On Sunday the snow had melted overnight but the sun was out. We thought sunshine would provide the best first ski experience for the kids. We are new in town, we didn’t really know where to go, so we looked it up and the Mothering Matters blog and some advice from the Mums and Mums to be in Zurich Facebook discussion group inspired me to try Oberiberg. Two key reasons why I picked Oberiberg:
- close distance to Zurich
- kids friendly with a Kinderland for children
Did it meet expectations?
Oberiberg is just perfect for absolute beginner children!
- Distance to Zurich
- It only took us 1 hour and 5 minutes to get there. We live on the East Side of the Lake so the first 30 min were used to reach the N3 Highway to Luzern. If you live around Horgen it would only take you 30 minutes to get to the slopes, so lucky!
- there was no traffic at all. In fact we were worried as we didn’t see anyone and the few cars on the road didn’t carry skis on their roof ops. We thought it might be closed because all the snow would have melted or perhaps we would arrive too late as we left at 10am.
- the trip is BEAUTIFUL. So picturesque as you drive along Lake Sihlsee. My 6 year old son spotted that parts of the lake were frozen, we first didn’t believe it but he was right!
- Kids friendliness
- You can’t miss the big car park and Kinderland right next to it with two magic carpets for absolute beginners. We only needed to use one, the one on the flattest slope.
- Kids are free to go down skiing on on a luge, with or without parents.
- The various games, decorations and characters weren’t there but the kids still enjoyed it and could watch how others did. We were a bit disappointed there was no Merry-go-round unlike what the brochure said.
- You can pay for the Kinderland area right there: we had totally forgotten to buy a pass. A guy came up to us and asked us to purchase a pass, he had his purse with him, it was smooth and simple. Then you just tie the coloured band to your child’s helmet so the guy knows you’ve paid. It’s 9 CHF per child. He didn’t ask us adults to pay.
- TIP 1: it’s very TOILET friendly! We used one at the ski hiring shop across the street then one a the Muller’s Postgrill restaurant. They have a comfortable change table and the women’s toilet is spotless, nicely fragrant and one toilet cabin even has a window!
- TIP 2: SKI HIRE in Oberiberg
- We used Holdener Sport as it was right across the street from the car park and when your kids wear heavy ski boots, every meter you have to walk counts!
- It was 19 CHF per child for the day including boots and skis
- We hired them for the whole season for 70 CHF per child. Well worth it if you plan to go skiing at least 4 times in the next 6 months even if you try other ski resort. It’s so small it easily fits in the boot of your car and you have up until June 2015 to return them!
- They close for lunch between 12pm and 1.30pm.
How did the kids like it?
- Both kids enjoyed it, woohoo!!! It was almost unexpected as my 3 year old had complained about the cold when he went on a luge trip last week on the first day of snow. He refused to go down the luge and didn’t enjoy any of the fun.
- My 6 year old decided to go on his second run just by himself with no adult holding his hand or helping him at the bottom. Good effort and out almost 10 runs he made it 3 times without a fall! See video below.
- My 3 years old could slide down while holding my hand, many times. Much better than when I took him ice skating for the first time, it took him 40 minutes to agree to stand up and move!!! Here he was fine walking a bit with the skis, move around the magic carpet and found it very funny to wear ski boots. I thought the weight and discomfort of the ski boots would be another excuse to complain but it wasn’t, pheww!
We bought our gear at Decathlon over in France. Lots of choice and good value for the kids:
- Thermal long sleeve t-shirts: 5 euros
- Fleece jackets: 4.17 euros
- Snow jackets : 25 euros for the 6 year old and less than 40 euros for the 3 year old (warmer, heavier with faux fur)
- Goggles: 15 euros
- Helmets: 25 euros
- Ski pants: bought from C&A in Zurich (Glattszentrum) 30 CHF each
- Women’s pants: 50 euros in pink, slim at the thighs with bootleg cut of course, fleece lining so I don’t need to wear leggings underneath, slightly too long for my 160cm height. It was the only size 38 left at the shop 🙁
- Women’s ski jacket: 50 euros as well, khaki colour, snowboarder style with lots of pockets but no fleece lining.
- Women’s snow boots: white with faux fur, warm and comfy although not as comfy as my Ugg boots as it’s all synthetic and you quickly get hot in them, but hey they were 25 euros!
The little restaurant 5 meters from Kinderland is cute with benches and tables facing the sun. On the menu they only had Schnitzels with fries or toasts because there weren’t many people there that day. We (I) decided to go to Muller’s as, being a hotel, they’d have more choice.
What we liked:
- nice and warm service used to an international clientele. The lady undestands when you ask for “ein straw”
- cosy chalet style decor with a pretty view on snowy mountains
- decent food: we share a Flammenkuche for starter for the family (18 CHF), my creamy barley soup with speck was very tasty too. It tasted like Blanquette de veau but in a soup style with diced soft veggies. French fries for kids were shoestring fries with some type of seasoning salt. Addictive!
- very clean toilets with a change table
What we didn’t like so much
- the price: it was 15 CHF for one kid’s plate including fries and 2 animal shaped chicken nugget, adding 6 CHF for an ice cream and whatever more for ice tea drink! (Note to self: order fruit juice rather than ice tea next time)
- All up we paid 129 CHF which makes it an expensive day. Next time we can do sandwiches but with kids I’m not much of a sandwich – on- the-slopes type of person. I need to sit down, relax and enjoy some type of comfort i.e. be warm, take the jackets off, have easy access to toilets etc… What I could have done is to not order the additional soup as I was already quite full with the Flammenkuch and kids fries. I shouldn’t have ordered Gluhwein (hot wine) either: too much alcohol, not enough spices, big mistake!
- Food: the pork meat stew, all onion based, my husband wasn’t a fan, yup that’s a pig foot in the middle…
Oberiberg Ski Resort
- Website: http://www.ybrig.ch/en/mountainlifts/oberiberg
- Opening hours: 9.00 am – 04.30 pm. Open from Christmas through approx. Mid-March
- Tel. +41 (0) 55 414 26 26
- Price: 9 CHF for Kinderland per child. Brochure says 9 CHF per adult too but we were not asked to pay this time.
- Ski Hire: Holdener Sports – Tel. 055 414 12 12 – open 9am to 12pm then 1pm to 5pm.
- Restaurant: Muller’s Postgrill Hotel Restaurant – Tel. 055 414 11 72 – open Wednesday to Saturday 8am to 11pm and Sunday 8am to 10pm.
- Map, this leads you to the car park, it’s an hour or less from Zurich City.