Engelberg is definitely worth a visit. It’s an absolutely amazing place, but a bit overcrowded by freeriders and Chinese tourists. The town looks pretty old and authentic. It’s located near Luzern (Switzerland) and can be easily reached by train from Zurich airport. Also SBB (Swiss railways) offers a special bundle: skipass + return train ticket.
Engelberg is famous for off-piste facilities. Most of all are located far from marked run. So you won’t be able to get back to marked runs until the end of the off-piste route. Also you hardly ever find a slope for skiing in a poor visibility. All forest areas are under protection. Skiing and walking through these areas are prohibited (green spots on the ski map). The most known off-piste route is Laub.
Caution: You won’t get back to the marked run.
The long North facing route with a pretty good incline (35-40 degrees) all the way down and with spectacular view to Engelberg. The vertical drop is more than 1 km. The classical route (middle line) isn’t so difficult, but a bit exhausting due to its length. The right one (in the Google Earth screenshot) is steeper and more difficult in the upper part of the route. The finishing point of all routes is Ritz hotel and restaurant. Where you can get a minibus (2CHF per person) to the Gershnialp ski station or walk on the same route.
Access: from the Laubersgrat upper station, turn right under the lift and ski the black run. Left it before the turn and walk straight forward to make a traverse. Finally you will reach the ridge with outstanding view of Engelberg. This is your starting point.
Route description: the classical route is obvious. Beware of skiing far to the right hand side due to cliffs and the wild protection area underneath. The Ritz hotel is the biggest building on the right side of the bowl. The alternative route: make a traverse to the left hand to reach the ridge, then ski along the ridge to reach the coulouir and descend. This route is more challenging because of steep places.
Although Laub is a quite simple and well known run, it seems to be less tracked than others. Huge powder fields and long time to return make Laub less crowded than other off-piste areas.
Access: from the top of the Jochstock chairlift, go ahead and ski under the rope. Then bear right to reach the couloir.
Route description: the route is quite simple. Follow the natural line of this couloir. You will ski under the Steiberg glacier on your right. So you can find out the best exit from the Staiberg glacier routes. To your left you can find couloirs which may be reached from the Kleine Sulz off-piste route. Finally you will reach the flat field. It’s better to keep right before it to cut the walking path. Walk to the middle station of the Trabsee-Hupper chair-lift.
Access: from the top of the Jochstock chairlift, ski under the rope. Then bear left.
Route description: the route is not so obvious. Ski in a good visibility only. Some ski tracks may lead to alternative routes (toward Grosse Solz) with narrow and steep passages. Finally you must reach the long traverse which leads toward the Alpstubli restaurant. It is better to look at the final part of this route from the chair of the Trubsee-Hopper lift or Alpstubli restaurant. Several alternative trails from Kleine Sulz toward Gross Sulz are observed from the Grosse Sulz route.
Access: from the top of the Jochstock chairlift, ski just under the lift and then turn to the left. The first entry point is near the lift station (wide, but quite steep slope). The others – a bit lower. Be aware of huge rocks and cliffs located here.
Route description: follow the line of the couloir. The slope is wide and gentle. Try not to miss the traverse to the exit. Otherwise, you will reach the flat field or even the lake and it will take a lot of time to hike back. Keep right at the final part of the route and find the traverse which leads to marked runs not far from the bottom station of the Engstlenalp chairlift.
Access: from the Klein Titlis (the top of the Rotair cable car), ski the red marked run then bear left toward the glacier.
Route description: long route with some steep areas. Actually, you can find a variety of different routes, which depends on the amount of snow. At the end of the glacier the safest route is keeping your right side (left side in the picture) and ski under the rocks. The alternative route is skiing to the left to take a detour of huge cliffs. Both ways lead to the Gross Sulz route.
The fascinating long route starts from the Klein Titlis (the top of the Rotair cable car) and leads to the Engelberg valley. But the navigating may be difficult. Sometimes you may need a rope. Taking a guide is definitely a good idea.
Jochpass left and right
The left and right side areas under the Jochpass chairlift. Easy for navigating and skiing. Perhaps these are the only areas for skiing in poor weather.
Access: from the upper station of the Jochpass lift.
Route description: Although they are easy, be aware of cliffs, which tend to suddenly appear especially in poor visibility. For the right Jochpass area (the left route in the picture) you must return to marked run before the huge cliff (at the bottom).