopes of the Schilthorn. Its location on a ‘bench’ above the valley cliffs gets a good dose of morning sunshine and has the requisite breath-taking views to go with it.
Most accommodation is ski-in or awfully close to it. For the best lodgings in the resort, stay at 4-star Hotel Eiger, located just across from the train terminus in Muerren.
Below Murren, the important village of Lauterbrunnen (796m elevation) sits in the bottom of the deep valley, frozen waterfalls clinging to cliffs above it. It is a spectacular location, albeit with limited sun in the depths of winter. The village is well-placed to ski the resorts on either side of the valley. Lauterbrunnen’s railway station is the arrival point for trains from Interlaken & the starting point for trains to Wengen & beyond. The cable car to Mürren extends up the mountain from just across the road. The long valley trail from Winteregg ends in Lauterbrunnen at the cable car station.
Connected to Muerren & the valley by cable car, car-free Gimmelwald (1,367m elevation) provides a quiet alternative. Similarly located like Mürren on a bench above the precipitous valley cliffs, Gimmelwald also gets late morning sun (albeit less than Murren!) plus enjoys views across to the Jungfrau & other peaks.
Accessible from the ski area via an advanced ski route, Gimmelwald has a couple of affordable, traditional Swiss lodging options just near the cable car station. Access to Gimmelwald is from the valley at Stechelberg, which is connected by bus from Lauterbrunnen.
The town of Interlaken is good for a central location to ski the entire Jungfrau region & also to save a few pennies. You can stay in the magnificent contemporary Interlaken Youth Hostel near the Interlaken Ost train station, 5-star grand hotels like the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa & everything in between.
If the fabulous skiing, views, food & fun are not enough, or if your group includes those of the avowed non-sliding variety, the Muerren -Schilthorn & broader Jungfrau region have more non-ski activities than most ski areas in the world.
The train journeys alone are a full day out. A full round journey to the Jungfrau Sphinx observatory via Lauterbrunnen, Wengen & Grindelwald from Interlaken is the adventure of a lifetime for many visitors to the area. In fact, many trains have far more tourists than skiers on any sunny winter’s morning.
The mountains have some amazing cliff walks (including the awesome Thrill Walk below Birg), 100km of gorgeous winter walking trails & over 50km of sledding (sledging/rodelbahn/tobogganing) trails. If you don’t ski but are prepared for a bit of fun, the sledding trails are so good it is possible to go faster than a skier. At full tilt we got passed by several sledders coming down into Lauterbrunnen one day, & then Wengen the next.
A more sedate activity for pedestrians is taking the cables cars up to the 2,970m Schilthorn-Piz Gloria summit & hanging out in the rotating restaurant enjoying the incredible views. The James Bond 007 museum may interest some. Strangely, the toilets on Schilthorn are worth a visit – quite humorous!
Nearby Interlaken has most of the evening action in the form of night-time ice skating, casinos & a few rowdy bars. Also, after dark there is always some great dining & live entertainment to be enjoyed in the mountain villages.
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