Wengen, Switzerland Ski Holidays

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Wengen has the upperhand of being the central link in the Jungfrau chain of resorts, sharing  with Grindelwald the Kleine Scheidegg and Mannlichen areas. The trip to Murren is arduous - one train going down to Lauterbrunnen and two more up on the other side - but it is easier than from Grindelwald. The short main street is filled with shops and hotels, the center of a compact village that stretches up and down over the touching slopes.

Access is quicker from Wengen even though most of the runs are on the Grindelwald side of the Kleine Scheidegg-Mannlichen ridge. Many of the valley trains serve skiers in Wengen, then proceed up to Kleine Scheidegg. The Mannlichen cable-car is much quicker, but is prone to queues in peak times. Wengen caters nicely to complete beginners, bearing dedicated slopes covered by two lifts close to the Mannlichen base station, while the mild return piste from Kleine Scheidegg entails that they could have the gratification of skiing from top to bottom in only a few days.

Wengen's gem is the men's downhill starting from the top of the Lauberhorn, the longest and among the hardest on the World Cup circuit. It is a red cruiser for holiday skiers, having an easy out round the steepest part, where you'll encounter the notorious Hundschopf bumps.

The train going to Eigergletscher or the Salzegg draglift opens up 3 rolling but mild black pistes, Blackrock, Schwarzen and Oh God, which doesn't live up to its alarmist name. There are some serious off-piste runs under the North Face of the Eiger, including the celebrated White Hare, which starts at Eigerwand. Being quite avalanche-prone, they're rarely open and must only be taken on with a guide.

The Hotel Jungfrau at Wengernalp features the best restaurant on all three mountains, with a an expensive menu and a sun terrace ruled by the North Face. The Grosse Scheidegg station buffet boasts fantastic food at fair prices, but getting a free table is a different story. The Kleine Scheidegg Tipi is famous for its grilled meat, jazz and geniality, backed by free-flowing booze.

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