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Lauterbrunnen / Wengen in February: Hiking, or just skiing?

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Feb 10th, 2007, 12:29 PM
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Lauterbrunnen / Wengen in February: Hiking, or just skiing?

I'm very interested in hear from locals or frequent Swiss visitors what the lower elevations of the Bernese Oberland are like in Febraury.

We are skiers, but would also like to do some hikes. Recognizing that anything can happen in the winter, could we go for some colder-weather walks in February, or are the hiking trails closed off for the winter?

I'm showing that Lauderbrunnen is only at 2,500 feet, and Wengen at around 5,000. If I compare that to American cities (Denver), I think of places that have some wintery days but are largely bare during winter months, making for the possibility of hiking.

And if there has just been a snowstorm, then hey! Must mean the skiing is good!

Thoughts? Thanks.
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Feb 10th, 2007, 01:45 PM
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Are you thinking of this February? This is a very "low-snow" winter. One ski report I just checked said Wengen has 3 cm of snow right now. Männichen, at the top of the ridge, has 40 cm.

As for hiking, many Swiss villages have Winterwanderwege---marked paths for walking, including of the more moderate hiking trails. Here is a list of some on the Grindelwald side of the ridge:

http://tinyurl.com/2o3l5h

They also mention the possibility of snow-shoeing.
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Feb 11th, 2007, 05:46 AM
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Thanks for the link.

Has anyone else been there lately as a non-skier? I should say that we'll be there in mid-March, not February.
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Feb 11th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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I don't know why this question is getting so little attention, but my response will bring it to the top again and hopefully someone who is there now, or has been ther recently, can answer.

The brief answer to your question about hiking trails is that many of them are open in winter, but not the steep ones. Do you read German? Here is the list of open trails in the Lauterbrunnen area (including Wengen and Mürren):

"Wengen, Mürren, Lauterbrunnen, Gimmelwald, Stechelberg und Isenfluh bieten sonnige Winterwandergebiete mit gepflegten Wegen vor schönster Bergkulisse. Spazieren Sie zu eindrucksvollen Aussichtspunkten oder zu den Sonnenterrassen der Bergrestaurants.

Auch geführte Winterwanderungen werden angeboten.
Selbst eingefleischte Skifahrer sollten sich zu einer der wunderschönen Routen zu Fuß hinreißen lassen:

(ca. 50 km Winterwanderwege), u.a.:

Entlang dem Tal der 72 Wasserfälle: Lauterbrunnen - Stechelberg

Grütschalp - Mürren - Gimmelwald

Wengen- Allmend- Wengernalp-Kleine Scheidegg

Kleine Scheidegg - Männlichen"

Basically, it says they have about 50 km of winter walking paths. One is the level valley path from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg; the others are up on the benches on either side of the valley.

I didn't find informaton as to whether Lauterbrunnen has snow on the valley floor right now, but it seems unlikely.
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Feb 11th, 2007, 11:08 AM
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Thank you, enzian. I too am surprised there isn't more interest in this topic. Seems like there would be many authorities on the Bernese Oberland on these boards.

I did hear back from a local innkeeper who said that there is typically enough hardpacked or groomed hiking trails to keep one occupied, even more in a year like this when the snowfall has been low.
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Feb 11th, 2007, 12:12 PM
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WEll, we'll keep the conversation going and hope that someone will see it. I am familiar with all those hikes from the summer, and several of them would be lovely in the wintertime---great views and doable terrain in the snow. In particular, the Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg, where you woul have the eiger and other peaks in your face the whole walk, and the Grutschalp to Gimmelwald walk, where you would look across the Lauterbrunnen valley to the Jungfrau.

How many days are you thinking of spending there? Did the innkeeper say how much snow there is where they are located?
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Feb 11th, 2007, 12:29 PM
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I was there a week ago. Yes some bare mountain faces but most of the ski runs seemed groomed with snow.

When I was coming down from Jungfrau towards Wengen, I saw some people walking on this narrow ski run along the train tracks.

It's groomed obviously so you don't need snow shoes.
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Feb 11th, 2007, 03:57 PM
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We've been to Switzerland several times during the winter months specifically for winter hiking. Many trails are groomed; those that aren't can be hiked if the snow isn't too deep. Suggest you take some winter hiking boots, a hiking pole and just set off - you'll be surprised at how many trails you can find. There might be mud; ice can be a problem on some trails, so you might want to invest in a set of inexpensive crampons that attach to most hiking boots (available throughtout Switzerland) to keep you upright.

Lots of great groomed sledding trails as well.

Trail maps are available in visitor centers and some train stations.

Have a good trip.
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