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Mount Titlis – Eternal Winter Wonderland

Travelling to Mount Titlis is a joy in itself.  The journey from Zurich unrolls picture postcard perfect scenery that only Switzerland produces.

Mount Titlis is located in the heart of the Urner Alps of Central Switzerland.  At 3,238 metres, it is the highest mountain in this region.  It has three main faces.  The Titlis Glacier occupies the north face.  The steeper and rockier southern face houses the Wenden Glacier.  The east side is also covered by the Firnalpeligletscher.

What gives the mountain its greatest attraction is the fact that a large part of the mountain is above the snow line.  This means that its slopes are clad in eternal snow for all 12 months of the year.  It is subject to freezing temperatures, even in summer, and that brings in the visitors and snow enthusiasts.  You need a good pair of sunglasses whatever time of year you go as the snow reflection can be quite strong.

The mountain dominates the surrounding region – the Engelberg valley – in the Obwalden Canton.  The slopes offer absolutely clear and stunning panoramic views of the area around.  Titlis and Engelberg provide much more than scenic photo opportunities for visitors.  The facilities are excellent and typical – if rather expensive – Swiss high quality.

Skiing is the biggest and most obvious activity taking place here.  The Engelberg-Titlis combination has over 82 kilometres of slopes and five cross-country ski runs.  However, you cannot ski all the way down from the top.  Despite that, there are several great runs down the mountain, one of which is via Jochpass, that takes you right to the village.  The FSI organises an annual world ski jumping event in Engelberg.  This year it will be held on 21st and 22nd December followed by the Four Hills Tournament on 27th and 28th December.

The many slopes can be used for sledding, tobogganing, free-style or cross-country skiing and other snow-related activities.  There is long sledging slope of almost 4 kilometres.  You can also go winter hiking or don a pair of snow shoes and take one of several trails.

Also what makes Titlis really attractive for visitors is its cable car system.  The system was inaugurated in March 1967 and incorporates a rotating gondola.  Known as the Rotair, this revolving car is the first of its kind in the world.  A ride in it is a must for the sheer novelty of the ride.  It takes about 45 breath-taking minutes to complete the journey from the valley to the summit.

mount titlisThe system comprises of three stages that take you all the way – from Engelberg to Klien Titlis (the summit).  The first stage takes you up 1,262 metres to Gerschnialp; the second to Trübsee (1,796 metres) and finally the Stand (2,428 metres).  There are shops and restaurants around the cable car station at every stage.

The last part rises above the glacier and from the station you can visit a glacier cave.  The cave is brightly lit, which is a bit cheesy.  It would have been more fun and exciting if you had to walk in with only a torch!

If skiing is not your style; if you don’t know how or if you don’t have the time you could take a guided coach tour and spend the whole day at Engelberg-Titlis. If you are staying overnight in Engelberg then you could see Mount Titlis in a different light, so to speak.  Catch the cable car at 6:30pm and go the restaurant at the top and enjoy a sit down, candlight Fondue Chinoise (all you can eat) dinner.  If you are lucky or timed it right there could be a lovely moon, which is even more magical.

Travel time from, Berne and Basel is just an hour and a half and only 30 minutes from Lucerne.  You can enjoy the scenery and snow without the pressure (or expense) of staying and skiing.

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