Motorhome Skiing Hits Switzerland
Our motorhome skiing trip moved on from Samoëns to Grindelwald in Switzerland. The idea of including Switzerland in our motorhome skiing trip, was principally to catch up with both Christina and Paul who we met on the Antarctica cruise. So, we extended our stay and experienced skiing in Switzerland as well as Austria and France in this mammoth motorhome skiing adventure.
The scenery from Geneva to Grindelwald was just breathtaking. I wonder if there is a prettiest motorway competition, if so, I think Switzerland is in with a good shout!
We arrived at our campsite (Camping Eigernordwand) in the early evening. Wow we were impressed. Greg had spotted a campsite from the road and said, “oh I wish we’d booked that one”. Guess what, we had! Knigel (our Knaus motorhome) has a ski in, ski out pitch at the Grund end of town. This has to be the best located campsite on our entire motorhome ski tour.
Our host met us and showed us to our pitch. It is right next to the toilet block, which in the Summer I would hate, but appreciate in the Winter so I don’t have far too walk. The facilities are all clean and warm but not as up-to-date as I imagined. I think that my imagination had conjured up Swiss watch bathrooms, but it was more Casio than Rolex.
After setting up Knigel, we walked to the train station to buy our lift passes for the rest of the week.
So, is Switzerland expensive? Hell yeh! The lift passes were 50% more than in Austria, which we thought was expensive. Food and drink is also pricey, so our plan is to take out sandwiches and have piste picnics.
Motorhome Skiing Experience
Day 1: Mega Männlichen
Day 1 of motorhome skiing hits Switzerland. The day started with a short ski down to the Männlichen lift, which is a couple minutes from the campsite. Unfortunately, we seemed to have picked rush hour. It was heaving. We heard many British voices and got chatting to a group of Welsh guys. They were fabulous, they helped us across the pistes at the top to get us over to Kleine Scheidegg. This was more complicated than it looked.
The Männlichen gondola is the longest in Europe at over 6 kms. Boy, does it take a long time. It’s around 30 minutes to the top. Great views, though. We shared our lift with a lady and 2 dogs, perfect. Greg and I just fussed them the whole way. So cute!
We had a fun day skiing together. The weather was beautiful. Greg found the route home but unfortunately we had to pole it a lot of the way. Grindelwald does seem to have a lot of runs that have some uphill or flat sections. Fine if you know and can tuck, but not if you’re new to the slopes.
The runs here are very wide, which is great given that they were busy today. We headed back to Knigel for lunch, then back up on the lift for more skiing fun in the afternoon.
Day 2: The Top of Europe
Another great day of skiing, combined with a trip to the top of Europe. So, back to how expensive Switzerland is……..we paid £50 to get to the top. This was 50% off because we had > 3 day ski passes. Wowsers!
The train up takes around 40 minutes, during which time you can watch videos in many languages about the station at the top. There were a lot of Chinese people on the train, who apparently came just for this bit as they didn’t have skis.
The view from the top was, indescribable. I have decided that I love mountains. My love expands to all of nature, but mountains are just special. They have a way of taking your breath away (literally if you run up, which clearly I don’t). During this trip I have discovered that I like to be dwarfed by the scenery (no small jokes please, I am 5ft 4” so not that tiny). I find that the magnificence of size has such a calming and relaxing effect on me.
The actual “attraction” at the Top of Europe is pretty rubbish. Definitely not worth the money to us. There are a lot of shops, Lindt, watch shops, restaurants. An ice room – don’t go in there in ski boots. Ooops, we did and had to try and skate around avoiding all the ideally foot clad Chinese tourists. It was a bit of a nightmare. Also an Alpine experience, that was lacking in any soul.
Anyway, it was amazing scenery!
Day 3: Book Club
Ended up being a reading day as we had heavy snow then heavy rain with zero visibility. I have enjoyed the odd reading day. When you are travelling all the time you can neglect a little time to nourish yourself in a quiet way. We have been reading self-development and fiction books, sharing thoughts along the way.
Day 4: Chilly Toes
Skiing was great. A little windy at the top, which made the chair lift pretty unpleasant but we braved it out. I found that my feet were absolutely freezing. My toes were numb and I wanted to cry. After Googling, I discovered that this maybe is because I was wearing two pairs of socks. I will resolve this tomorrow, I hope!
A fun time skiing and a new way home that we enjoyed. We then got the ski bus into the centre of Gindelwald for a walk around. It’s a very pretty town. The train back to Grund was easy and then we just settled down for the night.
Day 5: Rain, Rain, Rain
Today was another wipe out I am afraid. Torrential rain meant that we stayed in Knigel, reading, chatting and drinking tea. At least on our motorhome skiing tour we have a nice base on rainy days.
Day 6: World Cup Winning Day
Today was an awesome day. We were “up and at ‘em” as Greg likes to say. Down to the cable car before 9am. Having a campsite so close to a main lift really does mean that motorhome skiing beats a hotel. The cable car queue is trying to say the least.
We met Mr Swiss Angry this morning. A man pushed into our part of the queue as it was moving quicker than his section. He pushed a couple of young lads in front of us out of the way. He then proceeded to slam down his skis every 15 seconds or two. Not being one to judge, I remarked to Greg that he was scarily psychopathic. The next thing we know, he is properly shoving one of the young lads (about 12 years old) and calling him an arsehole (Greg remembers enough German to translate this). Cue a row with the boy’s parents (unsurprisingly) and horrified looks from the rest of the queue. Greg and I ensured that we didn’t get in the cable car with him and instead had a nice chat with a calmer couple of Swiss blokes.
We really did have a great day today. Our skiing was probably the best of the holiday, snow was great, pistes were quiet and the sun was out. The highlight was the Lauberhorn World Cup Run. Greg went into the shed (no idea what it is actually called!) and did the slalom run. Impressive. We then both skied down the whole of the black run. I wanted to do a little jump for joy at the end. It is the longest (by far) black run I’ve done, I took on challenging and icy sections and didn’t fall over. Very pleased. Greg did take a bit of a tumble, but no broken bones.
So, tonight, we met Christina and her partner Cédric for dinner. We were so excited about the Antarctica reunion. We truly had a wonderful catch up, with lots of laughs.
Day 7: Armageddon
As we arrived back from dinner last night to exceptional winds at the campsite. Greg and I spent most of the night awake thinking that Knigel was going to get it from the tree that we were parked under.
When we woke up in the morning the whole resort was on lock down. The winds had reached 200kms. No lifts were running, it was almost impossible to open the doors on Knigel and we couldn’t believe that everything was still in one piece as we left Grindelwald..
Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to ski with Christina and Cédric but instead we will do some more Swiss sightseeing before the main event of Basle carnival.
Leave us a comment if you have been skiing in a van, are thinking about it or simply want to say hello!