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Old 06.02.2011, 21:06
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Beware Grindelwald: unbelievably bad family ski experience

We're new to Basel, from Northern California, and have two little kiddos who learned how to ski last season. We were all very excited to go skiing and chose Grindelwald for our first Swiss Alps ski adventure. Our day could not have turned out worse, but thankfully, the kids did get to ski. Here's what we learned:

Don't go to the Grindelwald Swiss Ski School. The instructor told us to meet her at Kleine Sheidegg and never showed. They don't answer their phone. Miraculously another instructor knew someone there and got through to them via a mobile phone. We were 1.5hrs delayed in starting our ski day because of their incompetence...very un-Swiss. There are other options for ski school, but we won't be going back.

If you have kids learning to ski, the beginner's area is down at the base of the mountain. Don't go to the "Beginner's Park" at Kleine Sheidegg. Amazingly, that's not for beginners. There's one little hill there and the magic carpet was broken. Not wanting to spend 30min hiking uphill, we had to take the kids down what was supposed to be the beginner run, but it was an endless catwalk with sudden steep slopes (for a beginner) and hundred foot drop-offs. Not for beginners, and especially not kids.

The food options are terrible. The prices are outrageous even by Swiss standards, which is hard to do.

The mountain seems like it was designed by a blind chimpanzee. Signs take you exactly opposite of where you want to go. What looks like a nice warmup intermediate run is an endless catwalk with intermittent short hills that lead you into a trailer park at the bottom of the hill. There, you haul your skis through the parking lot, and get to wait 20min for the 40min tram-ride back up the mountain. Really.

The only brights spot of an otherwise horrendous experience: the advanced hills are OK, there are some good long runs. The kids did eventually get their private lesson, and the instructor was OK.

To sum up, if you don't mind spending 1.5-2hrs on a tram, overpaying for lift tickets, dealing with terrible signage trying to find runs, and eating garbage for 30F per person, Grindelwald is for you!
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Old 06.02.2011, 21:10
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Re: Beware Grindelwald: unbelievably bad family ski experience

Is that very same place where everyone who lives in Basel "goes hiking". Just saying...
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Old 06.02.2011, 21:21
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Re: Beware Grindelwald: unbelievably bad family ski experience

hi Silverback, welcome to Switzerland and to the forum.

Interesting first post.
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Old 06.02.2011, 21:34
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Re: Beware Grindelwald: unbelievably bad family ski experience

i found the signage perfectly adequate, as it has not snowed for ages and has been warm the final run down to the train isnt the best thing to do at all, esp as its quite flat.

I would have stayed higher up as there are lots of mild runs and good lifts.

30chf for a sinle meal is about normal as is the cost of lift tickets - dont stress over it, get used to it. I assume you didnt check the costs beforehand?

Go to first ski area which is in the village, thats quite nice.

For learners try Saanenmöser near Gstaad, but check the snow conditions as its quite low.
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Old 06.02.2011, 21:49
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Re: Beware Grindelwald: unbelievably bad family ski experience

You had a single bad experience. Grindlewald is made up of 2/3 different areas. Each one has it's own particular features. I usually research the piste map etc before I go so that if there are beginners or inexperienced there we would know if we go to the bottom or top for the beginner area.

Just saying.
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Old 06.02.2011, 22:43
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Re: Beware Grindelwald: unbelievably bad family ski experience

We had a similar bad experience with one of my daughters at Einsielden. I left her there with 15 other children & 4 staff, returned 15 mins later to find only 1 member of staff there & 6 kids face down in the snow crying mine being one of them.
Never went there again.
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