Jungfrau Region, Switzerland

Best Ski Resorts in Europe
Snow Report: Europe

To generalize, snow in the Alps tends to be more powdery and abundant than what you'll find in New England, drier but less abundant than in the Sierra Nevada or Cascades, and also less abundant but wetter than the Rockies. With verticals measured in thousands of feet, the conditions at higher elevations in the Alps are generally much better than down low near the villages.

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Switzerland's Jungfrau Region is dominated by some of most famous summits in the Alps, notably the Eiger, the Jungfrau (which you can ascend via train, one of the best scenic rail journeys on the planet), and the Schilthorn.

There are three main resorts, connected by a reliable train to the temperate Interlaken in the valley below. Grindelwald (www.grindelwald.ch), Wengen (www.wengen-muerren.ch), Mürren and a couple of smaller ski centers are widely scattered in valleys connected by some 50 ski lifts and scores of runs. The terrain is suitable mostly for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders. Multi-mile routes connect the three resorts, and the unsurpassed scenery is a bonus that comes with every lift pass.

With solid and traditional architecture, all three resorts exude an air of staidness and conservatism. A British Methodist minister named Harold Lunn brought the first English visitors to the Jungfrau Region in 1910, and his son, Sir Arnold Lunn, developed the first slalom race here a decade later.

The longest men's downhill race on the World Cup circuit is held on the Lauberhorn. Ski racers blitz this course in about two minutes, but recreational skiers can traverse into it from a high, sun-kissed valley called Kleine Scheidegg down to Wengen at leisure.

This region has been especially popular with British skiers for nearly a century, and it's never lost its appeal with English-speakers. There's even an English-language weekly newspaper. Wengen and Mürren are car-free, which makes these resorts additionally pleasurable.


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