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SWISS ALPS About 5,400 feet above sea level, the village of Mürren runs


along the side of a cliff. Only 450 people live year-round in this laid-back little place, but more than 2,000 hotel beds can be found. The elite skiing and the town’s slow pace attract travelers looking for a relaxing getaway. Skiers can take a cable car directly from Mürren to Birg, which offers mostly expert skiing. But plenty of other options are within reach for novices. “Mürren is better for people who have skied a bit more,”


said Louisa Bladon of Worcestershire, England. “But there are certainly other resorts. I think Wengen is more geared up for learners. There’s a bit for everyone, really.” Bladon sat sipping hot chocolate next to her brother, Alex


Davis of Buckinghamshire, England, as she watched her 8-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son take ski lessons at Swiss Snowsportschool in Mürren. Davis was also watching his 4-year-old son take lessons. Bladon and Davis were in Mürren for a vacation with ten other family members. Mürren has garnered a reputation as being family friendly over the years. “We are not a party town,” said Heinz Rubi, a ski school


director for the Jungfrau region. “And I think that’s part of our image.” Originally from Grindelwald, Switzerland, Rubi has been


a ski instructor since 1971. He has worked out of Mürren for seven years, and has instructed and directed ski programs in the region for more more than three decades. Rubi


is


passionate about teaching others to enjoy skiing and said that skiing should be about more than gaining bragging rights; he feels that skiing and learning to ski should be about the entire experience. “Our goal is not the mechanical part of it,” Rubi said. “It


is to make people enjoy the scenery, the snow, the experience and the emotions that go with it. What we are selling is not ski lessons. We would like to sell emotions and experiences.” Werner Zimmerli owns the Stägersport equipment rental


shop in Mürren, where he has lived for 30 years. He said the scenery is one of the things that makes the Jungfrau region’s skiing stand out from the rest. “The main thing, I think, is the nice view you have,”


Zimmerli said. “Everything is very compact and close. You can go from one ski region to another one in separate days, and that’s very attractive.” For those who are not skiers, many other ways to actively


enjoy the unique surroundings are available. Sledging, base jumping, paragliding and snowshoeing are all popular activities in the Jungfrau region. “Our youngest went


sledging with my wife yesterday


afternoon,” Davis said. “They went down the bob run. So, they’re getting to know the slopes.” Bladon agreed that sledging was an attraction for her


youngest children. “We just go up on the funicular and come down on the


76| ALPINE LIVING 2011


Top: The Panorama restaurant terrace offers a beautiful view of the Alps. The Panorama restaurant is located at Allmendhubel station. Above: Isabel Hauri, 3, from neighboring Austria, gets instruction from one of the 29 ski instructors employed by the Schweizer Schneesportschule in Mürren, Swit- zerland. Heinz Rubi, the director of the ski school in Mürren, said that children who are taught to ski properly at a young age will have a passion for the sport for a lifetime. | Photos by Kim Bissell


sledges,” Bladon said. “They love that.” She said introducing her older children to the idea of skiing


presented little challenge. “I think because they’ve always come out here when they


were young they just love skiing,” Bladon said. “They’ve wanted to do it.” Bladon and Davis


started skiing at ages five and six,


respectively. They started at ski schools like the one in which they watch their children learn. They said they have little worry about their children being hurt.


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