Engelberg Off-Piste Guide: Ski The Big Five

Engelberg Off-Piste Guide

This is an excerpt from Ski Lodge Bulletin, which is our hotel magazine at Ski Lodge. You can read the full issue online here, or come by our bar and pick up a printed issue. Happy reading!

Every year, powder hounds from all corners of the globe make their pilgrimage to the freeride Mecca known as Engelberg. This mountain playground boasts five especially outstanding runs. Their reputation precedes them, and for a good reason. Allow us to introduce you to them.


The iconic Laub run towers over the town of Engelberg, enticing you to explore its 1000+ vertical meters of deep snow. When this paradise of powder calls your name, resistance is futile. The run, which maintains a constant 30 to 40 degree pitch, is several soccer fields wide. There’s enough room for everyone. The more the merrier! Laub does not pose the technical challenges of its four siblings, but don’t let its simplicity fool you. Let the hardcore locals test the snow stability before you drop in. The Café Ritz sits at the bottom of the run, so reward yourself with a scrumptious lunch. If you want to go back for more, the owners run a minibus service, which delivers you to the Gerschnialp gondola station for the ride back up the mountain.


Three runs – Small, Middle and Big – divide the Sulz area of Engelberg. Start with a warm-up on Small. It’s the only one where you can do laps using only one lift. When you’re almost at the bottom of the run, traverse back toward the lift, and look up on the huge cliff wall on your left. Imagine what it would feel like doing a 72-meter high front flip off the edge. Believe it or not, it’s been done. During apre?s, ask a staff member to show you Oskar Enander’s award winning photography of American mad man Julian Carr, doing just that front flip. Middle offers the best cliff-jumping zone on the mountain. This is where the local rippers earn their bragging rights, as they train for competitions and photo shoots. Don’t feel like cliff jumping? No worries. Middle will also oblige you with splendid terrain for keeping your skis on the ground. Like a gentle giant, Big offers the mellowest terrain of the three runs, but it’s not without its challenges. Like many other runs in Engelberg, Big offers something for every type of skier.



Although it’s possible to access parts of Wendelu?cke directly off the lift, good things come to those who earn their turns with a bit of hiking. Untouched freshies reward 15 minutes of hiking. Build your endurance before you get here, because 30 to 60 minutes of hiking delivers you to the ultimate powder nirvana. If you decide to ski a top to bottom run, your legs will need another 10 minutes of hiking endurance, in order to get back to the lift.

This run, with its splendid views, provides an ideal introduction to the ski touring experience. A local guide can help you maximise the fun factor.


Steinberg is the huge off piste run you reach when you step out of the Titlis Rotair, at the very top of the ski area, 3020 meters above sea level. This run offers endless options for your downhill journey to Tru?bsee, where the run ends. Some choose to enter through the gnarly Gaff, located on the far skier’s right side. Others prefer the steeps of Never Sun, situated on the skier’s left. Between them lies a billowing area, where your skiing creativity takes on a life of its own.

From steep chutes to mellow powder fields, Steinberg has it all. You’ll never get bored, but remember to take the appropriate safety precautions. Parts of this run are like glacier skiing on steroids. Know your route, and steer clear of the crevasses.



Get ready for the biggest of the big ones. Boasting 2000 vertical meters of magic, Galtiberg gives new meaning to the words “really long run”. From the start of the run, where you can go as fast as you dare over the open glacier fields, to the
majestic middle part with 500 meter high cliff walls surrounding you, to the end, where your legs are screaming “Stop!”, but your head is screaming “Again!” – it’s all perfect.

This run is not only a Big 5 in Engelberg; it’s a Big 5 in the world. Easy access combined with an astonishing diversity of terrain will make it one of the most memorable runs in your snow-sliding lifetime. Top it off with lunch at Restaurant Wasserfall, or perhaps an apre?s beer while you await the bus back into town. Galtiberg is huge, so if you’re not skiing with a local, hire a guide.

The map at our bar has instruction about how to access the different Big 5 trails. Remember, before you go, know your way around the mountain and take necassary safety precautions.

If you’re looking to ski these giants this year, you can check our availability in our online booking here.

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