How ice hockey turned into tourism in Engelberg?

All began with ice hockey and Canada, when young Jean fell in love with Alpine skiing. He was travelling along the Canadian Alpine team for years and got to know all the Alpine places in Europe and the US. This gave him a lifelong spirit to the Alps and this turned also to a family story. He found his wife, a local ski teacher, from the mountains.  And the mountains became their business.

Before we go so far Jean worked in INTERSPORT Switzerland and International, ski boots company Raichle and McDonalds and was responsible of the marketing operations in Europe together for 20 years. After those years he was offered a hotel to run. The beginning of the entrepreunial carrier was not easy with financing and with renovation. Now after three years, Jean is happy. The company is on track and the customers are coming back year after year.

Engelberg, which is one of the top ski resorts in Switzerland, offers ski riding above 3000 meters sea level in every weather. The place is a paradise for skiers and especially for free riders to whom Engelberg offers many beautiful places. It is also a place where skilled skiers can exercise their skiing over and over again. It goes without saying that Engelberg is one of the stuffiest places in the Swiss Alps.  The famous Mount Titlis has different kind of events during the year, in summer and during the winter season.  In summer time  the easiest hiking could be the Flower Trail, near Trübsee with the variety of Alpine flowers species.

According to Jean, new kind of service mentality and packages are needed, while tourism is changing. The average time spent on holidays is now 2,1 days, he says. Not for a week as it used to be before. And Engelberg has done its best. One can choose from snow sports, sledding, cross-country to igglo building.

Sustainable growth in tourism

Jean is worried about the situation that the growth of tourism has not always been sustainable. – The tourism has grown but how to make the changes in a sustainable way? He said he would like to see more about the service integration and sustainable design in the city area like in many places in the US ski areas.

He reminds that we have not seen the direct implications of climate change. Although there will be no effect in the near or long term into tourism, there will be big changes in the longer run. The smelting of the glaciers is a real problem for the business. And this is an international nature concern.

Also the competitive position will be changing over the years. The biggest risk for Alpine tourism is the cheap beach holidays to the new growth countries like Marocco. The Alpine skiing will compete with the time spent on games, city tourism and home decoration.

So the life as a tourism entrepreneur is changing. According to Jean the only thing which can make difference is the good co-operation and networking.  – We can always improve our operations, he says.

Engelberg is a perfect ski resort for business people with good logistic, services and experiences. It is also one of the favorite destinations and its offering includes arts, music and sports in every season. Special thanks also to the perfect breakfast buffet. It is no wonder why Alpine skiing exceeds ice hockey..at least in some occasions.


Päivi Härkönen


Fact Figures of Hotel Angel´s Lodge:

It is a modern Alpine hotel with central location in Engelberg: only 500 meters to the lift or 5 minute walk or with free bus transportation. The hotel has more than 5000 visitors annually and one of the specialties the hotel has is a wellness terrace with a full massage program (sauna, whirlpool and different kind of massages). The hotel is ideal for small groups with private spirit and it offers very cozy, warm and comfortable staying for its quests.

More info: www. theangelslodge.ch

Telephone: 41 041 637 20 45

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