Festive cheer in Engelberg 11/12/09

5th January 2010, by Chris Gill

<p>Engelberg from Trübsee </p>

Engelberg from Trübsee

Assistant editor Wendy King pops into Engelberg for her first tracks of the season, neatly timed with the arrival of fresh snow:

It was rather wet and cloudy in Engelberg when we arrived for the day on Friday, but we were soon on the snow in the Titlis sector at Trübsee (1800m) – the arrival point of the valley gondola and starting point for slopes in the two distinct areas. And the forecast snowfall arrived by mid-morning: lots of it. Most of the pistes above Trubsee were open, although visibility was lost as soon as we reached Jochpass (2207). We did a few laps of the Jochstock red runs, on about 10cm of fresh ungroomed powder up top – which was accumulating rapidly during the day’s continuous snowfall. Great stuff, but challenging on first-day legs.

Time for a break at the Berghaus Jochpass: a pleasant and uncrowded hut. The warming soups were very tasty. Then it was over to the slopes below Mount Titlis – the connecting Trübsee Hopper quad has received a capacity boost this winter.

Although open, the glacier runs were providing almost zero visibility. A few powder hounds trekked off to descend the Rotegg ski route as there wasn’t any off-piste available (avalanche warnings rose with the new snow). We gave up and got back in the Titlis revolving gondola – we struck lucky and jumped in at the same time as an accordion player, who provided some foot-stomping entertainment on the way down. We could have waltzed our way around the cabin. And I’m sure the rendition of ‘Silent Night’ had some subtle word changes …

Name that tune: party in the Titlis Rotair

Hopping out at Stand (2430m) we just had sufficient time in the dimming afternoon light to do a few laps of the steeper red runs served by the Laubersgrat fast chair, before adding on the lower half down to Trübsee. By now, the fresh snow was excellent. At the top of the chair, a short and flattish piste takes you back to Stand. The newish hut here is delightful: all wood and cosy beamed dining. It was a welcome hideout from the heavy snow before the last run down of the day. We encountered few problems with smoke, despite the Obwalden canton being one of the few not to vote in favour of a ban in restaurants etc.

We took a peek at the newly renovated hotel Trübsee – with its new restaurants, terrace and bar. Perfect timing: the official opening and press gathering was taking place that evening, but not before we were given a guided tour. More of that to follow.

Engelberg is quiet at the moment; in fact the shopping area seemed deserted; we were one of only two groups enjoying a well-earned (and very highly praised) meal at the hotel Central. All of the food here was exceptionally well presented, and the service friendly.

With the heavy snowfall continuing overnight, it was surely an awesome powder day on Saturday. We went off in search of some trees though … and found Meiringen.

Snowing in the resort too …

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