12 (8 draglifts)
Total lift vert:
Sörenberg nestles at the end of a quiet valley south of the Emmental, a little off the beaten track of the major ski resorts. One highlight is the cable car ride up to the top of the Brienzer Rothorn, giving stunning views southwards over the Brienzersee to the Berner Oberland, as well as a mammoth black-run descent. On the whole, however, most of the resort consists of easy blues and apart from the preponderance of drag lifts is ideal for beginners.
For a zoomable, scrollable map of the areas, see this online map using Openstreetmap or Opencyclemap.
Sörenberg lies at the end of the valley south from Schüpfheim, which is on the main road and train line between Luzern and Bern. From Zürich then it's a train to Luzern, a train from there to Schüpfheim and then a bus from there to one of the bus stops along the Sörenberg resort. A Snow and Rail ticket costs CHF 61 and includes the 1h50 journey there and back.
By car, there's plenty of free parking available, and a day lift ticket costs CHF 43. The road from Luzern onwards is not exactly speedy, however, so it'll take about the same as the train, around 1h45.
showing some of the runs and lifts
Most of the Sörenberg resort stretches out along a sunny, north-east facing slope on the right-hand side of the valley. Slightly separate from these runs, and requiring a bus trip to get there and back, is the awe-inspiring cable car up to the top of the Brienzer Rothorn, offering much higher runs and a very lengthy black run descent.
Most of the lifts in the main area are T-bar drag lifts, and most of the runs wide, smooth and flat blues. The highest point in this area (the top of the 4er chairlift at Hintere Schwarzenegg) is only 1700m, however. Most of the runs are tree-lined, and the views across the valley open and gentle. One disadvantage is the relatively flat gradient of the slopes, making straight-line coasting more the order of the day than lazy piste-side playing in the soft. There is piste-side soft, of course, but you have to watch out for running out of speed.
Quite a contrast is served by the Brienzer Rothorn area, quite separate and reached via regular (but not terribly frequent) buses. There is actually a piste running over from the main area but it's more of a cross-country track than a downhill run. The cable car ride itself is quite an experience, rising ever higher over the sheer, wild rocks over a kilometre into the sky. Don't miss a trip up to the restaurant to see the views from the terrasse, with an amazing snowy panorama of the surrounding mountains, the Brienzersee and Meiringen far below, the Berner Alps including the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, and a sea of clouds round to the north.
From the cable car station, you have to walk down a surprisingly long tunnel to emerge at the top of the chairlift. There are a few red runs here on either side of the chairlift, with some perfect between-the-piste soft snow for playing in - and here it's not too flat! The snow seems lighter here too, due to the extra altitude. Finally for the intrepid there's the long black descent all the way to the bottom of the cable car, which for a short stretch is extremely steep and tricky, but for the most part exhilarating with fantastic piste-side fun. A definite highlight.
You can't avoid the drag lifts here at Sörenberg, but all are reasonably friendly, and even have staff to help you getting on. Some are quite long but not at all steep or bumpy.
There are however several flat bits, most notably on the right side of the map above Rischli. The others are avoidable, apart from the rise beyond the bottom of the 2er chairlift on the Rothorn, leading on to the black descent.
As far as lunch goes, the restaurant at Rossweid is worth avoiding - unless you just want cola and chips because that's about all they've got.