With a legacy of 200 years of skiing, Switzerland is a popular destination for winter aficionados seeking the pristine snow and a multitude of skiing routes. Although skiing did not begin in Switzerland, it is believed that no other country has a stronger ski pedigree. The country is also home to the FIS (International Ski Federation)- the world’s highest governing body for international winter sports.
Visiting Switzerland for its skiing is a time-honored tradition and there are plenty of reasons why this country is such a big hit with snow lovers and skiers. With countless options in a unique country with four different languages, cultural and gastronomic areas, Switzerland’s ski destinations are steeped in a deep-rooted history.
The world’s first recorded winter snow holiday took place at St Moritz in 1864-65. It was also the place where many of the first reported ski descents in the Alps happened in the 1880s and 1890s, including one by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes) who helped popularize the sport in Switzerland.
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Known as the birthplace of alpine winter tourism, St. Moritz is touted as the ski resort “on top of the world”. The resort opened in 1864, built one of the first Swiss lifts in 1935, and has hosted the Winter Olympics twice in 1928 and 1948. Located in upper Engadine, this high-end ski destination begins at an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet and only increases as you reach the tops of its surrounding peaks. Even today hordes of international jet-setters visit St. Moritz looking for an exciting Ski experience and to enjoy a good life.
Interlaken – Jungfrau Region
A host of the legendary Lauberhorn-the highest-attended winter sports event in the world, the Jungfrau region is where the first downhill races took place. Ski tourism in this charming valley dates back to the beginning of the 19th Century and has become more popular since the advent of the Bernese Oberland Railway in 1890, followed by the world-famous Jungfrau Railway in 1912.
Serving as the cultural hub to skiers and riders seeking out the slopes accessed via Jungfraujoch (train), Interlaken is the perfect access point for the grand Eiger, Mench, and Jungfrau peaks. While the ski resorts, Grindelwald and Wengen have enjoyed plenty of modern updates, Interlaken has retained its historic charm and none so much as the 100-year-old Jungfraujoch cogwheel that transports skiers, riders, and sightseers to the top of the Jungfrau, which is Europe’s highest railway stations.
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Best accessed from Zurich and Lucerne, one of Switzerland’s best ski destinations, Engelberg-Titlis is also the perfect spot to start off if you plan on visiting more than one Swiss’ resort. Mount Titlis at an elevation of 3238 meters -above sea level is the ideal place to have your first ski experience! The TITLIS Ski Experience, located halfway up on Mt. Titlis, gives you the full snow experience, easily accessible and perfect to combine with other attractions. A ‘First Ski Experience’ package here includes ski equipment, a professional instructor, and a lift pass for one afternoon. Actor Ranveer Singh too received his first ski lesson here.
This impressive peak is accessed by the TITLIS ROTAIR- the world’s first rotating cable car. Skiers and sight-seers alike can enjoy these views via an interconnected gondola system which joins the village of Engelberg with Mount Titlis via three cable cars. Travelers also appreciate the charming chalets and idyllic Victorian buildings in the village that provide a welcome Old-World respite.
One of the most famous Swiss icons, Zermatt is just as stunning and idyllic as one would imagine. This car-free, charming village sits beneath the majestic, breathtaking Matterhorn-the world’s most famous peak. The 360 kilometers of skiing is exceptional and well-suited to intermediates. Glacial skiing is also possible year-round at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Adventurous mountain enthusiasts will want to experience the Haute Route, a challenging 400-kilometer ski touring route in winters from Zermatt to Mont Blanc! (IANS)