Beginners have a great nursery slope area right in the heart of the resort which is great, so long as snow cover is adequate, which it usually is. If not, however, the ski school tends to take classes up on the train to Wengernalp where there’s another good area. Wengen’s slopes are laid out in a rather unusual way and the only way back to the resort is long and fairly flat, mainly following the train line, or just riding back on the train itself. The long run is actually good for beginners to practice on if the snow is in good shape and it’s not too crowded – expect to come across dog walkers and toboggannists on it too! The ski school itself has a very good reputation and perfect English, having been teaching Brits for the best part of a century, ever since the Brits first taught the local Swiss that you could have fun skiing downhill, and not just use it as a method of getting around.
With trails up to 12km (7.5 miles) long and more than 200km (125 miles) of them on the Jungfrau Pass, Wengen is something of a paradise for recreational skiers. It feels special to be skiing the same trails that so many have for so many years before, and at every turn there’s another awe-inspiring view of the mighty Jungfrau peaks. Each morning there’s a choice of taking the Mannlichen cable car up to that sector of the ski area, or the funicular railway up to the KleineScheidegg sector. The two areas meet up with ski lifts and runs on the slopes and both connect to Grindelwald’s skiing too, with the separate First ski area, also on the pass, over on the other side of the resort. The whole region is criss-crossed with more than 60km of easy and intermediate graded blue and red runs.
Wengen is home to one of the world’s best known and toughest ski race courses, the Lauberhorn, but some critics feel there isn’t much more to challenge advanced skiers beyond that. However, fans of the resort argue that their vision is rather limited and point to seven black runs locally and more than 20 in the wider Jungfrau region, including other famous trails like Oh God! and Black Rock. There are also long-standing off-piste itineraries to tackle with a guide, the chance to go heliskiing, and the option of skiing over to Grindelwald or taking the train to Murren, where there are more long, steep black runs, one of the most famous taking you down to the resort from the revolving restaurant at Schilthorn, made famous in the James Bond film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (Money from the film company actually funding its completion).
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
Wengen doesn’t really go out of its way to attract snowboarders. The small terrain park there was at Mannlichen has now closed and there’s still rather a lot of drag lifts and flat sections on the runs – particularly the trail back to the village itself. But it is possible to have a thoroughly enjoyable boarding holiday here if you keep those points in mind and just head for the freeriding areas and perhaps use the train or cable car to get back to the village at the end of the day.
There are two terrain parks you can get to over snow (just about) in Grindelwald’s First area. The White-Elements park is aimed at beginners with smaller kickers and boxes. There is also a bordercross there but the park is located on top of the Oberjoch, about the furthest point from Wengen. The other park is the White-Elements park for experts accessed by the Bärgelegg lift which has much bigger kickers, a 120 metre long pipe, rails and wall rides.
There isn’t any cross country skiing at all in Wengen, so you may be better to stay elsewhere if this is a primary attraction of your Wengen holiday. On the other hand there are cross country ski runs in the vicinity, easy to reach with the train, so as long as you don’t want to glide off from your doorstep, you’re fine.
The biggest network of around 55km surrounds Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken below; the only problem there is that they are at quite a low altitude so snow cover is not guaranteed, particularly in early winter or late in the season. Over at Grindelwald there’s another 17km of trails, the majority of it easy but 7.5km of the terrain rated difficult, black, for good cross-country skiers.
Wengen Average Snow And Weather Conditions
Despite the fact that the railway line climbs above Wengen to a permanent snowfield, the ski area itself is not one of the highest in the Alps and it does not have predominantly north facing slopes either, which means that many are largely sunny all day rather than in shadow, which is good news for your tan!
The resort has been investing in snow-making however, and this now covers 50% of the runs (the 50% that need it most) so long as it’s cold enough. But Wengen does clock up 5.3 metres (nearly 18 feet) of natural snowfall on average each winter anyway.