Traveling to Gstaad Fly into Geneva or Zurich. It is about 2.5 hours via train from Geneva
or 3.25 hours from Zurich.
Gstaad Stats: 9,850' summit, 6,560' vertical, 28 lifts plus gondolas and cable cars,
250 kilometers of trails. Nine separate skiing areas spread out across 14
separate villages in the Saanenland Region, with six different lift tickets.
Gstaad, Switzerland is the ski resort of fame and fairy tales, a picture
postcard village surround by the snowy Swiss Alps, complete with five-star castle hotels
high on the hillside. Gstaad has a glitzy glamorous reputation, this is where
the stars come to ski, shop and be seen, but the terrain is so vast, one of
the largest ski regions in Europe, that it will confuse even the most
experienced at first. The ski lifts aren't as fancy as the Gstaad clientele, but
the five-star Gstaad hotels, spas, restaurants, and boutique shops are among
the best in
the Swiss Alps.
Skiing Gstaad's "Super Ski Region" provides you with over 50 lifts, and 136
miles (220 kilometers) of prepared trails in six separate ski sections. Gstaad's various
ski sectors are not interconnected, so essentially you ski one area a day:
Rinderberg and Saanerslochgrat and Hornberg which are connected, Gstaad Eggli
and La Videmanette, Glacier 3000, La Braye, Gsteig and Lauenen.
The most spectacular of Gstaad's skiing is Glacier 3000, the highest on Les Diablerets Glacier at over 10,000'.
It's not huge in terms of ski trails and terrain, but it is highly scenic. The Devil's Thumb
here is an amazing rock
formation, and the skiing is heavenly despite the devil/diable references. You
take two long trams from the base, about 15-minutes drive from downtown Gstaad, to
the upper mountain ski slopes of Glacier 3000. While nothing is particularly
challenging (very long, very tame slopes) up on Glacier 3000's plateau served by 3 T-Bars
with about 4 wide open gently pitched runs, the views of The
Alps, The Matterhorn in Zermatt and Mont Blanc Chamonix in France are superb. A quad chair serves a few steeper prepared trails on
the front side, and
some off-piste if you hire a ski guide. Save skiing on Glacier 3000 for a
crystal clear day, its beautiful for any level skier, with a stop at Restaurant Botta for a super scenic lunch in this modern glass-lined mountaintop lodge,
watching the kite skiers take off. Most should download at the end of the day, the off-piste terrain
back to the base warrants a guide and a good dose of courage for the long steep
descent along cliffs and crazy terrain.
Gstaad's largest ski region is comprised of Rinderberg,
Saanerslochgrat and Hornberg which are all
interconnected by many lifts stretching across five villages. The Gstaad ski
lifts here are a mix of older bubble gondolas, chairs and a few T-Bars with many
prepared pistes of varying exposures and altitudes that peak at 2,000 meters.
The ski season here is shorter here than other Swiss
ski resorts, closing mid-March except for Glacier 3000, since you are
skiing below 6,000'. Saanenmoser is the most centrally located town,
perfect if you wish to arrive by train, you can
walk to the ski lifts from Gstaad's lovely
Golfhotel Les Hauts and Spa, and stroll to
après ski and dining, and browse the local boutiques and ski shops.
From Saanenmoser, you ski Saanen and Hornberg on well prepared pistes with plenty
of fresh snow between the trails, you can reach numerous on mountain chalets for
lunch like the charming Chemi Stube where you can dine on homemade sausage and
rosti potatoes with cheese surrounded by old wood beams and Swiss decor (bring
Swiss Francs - no credit cards).
Called SnowParadise 2000, Saanenwald and Horneggli are
the most family friendly of Gstaad's skiing. Rinderberg Zweisimmen is the furthest west, the
first ski section you reach by train from Interlaken. From Zweisimmen, an older
gondola access Rinderberg's few great groomed trails, and is home to the only on
mountain lodging - The Hamilton Lodge.
The authentic Gstaad village is a postcard scene of posh Swiss shops and
chalets. Gstaad village does not offer ski in ski out lodging, just a
few small lifts at Wispile, and a short drive to Eggli's ski slopes. But Gstaad is
gorgeous, with expensive designer boutiques, delightful chalet restaurants and
the best hotels like five star Grand Hotel Park, Gstaad Palace and Alpina
Gstaad. Après ski and cuisine are influenced by nearby France while the
architecture is authentic Swiss German.
is much ski history in Gstaad, skiing first started here in 1905, and
Gstaad was the site of the first Swiss chairlift in 1945. Now Gstaad sprawls to
include nine ski sectors, over 136 miles of skiing plus a plethora of off-piste skiing ranging from
3,000-10,000' on the Glacier. It takes at least a week and a car or shuttle to ski
all of Gstaad's ski terrain. Skiing Gstaad would be well combined with a few
days in the nearby The Jungfrau.