Gstaad is not just one of Switzerland’s most iconic resorts, it’s also one of the world’s best-known ski villages. A Mecca for the glitterati, it is also a top destination for the rest of us, with some superb skiing on and off piste.
Gstaad ski resort
- Resort 1,000m
- Summit 3,000m
- Vertical 2,000m
- Ski area 220km
- Parks 3
Gstaad oozes charm. But don’t just take our word for it – it’s the resort of choice for many a Hollywood celeb. Indeed, this village in the Saanenland is one of the world’s most famous resorts, while still being nicely understated about its wealth. Pleasantly car-free, it mostly has attractive chalet style buildings. And the Saanenland as a whole offers a very diverse range of holiday options.
The area of Gstaad covers half a dozen areas in the vicinity that add up to 220km of slopes. You can hop on and off the cable cars to get to the base stations of each ski area. The only exception is the Glacier 3000 (the only glacier ski region in the Bernese Oberland).
Most of the skiing takes place on wide open trails cut through thin woodland on north-facing slopes and meadows on the lower slopes. The advanced ski runs are dotted around the area with most of the individual areas having at least one good long black. The 2.5km long black section of the Tiger Run down from Wasserngrat is considered the steepest ski slope in the holiday region.
Some 53 lifts and cable cars move skiers efficiently around the slopes. Thanks to Glacier 3000, skiers and snowboarders can enjoy good skiing from the end of October right through to early May. Powder-hunters can opt for some of the many guided ski tours with ascent times of up to five hours. Glacier 3000 is especially good for off-piste with some incredible descents. Heli-skiing is also popular with five landing spots in the surrounding mountains.
/Off the slopes
Gstaad happily caters for all types of après ski. The top venue in town is the Green Go nightclub at the five star Palace hotel. It’s when it comes to food and wine that Gstaad excels, however. It has no fewer than 15 renowned gourmet restaurants, including the Restaurant Chesery which has been awarded 15 Gault Millau points. The resort is also a wellness hot-spot with a string of luxury spas. For families, there are plenty of toboggan runs as well as eight dedicated children’s nursery slopes. Kids will also love the sleigh and husky rides, ice-skating and igloo-building. Around 170km of trails will tempt cross-country skiers, while for walkers there are 200km of winter trails. Among the more unusual activities is curling in the centre of Gstaad. And for a culinary experience with a difference, try Fondueland Gstaad – open-air cheese fondue in a giant caquelon pot, with unparalleled panoramic views.
Mike von Grünigen Run
Vying for the accolade of Gstaad’s most beautiful slope, is this glorious red run from the top of the Horneggli, named in honour of legendary local skier and two-time world champion, Mike von Grünigen.
Haute cuisine doesn’t get higher than at Refuge l’Espace, at Glacier 3000 – one of the most spectacular high-altitude lounges in the Alps. Savour local culinary delights surrounded by the impressive Glacier landscape.
Explore Gstaad on cross-country skis
Gstaad-Saanenland is in the top league of cross-country ski destinations and offers a network of top-quality trails, with magnificent panoramic views of the mountains.
Igloo Hotel Gstaad
Lodgings don’t come much cooler than this. Gstaad Igloo Village, the hotel built out of snow, offers a wellness area with a sauna and whirlpool and a heated barbecue hut with a cosy fireplace.
Price: from £159 pp,pn.
Le Grand Bellevue, Gstaad
Gstaad is famous for its high-quality wellness centres and Le Grand Spa is the ultimate sanctuary, and dazzling even by Gstaad standards. Needless to say, it’s priced to match.
Price: from £473 a night.