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bellarmine2627 Oct 7th, 2010 11:27 AM

Bring or rent skis to Switzerland?
Hopefully going to Switzerland for 1 week at Christmas - does it make sense for my son to bring his ski equipment with him or rent once he gets there? He'd probably only be able to ski for 2 or 3 days, but don't know if rental lines are long, or renting very expensive.

Thanks for any advice!

JoyC Oct 7th, 2010 12:23 PM

We have not skied in Switzerland yet but have skied in Austria, Germany and North Italy for the past few years. We, including my son who has his own equipment at home, have always rented the equipment. It is not that expensive to rent, and rental shops carry the latest skis for the season. Also for just 2-3 days, it is so worth it not to be lugging your skis and boots especially through the airport!!

alihutch Oct 7th, 2010 12:51 PM

you might be able to pre book....try googling the resort and ski hire

Gretchen Oct 7th, 2010 01:22 PM

We don't even do it going to Colorado!!

Michael Oct 7th, 2010 01:54 PM

How much will the airline charge for skis? That may be a consideration.

swandav2000 Oct 7th, 2010 08:33 PM

Hi bellarmine2627,

Rent there. There won't be long lines to rent equipment as Christmas is pretty early in the season. And there are lots and lots of shops, so there will be plenty of choices.

One hint -- rent the skis near the lift he thinks he'll be using the most. That way, he can store the skis there, and when he comes dowin in the evening and goes up in the morning, it won't be a long walk.

Oh, you say you are "hopefully" going to Switzerland at Christmas?? That means you don't have your hotel reservations yet?? You may have trouble finding a room, as the ski resorts get booked out very early for the holidays (folks go for the atmosphere but not necessarily the skiing).

Have fun!


MLF611 Oct 8th, 2010 12:03 AM

If he has ski boots that he's very happy with, maybe he should take those. Boots are the hardest part of ski equipment to get just right, especially if his is the most common boot size. For the rest, rent. Gives him a chance to try something new.

And swandav makes a good point. Where are you planning to go? My Swiss friends who go skiing over Christmas in Wengen, Zermatt, Davos or Gstaad made their reservations months ago.

wobbers Oct 8th, 2010 01:13 AM

I agree with the above - bring your own boots and just rent skis

kappa1 Oct 8th, 2010 02:18 AM

> and rental shops carry the latest skis for the season

That's a good point.

bellarmine2627 Oct 8th, 2010 03:44 PM

Thanks for the advice! Will be staying in a small B&B in Interlaken; would love to stay in Wengen, Muren, Gimmelwald but those areas are too expensive. Figured if we stay in Interlaken we can use it as a base to explore Bernese Oberland, or other areas if weather is not good there. Good plan?

swandav2000 Oct 8th, 2010 08:30 PM

Hi again,

I personally would pay good money to avoid Interlaken. It's tourist-central, with the main areas filled with trinket shops and hotels and tourist restaurants. The town even has a Hooter's restaurant --

Interlaken will also be about an hour from the ski trails (60 minutes to Kleine Scheidegg with a change in Lauterbrunnen, or 40 minutes to Wengen or Grindelwald then a walk across town to the cable cars).

The extra expense of Wengen or Mürren is really worth it -- you get to spend your evenings and wake up actually IN the mountains instead of looking up at them. If you can get a room!

Have fun!


kleeblatt Oct 9th, 2010 02:56 AM

Gruezi! Skiing is very expensive in Switzerland, but also very beautiful. I know lots of Swiss who even rent their skis instead of purchasing them because they prefer having the most current skis on the market.

Check out to plan your train journeys from Interlaken to your destination. This will help you get a feel of the time needed for travel.

Bring good long underwear, scarves, hats and coat. It can be very cold and windy in December. Ski boots can be rented or bring your own.

If you're on a budget, you might want to consider bringing sandwiches or snacks in a backpack. You'll find the food and especially drinks quite expensive in the piste restaurants.

The cheapest place we've skied lately is Livigno, which is located on the border between Italy and Switzerland. Difficult to get there but cheap accomodation and absolutely wonderful pistes.

bellarmine2627 Oct 10th, 2010 05:00 PM

thanks for all your great advice! Much appreciated.

Cicerone Oct 20th, 2010 10:24 PM

Some thoughts and suggestions:

1. If you are staying in Interlaken then I would not bring ski equipment from home. Other than boots as mentioned above if your son has a favourite pair. Otherwise, he will be lugging the equipment from Interlaken on trains up to Wengen, Murren or Grindelwald. I would say to rent each day at whatever area he chooses for that day. He probably would want to ski Wengen one day and Murren another. If he rents from one place for the entire time, he will be lugging all his stuff on and off trains and cable cars each day just to reach the ski areas. And then repeat the process at the end of the day tired and probably in the dark. Something to be avoided, IMO. As he is only going to ski for a day or two, I would rent <i>very</i> locally, as the slight extra cost for renting by the day will outweigh the schlep factor.

2. Although it may be too late now to find accommodation elsewhere, I could not agree more with Swandav on Interlaken (he may even have borrowed my frequent comment that it is better to be IN the mountains than just looking up at them…) Interlaken is a fairly charmless town, IMO. Of course even the most grim places in Switzerland have a certain charm, and Interlaken is not grim, just not really traditional Swiss in that gabledhouse-windowbox-Heidi kind of way. (It is better in summer when you can take advantage of ferries on the stunning lakes.) Wengen and Murren are far more charming. I am not such a fan of Grindelwald, although it does have probably the largest selection of hotels. Lauterbrunnen would be bottom of my list, but it does have the advantage of being much closer to Murren and Wengen than Interlaken. And there are the two waterfalls and you could cross country in the valley.

3. While Interlaken would possibly save you time on making trips to places like Gstaad, bear in mind that your hotel may be a long walk – or may even require taking a train to - the Ost Station or the West Station (the main stations for trips to the Jungfrau and places like Gataad and Basle). Therefore, door to door you may not save that much time. The train station in Wengen and Murren is a short walk from virtually all hotels.

4. Based on all of the above, if you can afford it, I think it is worth staying up in Murren or Wengen. You will save something on train fares going back and forth. A marginal savings perhaps, but bear it in mind. Also, in my experience Christmas week can be very crowded on trains going up to Wengen and cable cars up to Murren. There can be lines to board trains, esp on Dec 23 and 24 and Dec 31. Also, if you plan to take the train up to the top of the Jungfrau, those trains start from Wengen, and if you stay there you can board early before the hordes arrive from below, and avoid the crowds as well. There are also several easy walks from Wengen which offer great views and can be a hoot in the snow (snow on trails is packed down). Depending on conditions, it should also be possible to do the fabulous –and easy- walk from Maennlichen to Kleine Schiedigg.

5. Don’t know if you have looked at options like renting a flat, see for a start. This should be cheaper than a hotel, although for Christmas week they may already be booked. Otherwise without knowing your budget it is hard to advise for hotels, but for sure look at something like the Alpenrose in Wengen, see

6. Another place to consider staying is Kandersteg. This is in its own really gorgeous valley next to the Jungfrau valley, and offers skiing and also some good walks and opportunities for cross-country and other activities. It is a very small town, and is not as much on the tourist path as the Jungfrau (esp with Americans and other Europeans beside Swiss), and so you may have better luck with hotels there. The Doldenhorn is a nice hotel, kind of a labyrinth of rooms, but a charming hotel nonetheless, see / The Chalet Hotel Adler cottages or family rooms in the back of the property which would be good for a family see The Hotel Bernerherhof would also work, rooms are a little older, but some have great views. The village has a website in English at

7. There are many other really beautiful places to ski in Switzerland which have lovely villages. Saas Fe for one (and you can do a day trip to Zermatt from there). Pontresina in the St Moritz area for another. Engelberg with its Benedictine monastery is also a lovely spot. And the utterly charming Guarda. As I have often said, the Jungfrau valley does not have better mountain scenery than the rest of Switzerland – just a better press agent.

fbuehner Nov 24th, 2013 06:12 AM

Back to the original post, for Americans skiing Switzerland, who has stories about renting versus bringing your own? Happy with rental equipment, not happy? How about issues you had with carrying skis through the airport and security and airline and train issues?

swandav2000 Nov 24th, 2013 06:22 AM

Hi fbuehner,

Before I moved to Germany, I skied in Switzerland about 10 times -- I always rented there.

You can get a good deal renting the latest equipment.


fbuehner Nov 24th, 2013 06:52 PM

Thanks but I have $1000 worth of equipment ready to travel but I'm looking for a good reasons (details) to leave it all at home in Houston, TX and rent in Switzerland.

swandav2000 Nov 24th, 2013 10:05 PM

Details? Like what? You asked if folks who rented equipment were happy, and I responded that, yes, I was happy with all the times I did it.

The details are -- you get to try out that season's newest equipment, and you can even switch stuff every day. One day try super-carving skies, and the next try out fast skies, the day after try out powder skies.

Where are you going in Switzerland?


fbuehner Nov 25th, 2013 10:32 AM

Lord, I'm not trying to PYO, thanks so much for replying. I think, like most equipment owners, we would like to bring our own stuff. But, maybe it's not the best idea. I don't want to drag my stuff but I don't want to rent wet boots and dull skis either. A chalet at Vericon is the venue. I'm taking a train to Sierre from Geneva. I want to have a fun ski trip but not place a potential burden on my hosts or delay their ski fun with my needs. I hope this is a better explanation.

swandav2000 Nov 25th, 2013 09:36 PM

Ok, thanks for the explanation.

There are various levels of equipment that you can rent -- "exclusive," "premium," or "economy." Here's a sample from a ski rental shop in Wengen, in the Jungfrau region:

You can download their prices on a pdf. I used to rent the "premium" level for one week.

You may want to see what shops are nearby the slopes you'll be skiing and investigate the brands that they are renting, and that may help you make a decision.

If you decide to bring your own equipment, you can always ship them on the train separately using the Swiss rail's "Fast Baggage" service. Here's a link:

However, if your equipment really is worth $1,000, I don't think I would want to give it to the baggage handlers -- neither on the plane nor on the train.

Hope you get the info to make your decision!


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