Engelberg, CH, Jan. 23, 2019

Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in Europe and Asia, including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.

Engelberg, CH, Jan. 23, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:48 am

Tuesday was a travel day after the Alfa Romeo snow driving demo in St. Moritz. The 3 hour drive turned into 4 ½ due to an accident on the freeway north of Lucerne and a tedious slog on the local route to get around it. We arrived in Engelberg just after 7PM and stayed at the H+ hotel, which was conveniently across the street for the Engelberg Mountain Guides office.

Engelberg is noted for its off-piste skiing so we reserved guides for Thursday/Friday and skied mostly on piste Wednesday to survey the area.
Engelberg-Titlis-trail-map.jpg


Earlier a severe cold snap had been predicted for this time, but temps dropped only slightly and there was no wind. The top of Titlis was -15C (+5F) on Wednesday/Thursday, but it was probably no colder than -10C (+14F) from Jochstock and Stand ~8,200 feet and lower. I would also say that the evenings were in the single digit F range even though the town of Engelberg is relatively low at 3,400 feet.

We rode the two stage gondola to Stand, arriving about 11AM. View up to Titlis:
IMG_0314.JPG

We later had lunch in the restaurant at left. Engelberg-Titlis is a relatively steep area and heavily north facing, so some slopes are shaded most or all of the day in January.

We skied to the Laubersgrat chair. At 11:15 the sun is just peeking over the top of Titlis from here, with a wispy cloud rising behind the notch below the glacier t-bar.
IMG_0316a.JPG


Looking down from Laubersgrat, The 2, 3 and 4 pistes are now in the sun, but the steeper off piste skier’s left remains shaded.
IMG_0324.JPG


We skied a couple of runs here. From #4 there is a notch where you can view part of the Galtiberg, the longest off-piste route that drops over 6,000 vertical to the valley floor.
IMG_0326.JPG


We then took the rotating Titlis tram to the top. Views off the backside are impressive.
IMG_0330.JPG

IMG_0332.JPG


I was surprised to see snow being made up here but nowhere else.
IMG_0337.JPG

Our guide Thursday told us this is being done to preserve the glacier. Winter snowfall is not declining but formerly significant summer snowfall above 10,000 feet is more often rain now, and that combined with summer heat is melting many glaciers in the Alps.

Now we’re done with the views from Titlis and heading out to ski.
IMG_0339a.JPG


We took two runs on the Ice Flyer chair. There’s one piste but there was some ungroomed next to it where Liz practiced some skills she might need with the guide the next day. The first time we loaded the Ice Flyer we had to back off because some tourists were riding the chair round trip from Titlis. There were a lot of Chinese tourists both days we were at the top of Titlis.

Next we moved to the glacier t-bar.
IMG_0341.JPG


Its skier’s right piste has a view down to the town of Engelberg 6,500 feet below.
IMG_0342.JPG


After 4 runs in the shaded single digit temps up high we needed a break and skied the #1 piste through this notch to Stand.
IMG_0343.JPG

Light was a bit flat on that run. We had a goulash soup and Gluhwein to warm up.

Skiing down the #2 piste from Stand, we dropped off skier’s left near one of the tram towers.
IMG_0345.JPG


Liz on the open slope lower down:
IMG_0350.JPG


There’s a traverse out which leads to a short flat section by the Trubsee.
IMG_0354.JPG

We descended from the tram tower at upper left. The area at center direct from Titlis is the Steinberg, one of the “Big Five” off piste itineraries. The upper Steinberg is glaciated so best skied with a guide.

We then used the Trubsee transport lift to cross to the Jochpass side, which faces NW and gets some afternoon sun.
IMG_0356.JPG


The Steintali off piste starts skier’s left of the top of Jochstock and goes to the base of Engstlenalp. Liz descending there:
IMG_0359.JPG


Both of us skiing lower down.
IMG_0364.JPG

P1230331a.JPG


If you follow the natural drainage, there is a small ridge to the right which ends about 200 vertical below the Engstlenalp lift so you would have to hike back up. We took a conservative early traverse right to intercept the #13 piste.

We then skied two Jochstock pistes in the afternoon sun.
IMG_0365.JPG


It was now about 3:30PM so we skied down the piste next to the Jochpass lift. Looking back up at that:
IMG_0366.JPG

Pistes 5&6 drop from here 2,300 vertical into town. I wanted to get down in decent light as we have a guided off piste day coming up.

Part way down at Untertrubsee we get a good view of the Laub, one of the off piste routes we will ski tomorrow.
IMG_0369.JPG


We skied 20,900 vertical, about 2K of powder.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9931
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Engelberg, CH, Jan. 23, 2019

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:47 pm

Fascinating that they're blowing snow to maintain glaciers. Even more than covering them with tarps during the summer, does snowmaking nullify the definition or force you to call it "an enhanced glacier?"

As I've noted many times, ski maps in the Alps are often laughably inaccurate in conveying the extent of offpiste or the breadth of an area (for example, you'd never guess that Lenzerheide's lift-serviced terrain is almost five miles across, same as Vail). Never having been there, the map makes the upper terrain on Titlis appear somewhat narrow and I'm sure that's not the case.

Did you ride the surface lift on Schonegg on the far looker's left? On the map, it's billed as the steepest one in Switzerland.
User avatar
jamesdeluxe
 
Posts: 3383
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:19 pm
Location: South Orange, NJ

Re: Engelberg, CH, Jan. 23, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:16 pm

I rode the Schonegg surface lift two days later.
Image
I didn't find it all that steep. But this one at Andermatt had a couple of very steep sections.
Image

I responded to James' other comments on the Jan. 24 TR.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9931
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California


Return to Europe & Asia

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


All content herein copyright © 1999-2017 First Tracks!! Online Media

Forums Terms & Conditions of Use