Gstaad Ski Region

Gstaad ski resort Switzerland
Gnarly steeps under the gondola from Rougemont in Gstaad
The sunny slopes above St Stephen at Gstaad
Gstaad is a beautiful Swiss village when draped in winter's mantle
Snowboarding powder at Gstaad
Trains from Gstaad link to its ski resort villages & the rest of Europe
Gstaad ski terrain
Freeride powder at Gstaad
Gstaad powder on the Rinderberg above Zweisimmen
Restaurant vista at Saanerslochgrat in Gstaad
Cheeky powder lines on the beginner tows at Hornberg
New gondolas are improving the lift system at Gstaad
Skiing into Schoenried at Gstaad
The longest run at Gstaad is 10km into Rougemont
Gstaad ski resort Switzerland
Long toboggan runs are just one of many Gstaad non-ski winter activities
Gstaad is a shopoholic's paradise
Ski-in ski-out accommodation at Hornberg in Gstaad
Ride powder at Gstaad
Ski Gstaad

Gstaad Ski Region

Readers Ratings

Gstaad

Gstaad3.5/51
Gstaad3.5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
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Private guided instructional tours to the Dolomites
     Gstaad Ski Trail Map
  • Gstaad Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    948m – 3,016m (2,068m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    u/k
  • Lifts (64)
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Mid-Dec to mid-April
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 200km
    Longest run – 10km
    Advanced - 10%
    Intermediate - 30%
    Beginner - 60%
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 19/20
    Adult – CHF49 to 74
    Child – CHF28 to 40
    Child u/6yr – Free
    Gstaad-Saanen-Rougemont Ski Trail Map
  • Gstaad-Saanen-Rougemont Ski Trail Map
    Zweisimmen Saanenmöser Schönried Ski Trail Map
  • Zweisimmen-Saanenmöser-Schönried Ski Trail Map
    Gstaad Wispile, Wasserngrat & Lauenen Map
  • Gstaad Wispile, Wasserngrat & Lauenen Ski Trail Map
    Glacier 3000 Ski Trail Map
  • Glacier 3000 Ski Trail Map

Gstaad Ski Resort Switzerland

Destination Gstaad ski region in Switzerland is an expansive skiing area rambling across classic Swiss countryside & includes numerous villages plus the Bernese Alps highest terrain, Glacier 3000.

Gstaad is a curious ski destination, but curious is a good thing. 5-stars & all things nice in a head-on collision with a laid back, slowed-down rural culture all wrapped up in a ski resort. The Prada, Ralph Lauren & Louis Vuitton stores plus the looming Park Hotel & Gstaad Palace in Gstaad are juxtaposed against the traditional village architecture, the soon to be replaced ancient Eggli & Wispile gondolas plus the haybarns dotting the forested mountainside.

Pros & Cons for Gstaad Ski Resort

Pros

  • Classic Swiss skiing in a beautiful rural & mountain setting;
  • Efficient lift system being currently modernised;
  • Low crowds & no lift lines (particularly mid-week);
  • Excellent range & diversity of piste trails for all levels, including numerous long valley trails;
  • Super fun off-piste terrain including trees, steeps, bowls & farm (skiing amongst farm buildings is always fun!);
  • High elevation glacier skiing nearby;
  • Good après ski particularly in & around Gstaad;
  • Several different villages to choose from, all with different characters;
  • Plenty of accommodation available for all budgets;
  • Massive variety of non-ski activities;
  • Well priced lift pass during January & March;
  • Exceptionally good public transport access by train from anywhere in Switzerland.

Cons

  • With the exemption of the glacier, all terrain is below 2000m elevation;
  • Snow quality can vary markedly from top to bottom;
  • Low elevation base areas may be bereft of snow at the fringes of the season.

Pro or Con (depending on your perspective!)

  • No direct ski lift access from central Gstaad may be irksome to some;
  • Limited sunny south facing slopes;
  • Gstaad is a shopaholic’s delight;
  • Accommodation can be relatively expensive & books out quickly in high season.

Gstaad Skiing & Snowboarding Terrain

Comprising six different ski areas, any day skiing at Gstaad can be a voyage of discovery across the 200km of trails & a multitude of mountain peaks. Linking the ski areas can be done by ski lift, piste trail, train or bus. The main ski area does not directly include Glacier 3000, but it is accessible by free ski bus from Gstaad.

To get a sense of the breadth of the terrain, view the Gstaad ski trail map here.

From a purist ski & snowboard point of view, the Gstaad-Saanen-Rougemont sector may have the longest ski run (very nice first thing in the morning) & the highest lifted point (La Videmanette, 2151 m), but the Zweisimmen-Saanenmöser-Schönried sector has far & away the best diversity, restaurants, lifts & terrain (both on & off-piste). Alpine bowls, steeps, varying aspects, long valley runs, tree skiing & varied piste trails make it an almost perfect ski area (let down by a lack of elevation & varying snow quality). Some of the best steeps are formally off-limits in a protected valley, but it is still accessed by the intrepid (or the foolhardy!). If one had to choose one ski lift in the region to spend your time on, the 550m skiable vertical off the Horneggli chairlift above Schönried has the widest piste & freeride variety, particularly on a day of poor visibility. The gorgeous runs above St Stephen gather the morning sun so should be skied early on a powder day. Three small disconnected ski areas (Wispile, Wasserngrat & Lauenen) also have some good skiable vertical & the regions steepest run!

In recent years a few ski lifts on low and/or south-facing slopes (indeed entire areas) have been decommissioned, with ski operations now consolidated in the current north aspected ski areas. The good news is that lift infrastructure investment is occurring in the form of several new gondolas, improving upward efficiency & posterior comfort. The nostalgic ride up the ancient Eggli gondola from Gstaad will soon be no more as it is replaced for season 19/20, but that will hardly impact the ski area. It will, however, benefit non-skiers & sledders.

Lift Passes

From the 2019/20 season, like many Swiss ski destinations, Gstaad is introducing a dynamic lift pass pricing system based on booking date, season, weekday and weather. That can mean lift tickets cost up to 25% less or 14% more than the base price set at the start of the season. For example – a base price of 65CHF means lift passes for 19/20 can range from 49CHF to 74CHF. Come during the quiet times (mid-January is perfect) & ski for around 50CHF/day. What a bargain. Tickets need to be booked online here or else you ‘get what your given' at the ticket window!

Where is Gstaad Switzerland?

The Gstaad ski resort is in the Sarine (or Saane) valley of the Bernese Alps in western Switzerland, between the cities of Geneva & Bern. All the villages in the Sarine valley have train stations regularly served by the excellent Swiss rail system on the line running between Montreux & Spiez.

All 3 major Swiss airports are useful to access Gstaad. The main international gateway airport is Geneva (GVA). Bern (BRN) is a possibility for those flying in from European or UK origins, however it can have complicated train & bus links to go directly to the resort. Zurich (ZRH) is possibly a better gateway airport than Geneva, even though travel time to the ski area is slightly longer.

The train is the recommended mode of travel to Gstaad. From the Geneva airport, trains run to Gstaad with one change at Montreux via the spectacular Golden Pass in under 3hr. From the opposite direction, trains from Bern & Zurich make the journey to Gstaad via Spiez & Zweisimmen. From central Bern train station to the Rinderberg ski lift base at Zweisimmen can be done in 90min, making Bern an option for day trips. From Zurich airport the journey to Gstaad is around 3.5hr. If you have your own plane, Gstaad has its own airfield!

Search & book train tickets to Gstaad here.

Driving to Gstaad takes less time than the train, but why would you bother!

Once in Gstaad, train journeys between the various ski resort base areas (i.e. Rougemont to Zweisimmen) are free with a valid lift pass. An efficient network of ski buses fill in all the gaps & are free for everyone to use.

Gstaad Accommodation

The Gstaad ski region comprises numerous towns & villages in the Sarine (Saane) valley & below the Glacier 3000 ski area. The ski region’s namesake, Gstaad, is the most central of the villages. On the face of it catering to the higher end of the market, Gstaad actually has something for all budgets. It has direct access to half of the ski lifts & is the closest of the valley villages to the high elevation Glacier 3000, a short bus ride away.

Different villages offer different experiences. All are beautifully connected by train to Montreux via the Golden Pass train line, but it is Gstaad that is the complete package & the best place to stay for an extended period. A night or two in the lakeside city of Montreux can provide a few wonderfully relaxing days before or after the ski trip.

Search & book all Gstaad ski accommodation here.

Other major Saantal villages with nearby ski lift access are Rougemont, Saanen & Schoenried. The highest village is Saanenmöser near the pass of the same name at 1268m elevation. Of all the localities, it has the best ski lift access to the widest number of slopes. Several ski-in ski-out options are dotted across the mountains in all areas, the most interesting of which is the Iglu Dorf Hotel atop Saanerslochgrat at 1900m elevation.

Over the Saanenmöser Pass the village of Zweisimmen is beautifully located. Perfect for train connections, the main gondola ski lift is a very short walk from the station. The town itself has everything one would need, minus the 5-star qualities of Gstaad.

Search & book all Zweisimmen ski accommodation here.

The closest village to Glacier 3000 in Sector 2 is Reusch, 12km from Gstaad, but there is little value in staying there.

Gstaad Activities

Gstaad is a lovely village & the Saantal (Saan Valley) an almost perfect Swiss holiday destination with plenty to do for skiers & non-skiers alike. Winter snow, ice & landscapes provide all sorts of options for exhilarating, strenuous or relaxing activity. Non-skiers can enjoy 162 km of winter hiking trails, 70 km of snowshoeing trails, 6 toboggan runs on almost 30 km (longest run of over 8km), 10 different winter biking trails, ice skating rinks (in the middle of the village of Gstaad, the Park Gstaad Hotel, plus natural ice rinks in Schönried & Saanenmöser), curling, sleigh rides, husky dog sled tours, hot air balloon rides, paragliding solo or tandem flights & ice climbing. Phew! And that’s not including the sightseeing train journeys or the spectacular viewing, suspension bridge peak walk & activities up high on Glacier 3000.

For skiers, heli-skiing is available on 6 surrounding mountains from bases in Gstaad & Zweisimmen. Check it out here. Of the slopes, 180km of cross-country trails wind their way through 4 valleys.

Review

The Powderhounds reviewed Gstaad in 2019 & found it to be a curious ski area with solid traditions, a relaxed attitude & wonderful terrain coupled with high-end luxury all connected by train. How utterly Swiss! See our review here.

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