The final bit up to Grindelwald or Wengen is by cog rail. The train is interminably slow, but there are fabulous photo ops. That’s because each village sits amidst some of the most spectacular scenery in Switzerland, now a UNESCO site because of the dramatic setting. Each is under the watchful eyes of the three sisters, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Grindelwald has the dramatically dynamic Eiger with its proverbial face and the sun’s rays change colors in its crevasses throughout the day. Car-free Wengen, just over from Grindelwald, sits above the precipitous Lauterbrunnen Valley with the 72 water falls cascading down its palisades year-round. The nature loving and mountaineering English discovered this pocket of Swiss beauty in the early 1900’s and have been coming back ever since – they’ve always known a good thing when they see it!
Speaking of our English cousins, you do not have to be a member of their ‘Downhill Only Club’ to enjoy the more than 130 miles of trails and 45 lifts that link Grindelwald, Wengen and Mürren. The efficient rail and up-to-the-minute lift systems interconnect the villages with the three ski areas: Kleine Scheidegg, Männlichen, and the Schilthorn – all part of the Jungfrau region’s impressive line-up. The Männlichen cable car atop Grindelwald brings you down to picturesque Wengen’s town’s center. There for those willing to test their mettle against the world’s best racers, you can try the two and a half mile, 3,500 foot vertical Lauberhorn run. It is the longest, most difficult of all World Cup downhill races and in these days of many extreme skiers, the very steep, last 200 yards are open to all.