By the standards of 21st-century ski resorts, the terrain lacks challenge with almost half of it graded as easy. However, the volume of skiing covered by the regional lift pass – 250km and 62 lifts in Gstaad Mountain Rides – is a decent compensation. The ski areas are scenic, but broken up into six sectors with Gstaad’s own skiing taking place in the Wispile and Eggli areas on either side of the village. The mainly easy blue runs here are below 2000m and offer limited challenge. The Hornberg area is particularly popular with families due to its good selection of gentle blue and red runs.
Ski buses ply their way to and from the surrounding villages of Rougemont, Saanenmoser and Schonried. St Stephan, Zweisimmen, Lauenen, Gsteig, Saanen and Chateau d’Oex, all of which are included in the regional lift pass.
However, good intermediates will be disappointed by the lack of black runs in the area, with the skiing taking place mainly on pleasant pastures with limited challenge.
Snow-cover can be scarce in such a low-lying resort, although there is always off-piste terrain available for ski-touring and heli-skiing. The Glacier 3000 at Les Diablerets provides much-needed snow-sure skiing and is open from October to early May. From the top you can see 24 summits over 4000m altitude – including Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn
Snowparks for freestylers are at Hornberg, Saanenmoser, and on the glacier. For those who prefer cross-country to the downhill variety, there are over 160km of tracks along the valley floor.