Ski Lifts in Grindelwald
Grindelwald’s ski lft system may be charming and enjoyable, but it is also slow and long overdue for improvement. Faster lifts with more capacity and better lift connections need to be implemented more quickly if the lift system is to become consistent with Grindelwald’s status as a ‘Best of the Alps’ resort.
Grindelwald Ski Lifts
In typical Swiss style, little trains (usually red) grind up improbably steep slopes to reach spectacular tourist viewpoints from all three villages. This looks charming and can be an enjoyable ride if you get a window seat, but it’s not a quick way up the mountain.
Kleine Scheidegg & Mannlichen
The railway climbs from Grindelwald/Grund to Kleine Scheidegg with a couple of stops along the way. From Grindelwald village you must first take the connecting shuttle train down to Grund, or get the bus. None of this guarantees the best start to your day unless you’re very keen on trains, nor is it speedy. The only alternative to the train is the slow Mannlichen four-person gondola, also from Grund.
Once you’re on the mountain there are 20 lifts spread across the large area. One of the most recent is the Lager quad chair; the fact that they can get away with a four-seater may be explained by the inefficiency of the rest of the lift system which restricts the rate at which people can reach the main slopes. This should at least ensure that it is never too crowded on the way down. From Wengen it’s a similar story: slow train or busy cable car to Mannlichen.
If you prefer getting up the mountain by ski-lift rather than train, you’ll find some of those, like the Mannlichenbahn gondola from Grindelwald, are not the fastest either; it helps to take a relaxed attitude to your piste bashing or aim to stick to the faster lifts where possible. For an area of this size the total lift capacity of just 42,000 people per hour tells a story, but at least the ticket system is hands-free.
To get off to a good start from Grindelwald you can ride up from 08.00 and from 08.15 from Wengen. Avoid the worst of the queues from the valley stations at around 10.00am in high season.
Much needed improvements are planned for the system: the slow gondola will be replaced in a few years, along with the last of the T-bars which will be replaced by chair lifts.
One of First’s many advantages is that you avoid the train. The main lift, a six-person gondola, rises 1000 vertical metres from the village in three stages. There are also three chairlifts including the Schilt quad and three drag lifts.
Grindelwald Ski Lift Passes
There are several options when you buy your pass: novices use points cards for the nursery slope lifts, while the Grindelwald-Wengen and Mürren-Schilthorn passes do what they say. There’s also a Sportpass Jungfrau ticket which covers the whole region and an additional ‘Top Ticket’ for the Jungfraujoch – a journey which should be made, even by the keenest skiers (there’s no way to ski down to the resort area from the top, so it’s a tourist outing) on the first fine day in resort. You’d be crazy to come to the area and miss this trip; if you’re fit and a reasonable skier, make it a part of the Lotschenlucke day tour off piste. But beware – it’s expensive!
There is also a ‘Hike-and-Sledge Pass’ for access to the extensive trails; again, it’s not cheap though compares well with some resorts where non-skiers are priced off the mountain.