Travel / Top 20 Resorts: Murren

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The Independent Travel
MURREN is claustrophobically tiny, difficult to get to and very limited in terms of both skiing and apres-skiing. It also enjoys the most glorious position of any ski resort I know. How could there possibly be anywhere more glorious than this? The traffic-free village sits on a high, sloping shelf looking across the trench of the Lauterbrunnen valley to one of the most spectacular mountain landscapes in the world - the ascending trio of Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. The approach by mountain railway along the shelf - having ascended from the valley by funicular - is absolutely heart-stopping.

For some British visitors, Murren is special for other reasons: it was here, 80-odd years ago, that Henry Lunn invented recreational downhill skiing (and skiing package holidays) by persuading the locals to keep their mountain railway running in winter. And it was here, 70-odd years ago, that his son Arnold organised the first slalom race.

Although, today, the ski area seems extremely restrictive, consisting mainly of small areas either side of the village with verticals of 400m and 500m, served by a handful of chairs and drags, it is redeemed by the one long, exciting run from the top of the Schilthorn (2,970m) back to the village at 1,645m. For a combination of modest thrills and mountain scenery, this run has few equals.

CHRIS GILL'S VERDICT: In a land of distinctive resorts, Murren is perhaps the most outstanding. I confess that I have never spent a week there, and if I were to do so I should take a good supply of books. But for mountain lovers and connoisseurs of unusual ski runs it is a must-visit resort.

(Photograph omitted)

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