Good snow in Switzerland

2nd February 2009, by Editor Watts

Editor Dave Watts flies home on Monday after a 5-night stay in two low Swiss resorts. Here’s his report.

Last time I was in Villars many of the pistes were sheet ice. This time they were packed powder, and delightful. In two gloriously sunny days I enjoyed splendid cruising on well-groomed slopes and the cold temperatures kept the snow in top condition. Highlights included splendid carving on a hugely wide slope from Meilleret, served by a T-bar, and a deserted run, first thing in morning, down from Meilleret to Les Diablerets.

The latter was followed by a trip to the Diablerets glacier (aka Glacier 3000) with its stunning views over the Rhone valley to a panorama of peaks including the Matterhorn - best admired from the Quelle du Diable hut, perched on a cliff at skier’s right of the glacier. The Combe d’Audon (one of my favourite runs, which gets right away from all signs of lifts) and the run from the cable-car mid-station were shady, with excellent snow and deserted.

Then I moved on to the Jungfrau resorts. Day 1 here was gloriously sunny again and I did two of the epic runs in the Alps. First thing in the morning, the Lauberhorn World Cup downhill run to Wengen - rock hard and with much less fresh snow than was in Villars, but still very enjoyable (and deserted). Then, at Mürren, the fabulous descent from the Schilthorn down to Lauterbrunnen, with good snow all the way. This amounts to over 2000m vertical, although I did pause in the delightful village of Mürren to have lunch on the terrace of the Bellevue hotel, which has stunning views over the valley towards the Eiger.

Sunday was cloudier (as is the forecast for the rest of the week) but the First area of Grindelwald was generally in good condition, and the chamois were everywhere - some of them running just 10m in front of us as we rode a T-bar.

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