Apr 21, 2018

Our first Ski Experience at the Family-friendly Mt Titlis in Engelberg

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After one night in Zurich - which you can read all about it HERE by the way - we arrived at the one destination that the monkies looked forward to the most.


White snow, blue sky, towering mountains and extremely picturesque surroundings. That's Engelberg-Titlis for you.

An alpine town in central Switzerland, Engelberg is less than a 2-hour train ride away from Zurich and it is BEAUTIFUL. But in all honesty, we came here for the snow.


Prior to this trip, all of us in the family had NEVER ever seen or touch snow. So you can probably imagine the joy when indulging in a real snowball fight became a reality.


Well, that and trying to do this as well. LOL.



The first time I set foot in this quaint little town, I was astounded by the scenery of the snowy Alps rising in the backdrop.


As I stood at the heart of Engelberg and looked around, I saw snow covered majestic Alps rising in every direction. It was paradise.


And we had the chance to call this paradise our home for the next three nights.


We were hosted at Titlis Resort, an extremely family-friendly resort located just at the base of Mt. Titlis (which I will cover in greater detail in the later half of this post).


The resort is centrally located with the Titlis Cableways valley station, train station and Engelberg village centre including shops, restaurants and bars being just a few minutes' walk away.


We stayed in a 3-Bedroom Apartment which came with a living room, dining room, kitchen and a laundry room. Oh yes, free WiFi too in case you are wondering.






The kitchen was a huge plus because all we had to do was to pop by the nearby supermarket to stock up on groceries and our breakfasts and dinners were all settled. The resort also provides a grocery shopping service if you are too lazy to head out - which was what we did during the first day of our stay.


But the snow would always prove a tremendous draw for the monkies. So it was time to get some exploring done.



The thing is when I look back at my time in Engelberg, one scene particularly stands out - that of a small road which was flanked by houses on both sides with the majestic Swiss Alps and its sparkling coat of white snow visible in the background.


It is truly too pretty for words.

But Engelberg is more than just glistering snow and mountains. We paid a visit to the Benedictine Monastery of Engelberg which has greatly influenced the history of this wonderful little town since its founding in 1120 A.D.


Though the earliest cultural and clerical references to it date back to the 12th century, today's structure was rebuilt between the years 1735 and 1740 with the heart and soul of the monastery being its baroque church.


If you are there, do pop by the Show Cheese Factory too, which is housed within the walls of the monastery. This is the only cheese factory in Switzerland within the walls of a monastery, where you can watch cheese being produced by hand!


Of course, there are a variety of cheese platters, delicious fondues and several tasty desserts on sale here as well.


For the monkies though, nothing beats hanging out at the outdoor kids' playground... because they love not perspiring after all the playing!


However, all the above activities paled in comparison when the time finally arrived for us to make our ascent to Mt. Titlis - which is what ALL visitors come to Engelberg for.


At 3,020 metres above sea-level, Mt. Titlis is the jewel in Central Switzerland's crown and the only glacier in the area. In fact, it is famously known for having only one season all year round, and that’s WINTER!


To get to the top of Mt Titlis, we first had to take the Cable Car from the base station at Engelberg. The base station is also where you can purchase tickets, rent winter clothing or ski equipment and grab a hot beverage.


The cable car connects Engelberg to the top of Klein Titlis (3,028m) through three levels – Gerschnialp (1,262m), Trübsee (1,796m) and Stand (2,428m). Alternatively, there is the Titlis Xpress which brings visitors from the valley station directly to Stand and from there, all you need is to take one the Rotair to the summit - this will the fastest and most convenient way to reach Mt Titlis.

The first level took us up with views of the Swiss Alps surrounding us all four sides while below us lay the beautiful city of Engelberg. The feeling of rising higher towards the majestic snow covered Alps, as the town below became smaller and smaller is one which I shall treasure for a long time to come.


After the firsl level, we gradually approached the second level where a host of fun activities for families awaited us.

First up, the Titlis Glacier Cave!


Now this was one cool experience. The Glacier Cave is a tunnel cored through a part of the Titlis glacier, 20m below its surface and 150m long.


The experience was even more surreal when we found out that the ice here was frozen long before prehistoric man discovered how to make fire! And the blue light? It is all natural lighting, caused by the refraction of light. All very Instagram-worthy... but my models were a little too cold to pose as you can tell. LOL.


To get to the summit of Titlis, we had to take the Titlis Rotair, the world's first revolving gondola.


On the way up, expect to be greeted with views of sheer cliff faces, deep crevasses and snow-covered mountain peaks all around Mt Titlis. Well, that is if you go on a day where there are clear skies.


When we were there on the first day, this was all we saw when we got to the peak.


There was heavy snowfall all around, and everything around us is a blanket of white. All I needed was Elsa to appear and sing 'Let It Go' and my life is complete.


But at least the monkies had loads of fun in the snow!


One of the highlights at the summit is the Titlis Cliff Walk because at 3,041 metres above sea-level, it is Europe's highest suspension bridge! On our first day up there, this was all that we managed to see.


Well, nothing much actually since it was snowing heavily.

It was a different story on our second day up there.


Same spot but different weather conditions. We were blessed with clear blue skies on the second day and the views on the bridge was simply spectacular!





For even more amazing views, hop on to the chairlift Ice Flyer... which was what we did.


At more than 3,000 meters, we had a breathtaking panoramic view of the glacier crevasses beneath our dangling feet. It was amazing but probably a little too overwhelming for Ale - as you can probably tell from her facial expression in the photo above.


The mountain station also offers food options, a panorama terrace, and also serves as a hideout for people to hide from the wintry chill.



But if you are like the monkies, chances are you will be playing yourself silly in the snow outdoors.


For me though, there is always an excuse for ice cream.


The sensation of standing there and being greeted by snow covered mountains on every side (with an ice cream cone in hand) was just a surreal one.

I would have stayed on the summit far longer but for the monkies' incessant nagging for us to get going. All because for this one little activity.


Our family's first ski experience!


If you are looking to try skiing at least once in your lifetime, Titlis is the best place to do it. Go for the First Ski Experience which costs CHF55 per hour, and you get all the basic ski equipment needed and make your first slides immediately with an experienced instructor.


Being novices, we were taught the basic ski stances and how to come to a stop on a slope.




We started on a gentle slope to begin our slides down and I have to say it was definitely not as easy as it looked! A plus point is having the automated escalator which brought us back to the top of the gentle slope after every descent.


As it turned out, the monkies enjoyed their first time skiing so much that we extended the ski lessons for another hour!




If skiing is not your thing, then you can also whiz your way down a slope at the Titlis Glacier Park on one of the fun balancers or minibobs!



And not to worry, there is the 'magic carpet' conveyor belt which can whisk visitors quickly and easily back to the top. No prizes for guessing how many times the monkies went whizzing down the slope.


Besides experiencing their first ski moments, the monkies also had their very first snowmobile experience!


Ash and Ayd were deemed old enough to drive one on their own so I need not tell you the sheer delight they had when they took their snowmobiles for a spin.


Do note that the snow fun activities comprising of the minibobs are at Trübsee during Winter and on the summit of Titlis during summer while the snowmobiles are only available in winter.

Oh and here is something that I only found out during my visit to Titlis: I never knew I can actually see a snowflake's design with my own eyes.


Can you see it??? It was so utterly MAGICAL!!!

And magical is also the correct word to sum up our amazing 4D3N stay at Engelberg-Titlis. And it was made even more awesome by Peter who acted as our guide throughout our stay there.


The experiences of holding snow in our hands, playing with it and even falling on it made our visit extremely special. Especially since it was our first time doing all of the above.


I think I am already missing the powdery slopes of my ice kacang.


As well as everything else that came with it.



I have no doubt that these fond memories will stay with us forever.


Especially for Ale.


This photo was taken just right after we checked out of Titlis Resort and if you zoom in on the photo, you can clearly see a tear right below her right eye. Yes, she cried buckets when we were about to leave because she really did not want to leave Engelberg.

In the end, we decided to leave our mark by building 5 tiny snowmen at the resort. Actually, it was Ale who built them. She only built one initially but decided to build another 4 more because she insisted "We are family. Without his family, the one snowman will be so lonely and cold".


And even though we have long left Mt. Titlis, the memories of my family's time among the snow-covered Engelberg-Titlis peaks are those which I can never forget.




Useful Information

Switzerland Tourism - www.MySwitzerland.com
Engelberg - http://www.engelberg.ch/en/
Mt Titlis - https://www.titlis.ch/en
Titlis Resort - https://www.titlisresort.ch/en/resort
Swiss International Airlines - www.swiss.com



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4 comments :

Anonymous said...

Hi,
May I know which part of December did you visit Mt Titlis? Reason being I would wish to bring my kids 5 & 12 for winter holiday to experience snow and skiing for the first time ever but can only travel during the 1st two weeks of December. However I have not been too successful in my research on the opening dates for the ski places.

TIA for your reply.
Lynn

Kelvin Ang said...

Hi,

We went during the first week of December last year. Mt Titlis was already opened, in fact I think they open much earlier! Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Hi, how many days would you suggest to stay in the area if we do not plan to ski? Also, would you say it is better to stay in Engelberg or is a daytrip manageable from Zurich (with young children)?

Thank you!

Kelvin Ang said...

Hi,

Even if you do not wish to ski, there are plenty of other stuff to do on Mt Titlis too. So I suggest at least spend a day up there. 2 nights at Engelberg will be good enough.

A day trip from Zurich is doable but personally, I prefer Engelberg more than Zurich because I love the cosy old charm that the small town exudes. It's really a small town because everywhere can be covered on foot!

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