I've posted enough reports and articles so you know that when on a destination trip, given the choice between a well-known major ski area and a smaller one that's off-the-beaten-path and frequented mainly by locals, I almost always go for Door #2. This being said; there are a few bucket-list places that have been on my radar for many moons and the Jungfrau region is one of them. There are three separate sectors, each of which can be given their own day: from left to right Grindelwald First, Kleine Scheidegg/Wengen, and Schilthorn/Mürren. For this day, we skied the middle one:
With the exception of my sunny afternoon at Axalp on Monday, we'd basically had five straight days of overcast skies and less than stellar visibility so with Wednesday's absolutely perfect forecast, there was a fair amount of pent-up demand and unsurprisingly a Little Cottonwood Canyon-style procession of cars going up to Grindelwald:
Still, we got a great parking spot only a two-minute walk from the base area at Grund, where you buy your ticket ($66), which includes your train ride in a cog railway up to the village of Kleine Scheidegg -- about half an hour covering 3,700 vertical feet. The only thing I like more than skiing is skiing and riding trains, so this was right in my sweet spot even though we were packed like sardines. Once there, it's basically like an urban train station surrounded by huge mountains, scheduled departures to Wengen, and a separate train that takes you up to the Jungfraujoch (the "Top of Europe") at 11,300 feet:
Here's the Hotel Bellevue des Alpes, where Clint Eastwood and film crew headquartered during the shooting of his 1975 spy movie "The Eiger Sanction" -- haven't seen it in decades so I have to make a point of checking it out again soon.
Despite all the people on the train, once on the mountain, every single lift was ski-on. The three major peaks that are staring you in the face most of the day are the Eiger, the Mönch, and the Jungfrau. Here we are directly below the Eiger North Wall with Mönch to the right:
There are 100km/60 miles of marked trails in this sector, plenty for a day of sublime cruising. About five inches of snow had fallen overnight but due to a thaw the previous week resulting in a refrozen subsurface, the offpiste looked better than it actually skied. No problem, the groomers were plenty of fun.
We eventually headed toward Wengen on the World Cup course:
... and stopped for refreshments with a view before dropping into the village:
Gorgeous conditions in the Männlichen sector:
Around 3 pm, we completed the circuit by returning to Kleine Scheidegg:
Then skied 2,500 verts down through the woods to Brandegg:
And caught the train back to Grund:
In short, the Grindelwald absolutely lived up to its advance billing and the photos don't really convey how spectacular the setting is.