Swiss Skiing is Not for the Faint at Heart but the View Can’t Be Beat

March 21, 2011

Mike and I grew up on skis. He grew up in the Northeast skiing New Hampshire and Vermont, and I grew up on the West Coast, skiing in Montana and Washington. While Alabama doesn’t present too many opportunities to ski, we figured it was kind of like riding a bike–after a few tries, you’d get it figured out. Skiing in the Swiss Alps forced us to rethink that perspective as we found the trails here to be much steeper, more narrow, and more challenging altogether. Add in two children who have limited skiing abilities, and it’s a recipe for trouble. But, we were up for the challenge. We spent an hour or so in the ski school area helping Kailey and Emma practice their wedge and stopping skills. Needless to say, the ski school slope doesn’t have anything on the “easy” runs, or blue runs, once on the mountain. The green slopes in the U.S. are the “kinder school” slopes in Switzerland. The blue slopes in Switzerland, considered the easiest of the easy, would be a difficult blue slope in the United States. We made our way up the mountain just behind the village of Murren, with the hope of catching a blue slope that wouldn’t send anyone careening off the edge of a mountain. Nice idea but not a realistic one. Mike skied tandem with Emma the whole way down. Kailey was doing all she could to keep from skiing off the edge of the mountain while on a very narrow track with a fairly steep decline. Totally fun but very nerve-racking. We practiced a few more times in the “kinder school” area before trying that run again.

The Jungfrau region offers many opportunities for skiing–Kleine Scheidegg, Grindelwald, Murren, and First. But, if you are new to the sport or haven’t had much experience, ski school is highly recommended. On the upside, the views are unbelievable regardless of the slope you tackle. On the Murren side of the region, you’ll be staring straight at the Eiger, the Monch, and the Jungfrau on each run you take down. You really couldn’t ask for more. If you are a skier, an outdoor adventurer, or are into cold-weather sports, Murren can’t be beat. But, keep in mind, if you take a lift up and decide skiing down might not be the best option, there’s no shame in riding the lift back down. Enjoy the views, take in the breathtaking 360-degree panorama, and remember, easy runs will have their challenges.

Heading toward the Winteregg station

Franz Heinrich, from Frankfurt, Germany, heads down to the lift that will open up a world of "red"," or intermediate runs in the Murren region.

Swiss Skiing

Kailey heading down the "easy" run, the Bob run, on her way to the Allmenhubel station.

Swiss Skiing

This is one of the many runs you can take from the Allmenhubel station, heading back into the village of Murren.

Bissell clan skiing

Mike, Kailey and Emma before they set off down a blue slope toward Murren.