• BLOG
  • Engstlenalp – One More Time By Bike

    Switzerland Engtslensee MTB

    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.

    Haslital Engstlenalp MTB

    Hell's Bells Trail Engstlensee

    Engstlensee Engelberg MTB

    Engstlensee Autumn 2019


    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.

     

  • Bern
  • Berglauf Engelberg – Trailrunning In Central Switzerland

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    A little race a year keeps woman’s motivation high.

    That according to the one who just finished her almost yearly race tradition in Berglauf Engelberg. Also known as me. In slight flu and two months earlier injured ligaments (now the ankle is ok, mom, no worries). It was tough and humbling – definitely not the best day for me for the above mentioned reasons – but it was also more than fun. Almost as fun as the Jungfrau Marathon (yes I’m strange).  Also, one of the best ways to keep the spirits high for almost daily physical practice, for another year forward at least. (Other good reasons general health, getting old, and simply fun times outdoors.)

    What really was the best though in Berglauf Engelberg – as the race is called these days – was that there was (alcohol free) beer at the finish, and excellent views on the way to distract one from the extremely bad feeling one gets when running over 1000m vertical up in 9km. And of course there was also melted cheese on the way back. To get back all those calories lost when running up the uphill from Engelberg 1010m to Rugghubelhütte SAC 2296m– 9km and 1286m elevation gain – in slightly autumnal, bright sunny August day with a little refreshing breeze… (Yes the weather was perfect for race.)

    And if you are looking for a nice little vertical mountain/trail running race for next year to test your limits and capacity (to stand the really bad feeling) or are just looking for something crazy to do, keep this event in mind.

    And if you are looking for some nice fun training runs in Engelberg and around, now after few months living and running in here I can finally recommend few. (Scroll further below the pics for the tips.)

    Berglauf Engelberg 2019

    Berglauf Engelberg 2019

    Engelberg Berglauf 2019

    Trübsee Alpenrose

    Trailrunning In Engelberg – 5 Recommendations

    Since moving to Engelberg in the beginning of April, I have had some time to explore at varied phase the trails for running, in the Engelberg valley itself and the mountains around. And by now, I have some favourites to share, for weekly evening runs and for all day free day escapades. So if you are visiting Central Switzerland with running shoes, check these.

    In general, for the excellent outdoors destination Engelberg is, there’s plenty of marked (hiking) trails to combine your run. And while I do give you suggestions about where to go and which exact places to pass, I would recommend you to take a look at the map with these waypoints in mind, and make your own tour of the available options. According to your current feeling, weather and whatever you normally base your runs to.

    Aaschlucht/Aa river gorge 

    For short bursts and technical challenges (this is where I twisted my ankle earlier in the summer) the path by the Aa river from Engelberg to Grafenort and back – or shorter stretches adjusting it with the help of the many cute bridges over and the trails running on both sides of the wild river – is one of the best.

    This summer, it’s also been one of the best places to mess up my Strava stages, because wild strawberries.

    Aaschlucht Running Engelberg

    Gerschnialp

    For nice evening sunset run or a random middle distance run with about 400m elevation, take the loop from Engelberg to Gerschnialp and back down from the other side.

    Can be also combined nicely with core and technique training by running through the Zürich Vitaparcous loop near Bänklialp. (Beware of the cow and pig smell though – there’s many farms around this loop.)

    Engelberg Trail Running

    Engelberg Trail Running

    Fürenalp

    For proper elevation and good food on the way, take the Fürenalp bahn either up or down. And run from Fürenalp valley station up to Fürenalp past Alpenrösli and Stäfeli, or take the trail other way round for some nice downhill cruising.

     Can be also combined with tour up to Surenenpass and why not with even a longer stretch along the Via Alpina multi stage hiking route through all Switzerland.

    Engelberg Trail Running

    Engelberg Trail Running

    4 lakes – Trübsee, Engstlensee, Tannensee & Melchsee 

    For nice all day running tours, the so called 4 lakes hiking region is the place to run in Engelberg. First, take the cable car up to Trübsee (or at the other end to Melchsee) and enjoy the highlands and many hiking (aka running) paths in the area around the four lakes, famous for the hiking tour with the same name.

    Here you find a network of trails to choose from, clear lakes to take a dip on a hot day (but note that swimming in Tannensee is not allowed), and many restaurants and guesthouses to have a nice meal, drink or even good night sleep before, after and in between of your run.

    Many cows and marmots and goats and weasels too.

    Trübsee Engelberg 2019

    Engstlenalp Switzerland

    Tannenalp Switzerland Trail Running

    Engstlenalp Engelberg Via Alpina

    Melchsee-Frutt Engelberg Switzerland

    Via Alpina Engelberg Switzerland

    Bonus: Engelberg valleyby the river and to the wasserfall and end of the world.

    Not all trail running must contain lots of elevation and technical difficulty (almost the opposite – remember to take care of your body), and for easy almost flat runs in Engelberg you find many good paths in the Engelberg valley itself.

    One of my favourite goes first past the monastery a bit up to the Ende Der Welt (end of the world) settlement, then past housing and farms to Wasserfall (nice waterfalls in here) and Fürenalp valley station, then turns back past the Engelberg Seilpark and ends with few kilometres rolling by the icy cold Aa river all the way back to town.


    Where: Engelberg, Switzerland

  • Badi
  • How To Do Wellness – Frutt Lodge & Spa & Sauna

    Melchsee Switzerland 2019

    Melting the pains away – the best alpine & Finnish way – in Frutt Lodge & Spa.

    So, I’ve become a spa person. (Or maybe just old, though won’t admit anything.) A good, clean, quiet spa (and sauna – more than else a good sauna) kinda person. To balance the life well, as I’m also more frequently the runner-skier-biker semi-physical worker kinda person.

    And slowly – yet with a great intention – I have become a Swiss spa person. (Very slowly really, because Swiss spas require good Swiss budget. Which I luckily have now.)

    Finally literally even, since earlier this week  I tested the Berglauf Engelberg track (9km up – and down – with 1200m+ vertical) resulting in pretty (read very) sore legs in real need of sauna and spa. Yet first, I joined my friends on their Via Alpina multi day hike from Engelberg to Interlaken.  But since I didn’t have time for as long hike as my friends, I took the chance, skipped the Tannensee – Meiringen stage and directed my sore legs to the Melchsee-Frutt direction after a hike from Engelberg to Engstlenalp and night in the cozy, Wes Anderson’ish hotel Engtslenalp (more of which some other time). Knowing there would be a pretty good spa to try get a good cure for my pains.

    And oh boy, did it do it. Very well indeed.

    In addition to offering effective and lasting cure to my sore legs as a spa (they were like newborns on my way back home) Frutt Spa (in the Frutt Lodge & Spa complex by lake Melchsee in Central Switzerland, not far from Lucerne) also seems (read feels) to have the best Finnish sauna I have ever stepped into (funny how the Swiss seem to know very well how to do good things of wood –saunas included).

    Offering unique alpine wellness, the frutt spa pool and the saunas were topped with good wood (including the smell and carvings) and cows crazing outside the big windows opening to the lake. Lucky me (for once) also got the saunas and spa almost all to myself on this day – note how you can visit the spa as external day quest only by request, 40,- for an admission– and could walk away with mind and body relaxed, simply cured and amazed by the experience.

    Next time gonna come by bike though. And book a room. Because after sauna like this, a good sleep or easy lazy roll is way better than the long hike I did to get back home with the last lifts in the Engelberg side.

    Finnish Sauna Frutt Lodge & Spa Switzerland

    Melchsee-Frutt

    Frutt Lodge & Spa Switzerland 2019


    Where: Hotel Frutt Lodge & Spa, 1920m above sea level, Melchsee-Frutt, Switzerland (map)

    Ps. Note how a spa or hotel visit in here can be combined nicely with a multi day hiking, mountain biking or trail running tour from/to Engelberg, Meiringen or Stöckalp direction (only for a limited period in summer you can drive to Melchsee-Frutt).

    And while Frutt Lodge & Spa is a very stylish place, it’s still true to the alpine lifestyle. So, in here hiking boots and mountain bikes are better accessory choices than stilettos and Teslas.