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Old 05.03.2016, 16:04
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Telemark Skiing in Switzerland

Hello...

I'm going to be extending a business trip for my first, and perhaps only, trip to ski in the Alps. I'll have next weekend, 12 Mar and 13 Mar, available to ski, then need to get back to Zurich on 13 Mar for a very early flight on 14 Mar.

I haven't used alpine gear in almost 20 years, so I'm planning just to bring my telemark boots (Scarpa T1's from the late 90s) and rent telemark skis. How common is telemark ski rental at Swiss ski areas?

As far as where to ski, I'm strongly leaning towards Engelberg, based on some first hand accounts, proximity to ZRH, and on the fact that I found a shop that rents telemark gear there. Any other suggestions? This might literally be a once in a lifetime experience, so I want to make the most of it.

I should also add that I'm an advanced, not expert, skier, and above all love skiing fresh powder. Nightlife is meaningless. Just want a place I can hammer myself skiing, get a nice dinner and a beer and go to bed early.

Thanks!
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Old 06.03.2016, 02:29
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Re: Telemark Skiing in Switzerland

Hi,

I know a few shops in Engelberg rents telemark gear (also to the old non-NTN standard).
Unfortunately I am traveling that weekend so cant show you around. Engelberg is great. We are quite a few telemarkers there.

In case you look for fresh powder maybe keep an eye on Andermatt. They have some kind of micro-clima and is claimed to be colder/also good for a little off-piste skiing.

If this is the one and only time in Switzerland, you might want to consider Zermatt. However that will probably be more travel and be punishing expencive.
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Old 06.03.2016, 09:59
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Re: Telemark Skiing in Switzerland

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As far as where to ski, I'm strongly leaning towards Engelberg, based on some first hand accounts, proximity to ZRH, and on the fact that I found a shop that rents telemark gear there. Any other suggestions?
Can't help with suggestions for elsewhere, but would certainly agree that Engelberg is the most obvious candidate. I'm guessing you've found the 'Okay' shop, which specialises in Telemark gear, and will have compatible skis to rent - just a stone's throw from the railway station so convenient as well. You can also rent in a couple of the other shops, but I'd recommend sticking with Okay.

I'd be happy to meet up and show you around, although it's looking like we'll be quite busy at the ski school, so can't guarantee anything. Unless you actually wanted to book me for a 'lesson', of course. I'm a level 1 (i.e. The lowest level) qualified telemark instructor, so wouldn't normally be expecting to teach more than the basics, but would be glad of the opportunity to get some turns in.
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Old 06.03.2016, 12:59
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Re: Telemark Skiing in Switzerland

Yep. Dani at OKAY will set you up. A stone's throw away is the Ski Lodge which will fulfill your good food. Beer and accommodation requirements.
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Old 06.03.2016, 16:25
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Re: Telemark Skiing in Switzerland

Thanks a lot for the posts everyone! I appreciate the help. I think I'll continue with my plan to visit Engelberg. Zermatt is tempting, but I'm leaning towards the lesser travel time to Engelberg. I'll also keep an eye on the snow report to see if Andermatt looks better. That was the second choice that I had found through my research. Any tele rentals there? I'll have a rental car, and I suppose it's conceivable I could ski one day at each area, if I can rent tele gear at Andermatt.

Still trying to sort out lodging. Ski Lodge appears to have one room, but at a cost a little higher than I was hoping. I'm waiting to hear back from St Jakob and Chalet Espen, and St Josefshaus. Any other recommendations?

Regarding driving, any details I should worry about? Such as places where tire chains might be required? I'm fairly certain the rental car will come with snow tires. Also, traffic heading back to ZRH on Sunday...nightmare? I should add that on previous, non-skiing trips to CH, I've driven to both Engelberg and Andermatt, so I am not totally inexperienced with the roads in the area.

I have exchanged emails with Dani at OKAY, and am discussing a ski reservation...thanks a lot for the advice.

It's hard for me to reference the size of Engelberg in relation to areas in the US that I've skied, since the measure for European resorts seems to be km of pistes rather than the skiable acres that I can better relate to. Can anyone here chime in? In the US, I'm most familiar with Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, and Deer Valley in Utah or less so with Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park or Steamboat Springs in Colorado. Obviously the total vertical drop in Engelberg is much higher, though I'm curious whether it's typically all usable on a given day (e.g., too stormy up high, too mild and wet down low).
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Old 06.03.2016, 18:12
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Re: Telemark Skiing in Switzerland

Engleberg is smallish in terms of piste and depends on snow lower down but this march seems have plenty of snow. The joy of the place though is the laub if you want some nice off piste
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