Being the 3rd ski resort I visited while making Lucerne as my base, I picked Meiringen-Hasliberg which is also the furthest from Lucerne. This ski area is located in the Canton of Bern and close to the town of Interlaken so that might be another town to base yourself in if you plan to ski here.
One of the best way to get here by public transport is to take the train to Brünig-Hasliberg. From there buses will bring skiers to the various ski bases ranging from several points in the village of Hasliberg or from the larger town of Meiringen where an aerial tram will bring skiers up to Hasliberg-Reuti.
Since I have not gotten my ski pass yet, I alighted at Meiringen where there are more facilities and a larger ticket office. On hindsight, I would recommend a stop at Twing or Reuti in Hasliberg as they are closer to the train station, and all of the ski area is accessible by the extensive network of chairlifts.
One thing that makes Hasliberg-Meiringen less accessible is the lack of a train station at the base. Instead it forces skiers relying on public transport to go for a transfer on the bus.
However for skiers who drive, there was car parks just right next to the chairlift base at Twing. The ease of parking in the numerous village bases should make this popular amongst families staying in the region.
CHAIRLIFTS & GONDOLAS
Unlike the previous 2 ski areas I visited, Meiringen-Hasliberg has more marked pistes and more chairlifts and cable car systems. From Meiringen, skiers board the aerial tram or gondola to Reuti. At both Reuti and Twing in Hasliberg, there are 6-seater and 8-seater cable cars that will transport skiers up to Bidmi and Käserstatt respectively. The cable car from Reuti to Bidmi will continue on towards Mägisalp. Most advanced skiers would probably spend much of their time over at Käserstatt and Mägisalp since they are the upper or Alpine base.
Another cable car system rises from Mägisalp towards Alpine Tower which is one of the highest points in the ski area. This is another area for intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders.
Besides these major cable car and aerial tram systems, the rest of the resort has several chairlifts to bring skiers to the upper parts of the mountain. From Mägisalp, there is a set of 2 consecutive quad chairlifts, one to Hääggen and the next one to the highest lift-accessed point at 2,433m above sea level, close to Glogghüs summit.
Over in Bidmi, there is a 6-seater chairlift to allow skiers to move between Reuti/Bidmi towards Käserstatt. At Käserstatt, there is yet another 6-seater chairlift that reaches an altitude of 2,180m at Hochsträss. This chairlift is named the Sunne Express and it was aptly named since it brought skiers above the clouds and into the sun when I visited. The intermediate pistes served by this chairlift would also be popular with many skiers since they are great for cruising.
As with many European ski resorts, T-bars are commonly found throughout the resorts. There is a T-bar from Käserstatt to Hohbiel, with another T-bar that brings skiers back to Käserstatt from Balisalp where there are skiing, hiking and sledding trails.
COST & VALUE
Similar to the last 2 experiences, I purchased the Snow’N’Rail package which includes return train and bus trip. The total cost was CHF91 (~$91) including a day ski pass.
Do consider that at this price, it usually gets skiers a one-day pass at the larger ski resorts in North America. Thus with the transport included, this was a good price especially in Switzerland and the ski terrain acreage here compares well with some of the larger ski resorts in the United States.
Most of the beginner ski slopes are centred around Bidmi, where the Swiss Ski School has a base. The Skihäsliland can be found in Bidmi as well and it is basically the learning area for kids with the Swiss version of magic carpets where skiers hang onto moving ropeways.
Aside from the ski school area in Bidmi, there are also mild blue slopes to Reuti and from Mägisalp to Bidmi. However the blue route from Mägisalp to Bidmi can be crowded with choppy snow conditions after a fresh snowfall. Thus I would not recommend complete beginners from going down this blue route. In essence, most of the ski areas are suited to intermediate skiers and snowboarders.
Majority of the downhill ski trails in Hasliberg-Meiringen are labelled as red pistes which equates to somewhere between blue and black in the North American ski piste. As such there is some wide range in between, some of the red piste might not be suitable for weaker intermediate skiers.
For example the Tschuggi piste from Alpen Tower to Mägisalp is a nice and relatively easy run for intermediate skiers at the top but it gets a bit narrow and steep at the bottom which can be troublesome with crowds.
An easier red pistes is Hochsträss from the top of the Sunne Express chairlift back to Käserstatt. This particular piste was wide and offers great panoramas at the start making it easy for skiers to just like the runs.
Other ski trails for intermediates runs from the top at Hääggen to Mägisalp, along with the return runs to Twing from Käserstatt. There are intermediate ski trails from the upper village of Hasliberg into Meiringen though I did not try these ski trails since it was more convenient to just take the bus for my return trip from Hasliberg Wasserwendi or Hasliberg Reuti.
Challenging ski trails for advanced skiers and snowboarders can be found in the upper half of the mountain with only 3 trails designated as black runs.
One of them named Nordpol runs from Alpen tower to the Mägisalp base which is one of the most crowded area. The other 2 are Ringture and Glogghüüs that goes from the top of Hochsträss and Glogghüüs respectively towards the red run that goes back to Mägisalp. For a resort of this size, the advanced trails for expert skiers and snowboarders are somewhat lacking.
BACKCOUNTRY & TERRAIN PARK
The major off-piste areas to discover are from the top at Glogghüüs and Hochsträss. There are definitely places where skiers can discover fresh powder stashes and go on freeride skiing down towards Käserstatt or Mägisalp.
Being one of the more traditional ski resorts, there was no terrain park or anything of that sort here. Instead, there was a ski race being held near the base of Mägisalp. In addition, non-skiers can have some fun sledding down certain trails designated for winter hiking and sledding.
At the upper sections of the mountain, Käserstatt and Mägisalp are both major areas with lodges for skiers to take a break and have lunch in between skiing. Both of these are most crowded during the weekends when many families would be up here for skiing. In particular the lodge at Mägisalp can be difficult to secure a seat during peak lunch hours between 12noon and 1pm.
There are somewhat smaller lodges at both Hääggen and Alpen tower, which are amongst the higher points in the mountain. As such it makes it easier for capable skiers to escape the crowds.
In the lower section, there are restaurants and bars in Bidmi located along the mid-mountain. Bidmi would be crowded with the ski school crowd so this is another area to avoid if you are planning to sit down and have a break from skiing. Meanwhile the village section Reuti is the more crowded area with restaurants that is more likely to open during the low season.
Other than these lodges, there are some on-mountain lodges at Balisalp, Gummenalp and Winterlücke though aside from Gummenalp, the other 2 lodges cater more to hikers and visitors who are sledding in the ski resort.
FOOD & BEVERAGES
The menu in the lodges here are not very appealing with more traditional Swiss/European dishes like rosti and spaetzle being common. Meat dishes like bratwurst and burger are available as well, while nuggets are the usual dishes for kids.
Beers and a variety of soft drinks or juices are available from the self-serve counters in Käserstatt. As a note to skiers, the food here costs more or less the same with other ski resorts with soups and salads retailing at around CHF6-7, while main courses can be as much as CHF17-22.
Most visitors would be able to find lodging in the town of Meiringen which is the larger town with more amenities. In Hasliberg, there are smaller lodges and chalets with limited rooms in either the village of Reuti or Twing.
Hasliberg has some chalets and ski lodges located on the mountain near Mägisalp. This makes it easy for skiers who would like early bird access to the slopes.
When the ski slopes starts to wind down for the day, skiers can head to either Käserstatt or Bidmi where there are bars so that they can unwind for the rest of the day. The tents just somewhat below the lodge at Käserstatt will see plenty of skiers hanging out for a drink before continuing their way down the mountain at the end of the day.
Bidmi is more family friendly but it does have a bar area off from the main ski lodge and the ski school area. The bar has plenty of open-air seating and is located beside the piste heading back to the village in Reuti so it is easy to spot on the way back. Being a family oriented resort, the après-ski scene here is not rowdy and back at the village there are not that much places to hang out, so it is obviously not big on after-ski activities.
While not a high-altitude resort in the Alps with the summit maxing out at 2,534m above sea level and the highest lift accessed point at 2,433m, it might not have the best vantage point in the Alps. However on clear days, it is possible to see Mount Titlis from Alpen Tower. During my visit, it was cloudy, with the weather only clearing for a bit around Hochsträss.
From the viewpoint at Hochsträss, skiers could see the pistes at Alpen Tower and the base at Mägisalp.
With more limited lodging in the mountains and with this resort being not as famous or as accessible, I was surprised at the crowds in Mägisalp during my visit. As I went on a weekend, there was plenty of Swiss families out enjoying their ski day and it was a refreshing experience skiing with the locals.
This is a more traditional ski resort that does not have advanced lift systems that one might see in some of the larger ski resorts. Neither was there much in terms of food and beverage for international visitors. With these considerations in mind, the mountain still provides plenty of terrain for skiers who goes out of the way to visit this ski resort, but if there was only one ski resort you want to visit in Switzerland, this might not be the one.