Ski resorts in the Bernese Oberland – An overview

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Skigebiet Grindelwald

When the white winter dress covers the mountains, they unfold their full splendor and time is coming to choose a ski resort. Then it’s time to unpack your skis, snowboard, sled and snowshoes and experience the majestic mountain world in a very special way.

In the Bernese Oberland vacation region you have the choice between the best and most modern ski areas in the world, which offer numerous varied winter sports activities. In the ski areas of Grindewald, which are located in the Jungfrau region south of Lake Brienz, you are also very close to the ice giants Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, and in the ski area of Gstaad there is even a unique glacier world waiting to be conquered with the Glacier 3000 Arena.

Even James Bond went skiing in Switzerland in the Bernese Oberland in the impressive natural scenery of the Mürren-Schilthorn ski area on behalf of His Majesty. Thanks to the new sets of trains on the Bernese Oberland Railway, which run every half hour to the most important ski resorts in the Jungfrau region from all the towns around Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, you can now reach the ski resorts in the Bernese Oberland even more easily by public transport.

If you get the Jungfrau Region Sports Pass, you can use the mountain railroads of all ski areas in the Bernese Oberland. And please DO NOT FORGET SUN CREAM! The ski resorts in the Bernese Oberland are among the sunniest in Switzerland and nowhere do you get as close to the sun as in the mountains.

 

Ski area Grindewald-First

The Grindewald-First region is a popular excursion area for hikers, climbers and paragliders all year round. Every year from about mid-December winter sports activities start and last until the beginning of April – the exact date will be determined according to weather conditions. Directly from the village of Grindewald at the Grindewald Terminal, which is connected to the public railroad network, the Grindewald-First mountain railroad takes you up to the top of the First in about 25 minutes at an altitude of over 2,000 meters.

From the villages of Stählisboden, Mühlebach and Klusi shuttle buses run to the valley station in Grindewald. For passionate freeriders there is also the possibility to take the chairlift from the top station First to the 2,500 meter high Oberjoch and whizz down the partly unprepared slopes. For leisurely skiers, the varied slopes further down at Schreckfeld await, which either start directly from the mountain station of the same name or can be reached via several chair lifts. All in all, you can look forward to 49 kilometers of slopes of varying degrees of difficulty.

This means that the Grindewald-First ski area offers the right slopes for beginners and professionals alike. But the multi-faceted ski area Grindewald-First is not only an El Dorado for skiers, but also for snowboarders and freeski fans. The two snowparks Bärgelegg Park and Oberjoch Park offer everything a snowboarder’s heart could dream of. In addition, a 130-meter-long halfpipe provides for a proper swing. In addition, an attractive skicross course is created every winter at the Schilt ski lift, through which the Grindewald-First ski area has been certified as an Audi Skicross Gold Park Destination by the Swiss Ski Association Swiss Ski.

But that is not yet by far everything that one can undertake in the skiing area Grindewald-First in the winter: 40 kilometers of winter footpaths and toboggan runs are prepared for active holiday-makers, for nature lovers and for families with children. Adrenalin junkies have also been thought of in the Grindewald-First ski area and the spectacular First Flieger cable slide has been created. With up to 84 km/h you can race down from the First on an 800 meter long steel cable to Schreckfeld.

A flight with the First Glider is almost as fast: Four of you hang like a bird under the flying machine, which was designed like an eagle, is pulled from Schreckfeld onto the First at a speed of 70 km/h, only to race back down towards the valley at 80 km/h at a height of up to 50 meters as if in a nosedive. Families with children can take advantage of exciting entertainment programs in the Grindewald-First ski area, such as the exciting treasure hunt in the snow or the adventurous snow groomer rides.

After an eventful day on the slopes, the nostalgic après-ski bus is already waiting at the Grindel valley run. It will take you to the hippest après-ski locations in the Grindewald-First ski area, where live music is played regularly and the atmosphere is relaxed. However, the après-ski in the Grindewald-First ski area is more cosy and sociable than loud.

 

Ski resort Grindewald-Wengen

The mountain railroads also start from the Grindewald Terminal to the Grindewald-Wengen ski area, which has several slopes reaching up to 2,300 meters and connects Männlichen and Kleine Scheidegg. The feeder lifts include the Wengernalpbahn Grindelwald-Kleine Scheidegg, which departs every half hour from the Grindewald valley station, and the Wengernalpbahn Lauterbrunnen-Kleine Scheidegg, which you can reach at the valley station near Lauterbrunn.

In between, you can get off or get on at several stations as you wish and use the various chair lifts to the individual slopes. In 2019 the new Grindelwald-Männlichen cable car was also opened, which also starts from the Grindewald Terminal and takes you up to Männlichen at an altitude of 2,225 meters in less than 20 minutes. A new 3S-Bahn, the so-called Eiger-Express, will also run from the Grindewald Terminal via Kleine Scheidegg to the Eiger Glacier from the 2020 winter season. This means: no more long queues and more kilometers of slopes in one day! The unbelievable panorama, which offers a view as far as the opposite triumvirate of the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger, is one of the reasons why the Grindewald-Wengen ski area is one of the most popular in the region. By the way, the winter sports season usually starts here at the end of November.

The Lauberhorn run is world famous in the Grindewald-Wengen ski area. With a track length of 4.5 kilometers, the Lauberhorn run is one of the longest runs in alpine ski racing and has been the venue of the Lauberhorn race since 1930. From racy steep sections to comfortably curved sliding sections, everything is available on the approximately 100 kilometers of prepared red, blue and black slopes in the Grindewald-Wengen ski area. Several cable cars lead to the various downhill runs.

The Grindewald-Wengen ski area is also a very family-friendly ski area. One of the highlights is the children’s paradise Männlichen, where the little ones can practice their first turns on the creative magic carpet under the supervision of professional ski instructors. A beginners’ slope was also constructed on Kleine Scheidegg. In the shadow of the mighty Eiger, you can whiz down the Eiger Run with your sled, which has a gradient of 36%. The 3.5-kilometer-long toboggan run from Alpiglen is easily reached with the gondolas of the Wengernalp cable car.

A special experience is the descent on the Eiger Run at night, when the toboggan run is atmospherically illuminated. The cable cars run until 22.40 in good weather. There are several other toboggan runs in the ski area, including the Easy Männlichen Holenstein, Ritas Speedway and the Fox Run on the Wengernalp. Of course you can also take your winter walking boots with you to the Grindewald-Wengen ski area, because there are several fantastic snowshoe trails, such as the fantastic Royal Walk Männlichen and the Eiger Trail.

 

Ski resort Mürren-Schilthorn

The Mürren-Schilthorn ski area is a snow paradise of superlatives: not only is it one of the highest ski areas in the Bernese Oberland, but it is also home to the steepest slope in the Jungfrau region and offers numerous highlights not found in every ski area. On the slopes with a gradient of up to 88%, one rushes down from the Birg station into the Engtal. Snowboarders and free skiers can look forward to creative obstacles in various sections and lines in the Skyline Snowpark , as well as an entertaining program that includes barbecues in the chill area, bluebird days and a slushy spring session.

The Swisscom Skimovie line is also a highlight in the Mürren-Schilthorn ski area. Here you can practice yourself as a professional racer and you will be filmed. If you have a valid ski pass for the ski lifts (also a Sportpass Jungfrau-Region), the video, which you can share with your friends afterwards, is free of charge. If you register online in time, you will even be cheered by “fans”.

The new skicross track is also very fast, where waves and steep wall curves await you. On the Allmendhubel you will find the fun downhill runs of the also newly designed Lilly’s magical Kidsslope, which is designed to introduce even the youngest of skiers to the magical winter world of the Swiss Alps. Away from the slopes, several kilometers of winter hiking trails have been prepared, which run through the fantastic snowy landscape and offer an incredible panorama with the ice giants Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

In general, the so-called Sky Walk or Thrill Walk along the summit ridge is quite something. Over the Sonnenberg, which didn’t get its name by chance, you can take the bobsled down the bob run to the Schiltgrat lift, where you can change direttissima to the sled and take the adventurous Apollo sled run. The professional ski instructors of the Ski School Mürren-Schilthorn not only show beginners the first turns and professionals the best tricks, but they also teach in the Avalanche Training Center the correct behavior in avalanche descents and how to handle an avalanche transceiver. The Mürren-Schilthorn ski area is easily reached by public transport from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen.

From there, a shuttle bus will take you to the Stechelberg valley station, where skiers, snowboarders, snowshoe trekkers, ski tourers, freeriders and tobogganists can take a modern funicular up to an altitude of 2,900 meters. In between, you can get off and change trains as you please, because the entire ski area is networked with lifts that are perfectly coordinated. At the very top, the so-called Bond World opens up, because the slopes in the Mürren-Schilthorn ski area were also once made unsafe by James Bond.

One of the scenes was shot in the panorama restaurant Piz Gloria, which bears his name in honor of the film. A small, fine Bond museum was set up there with utensils from the film, as well as a manageable cinema where the most important key scenes from the Bond movie “In the Name of Her Majesty” can be seen.

 

Ski resort Meiringen-Hasliberg

The excursion and snow sports area Meiringen-Hasliberg on the sun terrace above the river Aare is known for its family-friendly and culinary offers. At the huge practice area called Skihäsiland, one of the most beautiful children’s ski areas in Switzerland, the young skiers are looked after by the professionals of the local snow sports school. Skiers of all levels of ability will also find a varied 60 km of pistes.

At night, the slopes at Mägisalp-Reutli are transformed into a brightly lit snow paradise, which offers a fantastic contrast to the dark night sky when skiing at night in the Meiringen-Hasliberg ski area. To get to the various downhill runs, the cable cars from Alpbach-Meiringen, Hasliberg Reuti-Bidmi-Mägisalp and Hasliberg Twing-Käserstatt take you up to the 2,250-meter-high Alpen Tower. All ski shuttle buses are free of charge with a valid Meiringen-Haslingen cable car pass and with the Top4 ski pass for the Jungfrau region. The Häsli cab, which runs between the mountain villages of Reuti, Bidmi, Twing and Hag, is in operation both in winter and summer.

Freeriders and snowboarders have also been considered in the Meringen-Hasliberg ski area and some sections have been prepared accordingly. In the Avalanche Training Center below the Mägisalp, freeriders can train in advance with emergency equipment before taking the gondola lift to the Alpen Tower. From there, there are no limits to the freeriding experience. Only the signposted wildlife rest areas are off limits!

The modern Balis-Park on the Balisalp is the right place for skicrossing and snowboarding. Passionate freestyle athletes have been at work here and have created creative courses. However, you don’t have to come on skis or snowboard to experience the winter wonderland in the Meiringen-Hasliberg ski area. You can also strap on your snowshoes and explore the 25 kilometers of prepared winter hiking trails.

The many alpine huts and pubs spread throughout the Meiringen-Hasliberg ski resort  not only serve delicious Swiss specialties, such as the sweet temptation of meringues, which are said to have taken their name from Meiringen, but also regularly host live concerts of various musical styles.

 

Ski resort Adelboden steering

One of the top ski areas in Switzerland is the Adelboden-Lenk ski area, which is also one of the largest ski areas in Switzerland with over 200 kilometers of slopes of varying degrees of difficulty. Whether beginner or professional, everyone can find their favorite slope in the various sub-areas here. About half of all slopes are designated as blue slopes, which means that their low gradient of 25% makes them ideal for beginners and families with children.

However, to be able to explore all slopes, a single stay is certainly not enough. The ski area Adelboden-Lenk is a unique world of adventure, linked by more than 70 mountain railroads, which start at the valley stations in Adelboden and Lenk and take you up to an altitude of 2,100 meters. The Silleren-Hahnenmoos-Metsch region is home to the freestyle community. The Gran Masta Park inspires with creative rails and adventurous obstacles.

Catering and entertainment is always provided in the Gran Masta Park, because live concerts, parties and barbecues are organized regularly. At the Bühlberg there is an extreme fun-slope waiting for you, at the Chuenisbärgli you can test your ski racing skills on the Swisscom World Cup Skimovie track and at the Aebi there is an Audi Skicross Park as well as a slalom slope. Every year in January, the ski area Adelboden-Lenk turns into a pulsating witch’s cauldron when around 40,000 ski fans visit the international AUDI FIS Ski World Cup, which is held at Chuenisbärgli.

Then it’s really round on the slopes and in the mountain houses, bars and après-ski locations. Those who want to know it properly can have their downhill time tested on the time measuring tracks at Chuenisbärgli and Luegli. Another exciting event that you shouldn’t miss in the Adelboden-Lenk ski area is the Ski-Chilbi. This is the end-of-season party every April, where you loudly bid farewell to the winter with concerts, which then take place in every mountain inn and degenerate into a real music competition.

For families with children, the Adelboden-Lenk ski area has interesting offers, including reduced prices for ski passes and cable cars. These also apply to grandparents who come to ski with their grandchildren. Children under 6 years of age ski for free with the Snowli card. Groups of 10 persons or more, associations, clubs and school classes also benefit from reduced prices in the Adelboden-Lenk ski area.

 

Ski resort Gstaad

The Gstaad ski region also has a respectable 200 kilometers of slopes, which immediately adjoin the Adelboden-Lenk ski region and extend over 10 gigantic peaks between 1,000 and 3,000 meters in altitude. With the Glacier 3000 Arena, the Gstaad ski area is the only glacier ski area in the Bernese Oberland.

That’s why you can enjoy the slopes here from as early as October and into May. You can reach the Gstaad ski area from several valley stations in the villages of Gstaad, Saanen, Schönried, Rougemont, Les Granges, Saanenmöser, Oeschseite and Zweisimmen, depending on which piste you choose. Chair lifts operate between the individual slopes.

Several free shuttle and ski buses commute between the valley stations of the villages. A novelty is the Gstaad-Eggli panorama lift, whose state-of-the-art 10-passenger gondolas were designed in the Porsche Design Studio and which will start operating in 2019. From steep pistes, such as the legendary black-marked Tiger Run, to gourmet runs, such as the Eggli-La Videmanette sub-area, there is something for every ski and snowboard enthusiast in the Gstaad ski resort. On the Rinderberg, the slope is also illuminated at night and you can go night skiing until 10 p.m.

There are several learning park facilities for children and ski beginners, which are supervised by the snow sports schools in the Gstaad ski area. For families with children, the sub-area on Gstaad’s local mountain, the Wispile, is particularly suitable. You will master a difference in altitude of 1,160 meters on the longest slope on the peak La Videmanette, on which you glide 7.5 kilometers continuously down into the valley to Rougemont. Of course there is also a stylish snow park for snowboarders and freestyle fans in the Gstaad ski area, which can be found on the Hornberg above Saanenmöser. A highlight of the Glacier 3000 is the fun park.

Another one is located at the Hornberg. There’s also a lot going on off-piste in the Gstaad ski region, with major music festivals, open-air parties and atmospheric après-ski programmes regularly taking place – more than 500 events are held every winter. A visitor magnet is the Ride on Music festival, where numerous bands from various musical genres melt the snow.

A special feature of the Gstaad ski area are the enchanting chalet villages, which have a unique charm. Gstaad and the chalet villages are also known as shopping paradises – many luxury brands gather here.

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