Gstaad is an attractive Swiss ski resort which lies in a valley in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, surrounded by well-groomed slopes and tree-lined mountains. The location of Gstaad at the intersection of two Bernese valleys means the resort contains cultural influences from both the French and German speaking parts of Switzerland, creating a unique multicultural experience. The charming town is dotted with traditional chalets, luxurious shops and award-winning restaurants; yet despite its growing popularity as a celebrity hotspot and one of the world’s most exclusive resorts, it maintains an understated charm with its traffic-free village centre and original wooden chalets.
Comprising six sectors with over 200km of terrain to explore, the varied skiing on offer lives up to the promise of the village and visitors are guaranteed an all-round unforgettable holiday. A prominent feature is the resort’s picturesque castle which sits on a hill overlooking the village. At night, every building is illuminated by small strings of white lights, creating a truly charming and magical winter setting.
Resort Altitude: 1,050m
Resort Skiing: 3,000m
Total Ski Area: 200km
Blue Runs: 120km
Red Runs: 55km
Black Runs: 25km
200km of pistes are connected by over 40 lifts at altitudes of up to 3,000m in the Gstaad Saanenland ski area. Jump on a variety of mountain trains in order to access different regions, from which a gondola or cable car ride will take you to a whole new territory to explore. These high altitudes mean good quality snow from the end of October through to the beginning of May. Fantastic facilities make this one of the most family-friendly ski areas in Switzerland, with a range of snowparks, toboggan runs and more on offer.
Family-friendly ski lifts, a wide variety of downhill runs and the only glacier ski area in the Bernese Oberland, make Gstaad the ideal destination for skiers of all abilities. The slopes in and near the resort centre offer gentle tree-lined runs ideal for children and beginners, whilst the more advanced skier will enjoy taking on the Tiger Run – the legendary steepest ski slope on the Wasserngrat. For those who don’t want the day’s skiing to end, the Rinderberg offers night skiing on floodlit slopes each week.
Boarders will enjoy the region’s four snowparks which offer plenty of rails and jumps, as well as a half-pipe in the Sanserloch area. Those who are still mastering the basics can take on the wide, flat runs on the Saanenmöser slopes to practice turns and easy cruising. Some notable off-piste territory lies in the Saanen area and on the Les Diablerets glacier; which is best explored with a mountain guide.
Gstaad’s many winter sports schools offer group and individual tuition for skiers and boarders of all abilities. More specialist lessons are available in cross-country skiing, telemarking, ski-touring or snowshoeing. A variety of instructors will be on hand to either help you brush up on technique or simply guide you around the mountain’s best spots.
The Kids Snow Village offers children their first snowsports experience with the aid of a magic carpet and separated safe terrain. The Snowli mascot will be there to guide and entertain throughout the day, for children aged three years and above. Morning, afternoon or all-day packages which include lunch are available to choose between depending on what will best suit your needs.
Numerous cosy mountain inns line the slopes of Gstaad, promising sun-kissed terraces, Alpine charm and panoramic views. Down in the town, you can be sure to find a plethora of fine dining options to choose between. For traditional Swiss fayre, head to Restaurant Kernen where you can pair delicious fondue with a sublime local wine. The Alpina Hotel offers Michelin-starred cuisine ranging from its inventive Japanese restaurant MEGU to the authentic cosy ambience of the Swiss Stubli which serves local delicacies.
The social scene in Gstaad is almost as important as its skiing, with nightlife experiences ranging from illuminated dance parties at GreenGo to a traditional chalet-style evening scene at Berghaus Eggli. For live music, head to Hostellerie Chesery piano bar where you can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and fine wines. Gstaad’s famous Eagle Ski Club, founded in 1957, is one of the smartest members-only clubs in the Alps, with founding members including a decadent variety of Barons and Countesses.
Around 185km of winter walking trails and numerous toboggan runs will be sure to satisfy non-skiers looking to take in the stunning scenery. The area is also known for hosting many events and festivals during the season such as the ‘Ride On’ music festival and the beautiful Christmas markets. Further activities available in resort include Bavarian curling, heli-skiing, swimming, badminton, mini-golf, rock climbing and even the Alpine Coaster – the world’s highest bobsleigh track at Glacier 3,000.