• Basic Helvetia

    Tiina Kivelä

    It takes a Finnish to appreciate this Swiss end of the year sun like no one else.

    And take the most out of days like these.

    Literally out, skiing alpine, free or nordic. Or simply walking from the gondola to the nearest stübli or hütte for a healthy portion of älplermagronen, followed by älpler -kaffee.

    And talking of the current skiing conditions in central Switzerland and the Alps, for nordic and free there’s not much for a good base yet. At least not in the lower elevations.

    But above 1500m it’s enough for some good rounds of nordic and alpine skiing, and a bit for a piste side powder too. And on a lazy sunny day there’s more than enough good views for some walking tours too. And those patio hangs with good food and drinks.

    It’s also just enough snow that one isn’t too sad to spent many days a week working. Epic “sick” days are for late season anyway.

    Although this Tuesday already was pretty epic.

    Trübsee Engelberg Tiina Kivelä

    Trübsee Engelberg Switzerland


    Trübsee Alpstübli Engelberg Switzerland

    Trübsee Engelberg Tiina Kivelä

    Trübsee Engelberg Switzerland Skiing

    Ps. Helvetia (/hɛlˈviːʃə/)[1] is the female national personification of Switzerland, officially Confœderatio Helvetica, the Swiss Confederation.

    The allegory is typically pictured in a flowing gown, with a spear and a shield emblazoned with the Swiss flag, and commonly with braided hair, commonly with a wreath as a symbol of confederation. The name is a derivation of the ethnonym Helvetii, the name of the Gaulish tribe inhabiting the Swiss Plateau prior to the Roman conquest.

    Where: Trübsee, Engelberg 6390 Switzerland

  • 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.


  • BLOG
  • Mountain Staycation In Engelberg – Huttour To Rugghubelhütte

    Tiina Kivelä Rugghubelhütte Engelberg

    Note to self: always bring to the mountains a wine bottle (or few) with screw top. Or even better, support your local wine providers in remote places by buying it in place. Especially in Switzerland, where even the remotest of mountain huts offer excellent wine for fair price.

    But that about the wine. Because this one night staycation in my backyard in Rugghubelhütte was way more than just a bottle of wine shared in sunset and full moon. (After all, there wasn’t even wine because the wrong top and some other reasons.)

    Simply, it was one night mountain hut tour in bluebird September weather. From Engelberg to Rugghubelhütte, which sits in the sunny side of the Engelberg valley – 2296m above sea level – behind of appr. 3h hiking uphill. (The hike can be adjusted to slightly lighter by utilising the local lifts and stopping for drink of two on the way, as the offerings of local restaurants and farms are plenty.) And if you prefer running and racing, the annual Engelberg Berglauf follows the same route too (fastest times for the a bit over 1200 ascent and 8km falling under 1h).

    For the two of us – me and a friend visiting – it was now  a hike up to the hut the afternoon before. Just in time for dinner, sunset and full moon. And the next day – after a good night’s sleep, a little morning yoga and a large morning coffee – a little detour to higher grounds before descending back down to valley. With marmot sightings and more or less deep talks.

    For some others staying the night in the hut, it was a tour from Bannalp and back to Bannalp, with just a sight to Titlis and Engelberg below in the valley. We also passed some climbers and slight alpinists too, on their way to the walls and tops in the area. Which is kinda normal, because Rugghubelhütte offers a good basecamp for many kinds of activities in summer and winter. And pretty epic sunset, in good weather.

    It was also just natural to end the good tour with afterhike in Ski Lodge Engelberg terrace. In our smelly sweaty hiking clothes (again very hot for September), eating and drinking and solving our first world problems.

    And trying to glue in mind the wine bottle rule. (Alternatively, always carry a swiss knife with all kinds of bottle openers.)


    Rugghubelhütte Switzerland

    Sunset Rugghubelhütte

    Tiina Kivelä Creative


    Rugghubelhütte Hiking

    Rugghubelhütte Engelberg Valley

    Rugghubelhütte Huttour

    Ski Lodge Engelberg

    Where: Rugghubelhütte, Engelberg, Switzerland

    More tips for hut tours in Switzerland behind this link.