Photo: Destination Gstaad
Guide to Skiing in Gstaad
Issue 47 / 09 October 2020

Guide to Skiing in Gstaad

Ideal for beginners and intermediate skiers, Gstaad offers scenic skiing in the Bernese Alps.

Serena Norton

With 200 km of slopes between 1,000 and 3000 metres above sea level, Gstaad offers fun-filled skiing and scenic slopes in the Bernese Alps. Ideally suited to beginners and intermediates, Gstaad is a traditional resort with pleasantly uncrowded slopes. Although the terrain lacks challenge, the volume of skiing covered by the regional lift pass, including Glacier 3000 at Diablerets, provides good compensation.

The Ski Area

Gstaad’s slopes spread across several sectors with the resort’s local slopes, Wispile and Eggli, situated either side of the village. Reached by bus, the largest sector is above Saanenmöser and Schönried and offers varied terrain for adventurous intermediates. There are also three smaller areas - Wispile, Wasserngrat and Rellerli - again connected by free ski bus. Nearby Château d’Oex and Glacier 3000 are also covered by the lift pass, and reached by local bus or shuttle. Snow Parks are located at Hornberg in Saanenmoser and on Glacier 3000. You can also hop on and off the mountain train to reach the base stations of the different areas - head west for the French-speaking area or east into the German-speaking domain.

A great way to explore the whole mountain is on the Rinderberg Ronda ski safari, a circular tour starting in Zweisimmen in which you will never have to ski the same run or take the same lift twice. The route should take around two hours, providing you don’t stop off for too many hot chocolates or a long lunch en-route.

Best For Beginners

Whilst not as convenient for beginners as more purpose-built ski resorts, Gstaad is still a fantastic option for those learning to ski. There are excellent beginner areas dotted around the ski area, including Wispile (close to the Rütti and Zückerli ski lifts) and Eggli (at the valley station of the Rübeldorf chairlift). There are plenty of gentle blue runs in these areas as well as up at Hornberg which is particularly popular with families. In fact, 60% of the terrain in Gstaad is graded as easy, with wide open trails to traverse.

Fun for all ages is the Sound Piste between the Saanerslochgrat middle station and valley station, where you create a variety of sounds by means of ski poles and snowballs on items such as milk churns and cowbells as you make your way down the piste.

Best For Intermediates

With 30% of terrain graded as intermediate, Gstaad offers plenty of rolling reds and long pistes to enjoy. The longest slope is La Videmanette, a 7.5 km run with a 1,160m descent starting from Mt. La Videmanette down to the valley. With sections marked in red and blue, even less experienced skiers can enjoy the challenge.

Across the cultural divide between the German and French-speaking parts of Switzerland (also known as Röschtigraben), is an 8 km descent from the Canton of Vaud in the Glacier 3000 ski area, to the Canton of Bern via the Canton of Valais. Once you reach the summit of Mt. Olden, it is worth stopping to admire the view. After an impressive descent of 1,137 metres you will reach the Oldenalp, and if there is enough snow it is possible to complete the descent from Oldenegg to Reusch.

Best For Experts

Whilst not the most challenging resort for advanced skiers, Gstaad still has nearly a dozen black runs dotted around the area. The steepest slope in the area is Tiger Run at Wasserngrat and further steep terrain can be found around La Videmanette.

There are also some incredible off-piste opportunities on Glacier 3,000. Freeride days take place every spring in April where all levels are invited to explore 3,000 vertical metres of untouched powder accompanied by a pro rider and guide. Heli-skiing is also popular in the area, with several landing spots in the surrounding mountains.

Cross-Country Skiing

With over 170 km of cross-country trails, Gstaad is one of the most popular resorts for cross-country skiing in Switzerland. Four valleys, one glacier and the Sparenmoos offer a variety of trails for all levels of cross-country skiers. With magnificent mountain vistas and forests, both classic cross-country skiers and skating enthusiasts will enjoy the beauty of these trails. There’s a floodlit trail from 6pm to 10pm daily during the high season at Schönried-Saanenmöser and in the summer, Glacier 3000 has a well-prepared trail from April to December.

For more information on Gstaad, take a look at our “Ultimate Guide to Gstaad” or if you're interested in accommodation we have a superb collection of luxury chalets in Gstaad.

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