Once again Christmas has come and gone and we are looking into the new year. As usual we’ve been getting into the mountains as much as possible. Here in Switzerland it snowed most of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with perfect sunshine and blue skies for Dec 26th. Normally, St. Stevens Day(Boxing Day for you Brits!) is one of the busiest days of the year in Swiss Ski resorts so we decided to get away from the crowds and do a bit of a tour.
Early on the morning of the 26th we took a lift out of the town in Engelberg. At the top of the lift we put on our skins and hiked for an hour up to a ridge line. We were the first to get there and as we took off the skins our excitement of the ride ahead was building. One at a time we dropped into a perfect slope with 40cm of fresh powder. We descended about halfway to the village and then put the skins back on and started climbing a snow covered fireroad to another ridge line. From the ridge we enjoyed the view towards Luzern and the surrounding mountains before once again enjoying a totally untracked descent back to the valley and heading back to Engelberg to pick up our car. During the course of the day we did not see one other person and judging by the amount of traffic leaving Engelberg the resort was packed. Santa definitely gave us the best Christmas present we could wish for!
Due to minimal snowfall since Christmas we’ve been using the rest of the week to check out a couple of resorts which we hadn’t visited before. Disentis has been on the to do list for some time due to it’s reputation as a freeride location. When we visited conditions weren’t great for freeriding, but it was good to get a feel for the resort and suss out the lie of the land to return after the next dump of snow. I’ve been up to Malbun a few times in summer and always meant to check it out in winter. It proved to be a good small family friendly area with very modern facilities.
Disentis is a great resort with a good mixture of on-piste terrain and plenty of freeride possibilities. It’s also far enough off the beaten track to keep the crowds away. There is one small bottle neck at the top of the cablecar when getting on the first chair lift, but the lift moves relatively fast and when you are on the mountain there is hardly no waiting anywhere. The day we visited was quite busy in many other resorts and we enjoyed a great days skiing with relatively speaking very few people on the mountain.
Malbun in Lichtenstein turned out to be a great uncrowded small family resort with a good mix of terrain for the whole family. Again when we visited it was a busy day in the likes of Flumseberg and Hoch-ybrig. We did have some lift lines at the bottom of the Täli and Hochegg lifts, but the lines moved quickly and there was not too many people on the pistes.