I will always have a sweet spot for the old two seated chairlifts. The nostalgic, a bit scary and very rusty slow lifts, getting you up and sometimes down, summer and winter.
And having crown up and learned to ski with a special one – vanha tuolihissi = “old chairlift” as it simply was called in Pyhä Ski Resort in Lapland – quite naturally the two seated chairlift between Jochpass and Engstlenalp in Engelberg – with the cute wooden old station buildings – became fast my favourite in Switzerland.
Though not really just for the nostalgic value, but also for connecting Engelberg with the very nice hiking, trailrunning, climbing, mountain biking and skiing in the Engstlensee direction, and further on the Berner Oberland.
Unfortunately, as the trend goes, it will now be the last week for that cutie. This October, the old Engstlen sessellift will be retired, and replaced with a new modern big shiny fast six chairlift, on time for the winter season. Snif.
But oh boy, did we get lucky to have this free Monday, on the last week the lift was up and running. A bluebird, semi-warm and full of autumn colors day for a proper goodbye to the old lift and for a tiny enduro ride by bikes.
Except in downhills and flow trails I was so slow that only got to ride the lift once. Not enough for really say it was a proper goodbye. Though it wasn’t just me slow, it was also the good lunch in Rossbodenhütte (note: October is the hunting season in Switzerland and especially around Engelberg the restaurants of all kinds take the most of it, offering special wild menus and definitely fresh ingredients) which didn’t leave us much time for bike fun but which made it above ordinary occasion.
And oh boy those autumn colors. And that boy. And the lucky strangers who have cabin like this.
Where: Engstlenalp (Engelberg / Haslital), Berner Oberland, Switzerland
How by bike: Down to Engstlenalp leads a Hell’s Bells -named bike trail from Jochpass (titlisbahn -ticket and bike pass needed for the lifts). Engstlensee also sits by the 4 lakes (enduro) biketour, and offers hotel and restaurants for breaks of any length. A very nice tour is also to bike to or from Frutt Lodge & Spa and pay a visit to the best Finnish Sauna in the region. Because you’re worth it.