Engelberg in the canton of Obwalden in central Switzerland might not have gotten his divine name (the mountain of angels) if in the 12th century Konrad Zellenburensky didn’t see the angelic singing from the nearby mountain peaks. In 1120, he and Abbe Adelhelm founded a monastery in these places, and while they both puzzled over what name to give him, they again heard singing. So only angels choir could sing! – the Rev. Fathers decided, as a result of which both the monastery and the settlement that formed around it received their name.
The century before last here, as well as everywhere in Switzerland, tourism began to develop. In 1898, in Engelberg, the first in Switzerland electrified cog railway was solemnly opened, and in 1938 the resort hosted the World Alpine Ski Championship! Today’s Engelberg – a real find for lovers of winter outdoor activities. For experienced skiers and snowboarders – even more! Modest (82 km of slopes), as someone may note, the ski area is more than offset by the extra-piste possibilities of the entire region. No wonder Engelberg called little Chamonix.
In Russia, this unusual resort, unfortunately or fortunately, is not very well known, but it has long become a place of pilgrimage for not only residents of nearby Lucerne, but also tourists from distant Delhi, Shanghai and Tokyo. For climbing the glacier at the summit of Titlis and the opportunity to play snowballs in the summer or take pictures in the winter in an embrace with a cool Viking freerider, the Indians, the Chinese and the Japanese are ready to fly to distant lands, freeze, get wet and suffer in general. Looking at their bodies fluttering in the wind without caps and mittens, wrapped in some kind of colored Asian diaper, just hurts. The cable car operator at Titlis even had to open a store / rental of more suitable outerwear and footwear at the very top. From sin away.
The average skiers on Titlis are strikingly different from these touching and vulnerable creatures. Early in the morning after a snowfall inside your gondola rotating around its axis, your head will be spinning anyway, and here you also feel as if you are scouring the sky in a flying Dutchman in the company of experienced daredevils. This team with “paddles” (average skis in Engelberg’s width will go down and oars) seems unsinkable, and the number of compressed air tanks in avalanche backpacks behind each second would probably be enough to let a small fortress downwind.
Indeed, in a couple of hours they really blow apart, but not stone castles, but the most “tasty” and easily accessible (but not at all light) Titlis off-piste slopes. The first to suffer from the invasion of these harsh “barbarians” on the widest skis you can imagine, Laub. A huge steep wall with a drop of 1200 m and a slope of up to 40 degrees, which is perfectly visible from Engelberg himself. To call on its upper edge is easier-simple from the Laubersgrat chair, with a small traverse to the left, crossing the nearest ridge. Stand still, look around and take a breath.
Ahead, or rather under your feet, you have a wide slope with a practically unchanged angle of inclination and not weak drop. There is no forest, no cliffs, not a single so-called “island of security” to the very bottom. A couple of years ago, at the very beginning of the season, five skiers broke an avalanche at the very beginning of Laub and flew all 1,200 meters of difference. Dug up. All had avalanche backpacks. But pleasant, to put it mildly, is not enough. Therefore, in order to have fun and survive, at least do not be in a hurry to be there the very first. The slope is avalanche-prone, and its complexity and steepness are often simply underestimated.
In general, the availability of many routes on the slopes of Titlis directly from the lifts, a huge elevation difference (up to 2000+ m), the northern exposure and a large amount of snow – all this not only attracts experienced freeriders from all over Europe, but also suggests lovers. And just as they should first of all keep in mind that off-piste riding at Engelberg is at the same time one of the most technically complex. Good skiing or snowboarding, guide escort, availability and ability to use the necessary avalanche equipment are essential conditions for a free ride at Engelberg. If this is about you, then we go further.
Glacier Steinberg in the heart of the Titlis ski area. It is easily accessible from the Rotair gondola – the only (so far) lift in the Alps, the cabins of which make a full rotation of 360 degrees during the time you float in the air on a glacier. Mooring at an altitude of 3020 m and leaving the building of the upper station.