Gstaad

Gstaad Skiing at a Glance
Vertical 6,560′
Summit Elevation 9,850′
220 kilometers of trails, 9 ski areas
Lifts 28 plus gondolas and cable cars
Birth 1905

Gstaad is Switzerland’s most glitzy and glamorous ski resort. With nine unique ski areas, the most five star hotels of any ski region in the Alps, and a fairy tale alpine village as the centerpiece- Gstaad is a gem for those who love après ski, shopping and dining as much (or more) than alpine skiing. Beautiful snowy Swiss castle hotels dot the valleys amid big mountains offering skiing of all levels, and scenery above and beyond – especially on the highest peak – Glacier 3000. Gstaad is among the largest ski regions in Europe, though its not all interconnected like Zermatt, which makes it confusing at first. Gstaad’s ski lifts aren’t as fancy as the celebrity clientele or the designer boutiques in the classic chalet village.

Gstaad’s “Super Ski Region” includes 50 lifts, and 136 miles (220 kilometers) of prepared trails in six separate ski sections. Rinderberg and Saanerslochgrat and Hornberg are connected, but Gstaad Eggli and La Videmanette, Glacier 3000, La Braye, Gsteig and Lauenen are separate.

Glacier 3000 was our favorite of Gstaad’s ski areas, and the highest on Les Diablerets Glacier at over 10,000′. While not huge in terms of ski trails and terrain, it is highly scenic as you view the Devil’s Thumb, The Matterhorn in Zermatt and Mont Blanc Chamonix in France in the distance. T Bars and trams mix with a few quad chairs to serve the high summit plateau with mellow terrain, and some steeper trails on the front side. You download at day’s end.

Hire a guide for a Gstaad ski adventure, off-piste skiing on Glacier 3000 requires some navigating and skill, avoiding cliffs and hazards, you can ski to the base.

Lunch at Gstaad 3000, on a crystal clear day, at Restaurant Botta is super scenic in this modern glass-lined mountaintop lodge, watching kite skiers soar.

Gstaad’s best ski hotels are five-star – Grand Hotel Park, Gstaad Palace and Alpina Gstaad. These luxe hotel resorts are near the village, a short walk or drive to the expensive designer boutiques and delightful restaurants housed in  in the picturesque village chalets. Strolling Gstaad’s fairy tale center is an après ski pastime, to see and be seen.

Gstaad’s other ski regions are Rinderberg, Saanerslochgrat and Hornberg, with Saanenmoser the most centrally located town, perfect if you wish to arrive by train, you can walk to the ski lifts, and stay at the lovely Golfhotel Les Hauts and Spa.

On Sannen and Hornegli, dubbed SnowParadise 2000, enjoy well groomed pistes plus snowy meadows just off the trails, and lunch at a mountain wood chalet with Swiss decor – like Chemi Stube. Have the homemade sausage and rosti potatoes with cheese, and bring cash (no credit cards).

Rinderberg Zweisimmen is the furthest west Gstaad ski resort. In Zweisimmen, with a gondola delivering you to a few great groomed trails, and a delightful luxury on mountain chalet – The Hamilton Lodge – exclusively ski in ski out.

To ski Gstaad, iIt takes at least a week and a car or shuttle to ski all of Gstaad’s ski terrain, and save time for shopping and après ski in the village. Skiing Gstaad would be well combined with a few days in skiing Switzerland’s Jungfrau nearby.

Paris Hilton said “Gstaad is an oasis of calm,” while Richard Burton described Gstaad as “The Most beautiful place in the world”