Engelberg gets ready to hit the trails!

26 October 2018

As the weather gets colder, cross-country skiers start looking forward to the winter sports season ahead. This year, Engelberg hopes to launch into the season as early as possible thanks to its new, improved cross-country facilities.

Until now, the cross-country season in Engelberg has always begun some time in December. By then, athletes in Davos, for example, have long since started training on the 4 km “snow farming” trail. This year, however, the season is set to start sooner in Engelberg – so long as the weather gods play along. The Titlis cableway company aims to open up the official training track at Trübsee in November, a facility that can be used by experienced athletes and hobby skiers alike.

Engelberg is on the move
Engelberg’s “Nordic Kommission” was launched two years ago to promote cross-country skiing in the Engelberg Valley. Co-presidents Roger Bütler and Eskil Läubli are driving the ambitious project forward with energy and passion. But they aren’t the only ones. “All the members of the Kommission are keen cross-country skiers with an emotional commitment to the sport and to Engelberg,” says Roger. 

Swiss championships on the Gerschnialp
The Nordic Kommission has achieved great things in just two years. For example, the new high-quality trail on the Gerschnialp has been approved for use by the FIS and will host Swiss championship races this coming winter – on 2 and 3 February, and from 29 to 31 March 2019. “This brand-new trail is an exciting prospect for guests who let to get active,” says Nadia Christen, technical director at Swiss Ski and Snowboard School Engelberg Titlis. “Here, people can practise their technique in the very place where elite cross-country skiers go head to head.” 

A new trail in the heart of the village
Webcams have been installed along all of Engelberg’s cross-country trails so that skiers can gain an impression of conditions before they leave home. And there are other technical upgrades too. “We have also extended the night-time course and improved the lighting,” says Roger Bütler. And Engelberg’s trail network has a Nordic technical manager in the shape of Walter Hurschler, who mediates between trail users and the local council. And the enhanced cross-country network has now been complemented by a new short section in the area between Engelberg Abbey and the Sporting Park. The course is clearly visible to all guests entering the village, encouraging them to put on their skis and get out on the trail as soon as they can.




In it together
Local ski schools, sport supply shops and hotels are energetically joining in the campaign to promote cross-country skiing in Engelberg. Evidence of how well the different stakeholders are pulling together will be apparent at the Nordic Opening event on Sunday, 9 December. Sports shops will allow visitors to try out skis free of charge, and ski instructors from Prime Mountain Sports and the Swiss Ski School will be giving cross-country tips and advice. There will also be an opportunity to try out biathlon, and hotels will be offering package deals

The road to the Olympics starts here!
One of Engelberg’s most famous cross-country pros is biathlete Lena Häcki, who had two top ten finishes in the 2018 Winter Olympics – coming in eight in pursuit and sixth in the women’s relay. Lena attained her international standing after training in Engelberg from a young age. Currently, 90 children are pursuing the disciplines of cross-country skiing or biathlon at sports club Nordic Engelberg – and several young hopefuls are set to make their breakthrough soon. Thanks to the village’s concerted efforts to promote cross-country skiing, it seems likely that soon many more children and adults will take up the sport in Engelberg.

Written by: Andrea Hurschler
Andrea Hurschler began cross-country skiing around twelve years ago. Because the sport wasn’t cool back then, she primarily hit the trails during the hours of darkness. These days, she no longer has to hide and is happy to meet up with friends for a jaunt on the cross-country trails. She is delighted that new facilities have been installed and that the sport is rapidly gaining popularity in Engelberg.
Images: Oskar Enander