In the Bernese Oberland vacation region you have the choice between the best and most modern ski resorts in the world, which offer numerous varied winter sports activities.
Winter is a poem. At least in the Swiss Alps. When the white winter dress covers the mountains, they unfold their full splendor. Then it's time to unpack the skis, the snowboard, the sled and the snowshoes and experience the majestic mountain world in your very own way.
In the ski areas of Grindelwald, located in the Jungfrau region south of Lake Brienz, you'll also be close to the ice giants Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, and in the ski area of Gstaad, a unique glacier world is even waiting to be conquered with the Glacier 3000 Arena. Even James Bond was skiing in Switzerland in the Bernese Oberland in the impressive natural scenery in the ski resort Mürren-Schilthorn on behalf of his majesty.
Thanks to the new trains of the Bernese Oberlandbahn, which run every half hour to the most important ski resorts in the Jungfrau region from all villages around Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, you can now reach the ski resorts in the Bernese Oberland even more comfortably by public transport. If you get the Sportpass Jungfrau-Region, you can use the cable cars 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 you can't get as close to the sun as you can in the mountains.
The Grindelwald-First region is a popular destination for hikers, climbers and paragliders all year round. Every year from about mid-December the winter sports operation starts and lasts until the beginning of April - the exact date is determined depending on the weather conditions. Directly from the village of Grindelwald at the Grindelwald Terminal, which is connected to the public railroad network, the Grindelwald-First mountain railroad takes you up to the First at an altitude of over 2,000 meters in about 25 minutes. From the villages of Stählisboden, Mühlebach and Klusi shuttle buses go to the valley station in Grindelwald.
For passionate freeriders, there is also the option of taking the chairlift from the First mountain station to the 2,500-meter-high Oberjoch and whizzing down the partly unprepared slopes there. For leisurely skiers, the varied slopes further down at Schreckfeld await, which either start directly from the mountain railway station of the same name or can be reached via several chairlifts.
In total, you can look forward to a piste length of 49 kilometers of varying degrees of difficulty. This means that the Grindelwald-First ski area offers the right slopes for beginners as well as for professionals. However, the multifaceted ski area Grindelwald-First is not only an Eldorado for skiers, but also for snowboarders and freeski fans. The two snow parks Bärgelegg Park and Oberjoch Park offer everything a snowboarder's heart could dream of. In addition, a 130-meter-long halfpipe ensures proper momentum. At the Schilt ski lift, an attractive skicross course is also created every winter, through which the Grindelwald-First ski area was certified by the Swiss Ski Association as an Audi Skicross Gold Park Destination.
But that's not all there is to do in the Grindelwald-First ski area in winter: 40 kilometers of winter hiking trails and toboggan runs are prepared for active vacationers, for nature lovers and for families with children. Adrenaline junkies have also been thought of in the Grindelwald-First ski area and the spectacular First Flieger zip line has been created. At speeds of up to 84 km/h, you hurtle down from the First, well secured, on an 800-meter-long steel cable to Schreckfeld. A flight on the First Glider is almost as fast: four of you hang like a bird under the flying machine, which has been designed like an eagle, are pulled from Schreckfeld up to the First at a speed of 70 km/h, and then race back down towards the valley at 80 km/h at a height of up to 50 meters as if in a dive.
Families with children can take advantage of exciting entertainment programs in the Grindelwald-First ski area, such as the exciting treasure hunt in the snow or the adventurous Pistenbully rides. After an eventful day on the slopes, the nostalgic après-ski bus is already waiting at the Grindel valley run. This takes you to the hottest après-ski locations in the Grindelwald-First ski area, where live music is regularly played and the atmosphere is exuberant. However, après-ski in the ski resort Grindelwald-First is more cozy and sociable than loud.
Also from the Grindelwald terminal, the mountain railroads start into the Grindelwald-Wengen ski area, with several slopes reaching up to 2,300 meters and linking Männlichen and Kleine Scheidegg. The feeder lifts include the Wengernalpbahn Grindelwald-Kleine Scheidegg, which departs every half hour from the Grindelwald valley station, and the Wengernalpbahn Lauterbrunnen-Kleine Scheidegg, which you reach at the valley station near Lauterbrunn. In between, you can get off or on at several stations as you wish and use the various chairlifts to the individual slopes.
In 2019, the new Grindelwald-Männlichen mountain railroad was also put into operation, which also starts from the Grindelwald terminal and takes you to an altitude of 2,225 meters on the Männlichen in less than 20 minutes. A new 3S cable car, the so-called Eiger Express, will additionally run from the Grindelwald 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 incredible panorama, which offers a view of the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger triumvirate opposite, is one of the reasons why the Grindelwald-Wengen ski area is one of the most popular in the region. Here, by the way, the winter sports season usually starts as early as the end of November. World famous in the ski resort of Grindelwald-Wengen is the Lauberhorn downhill run. With a course length of 4.5 kilometers, the Lauberhorn run is one of the longest slopes in alpine ski racing and has been the venue for the Lauberhorn race since 1930. From fast-paced steep sections to leisurely gliding stretches, there is everything on the approximately 100 kilometers of groomed red, blue and black slopes in the Grindelwald-Wengen ski area. Several cable cars lead to the various downhill runs. The Grindelwald-Wengen ski area is also a very family-friendly ski resort. Highlights include the Männlichen Children's Paradise, where little up-and-coming skiers can practice their first turns on the creative magic carpet under the supervision of professional ski instructors. A beginner's run has also been constructed on Kleine Scheidegg. In the shadow of the mighty Eiger, you can whiz down the Eiger Run on a toboggan, which still has a gradient of 36%. The 3.5-kilometer-long toboggan run from Alpiglen can be reached comfortably with the gondolas of the Wengernalpbahn. A special experience is the descent on the Eiger Run at night, when the toboggan run is atmospherically illuminated.
The mountain railroads run until 10.40 p.m. 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 Wengernalp. Of course, you can also bring your winter hiking boots to the Grindelwald-Wengen ski area, as there are several fantastic snowshoe trails there, such as the gorgeous Royal Walk Männlichen and the Eiger Trail.
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, 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%, you whiz from the Birg station down into the Engtal valley.
Snowboarders and freeskiers can look forward to creative obstacles in various sections and lines at 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 course is also a highlight at the Mürren-Schilthorn ski area. Here you can practice being a professional racer yourself and be filmed while doing so. If you can show a valid ski pass for the ski lifts (also a Sportpass Jungfrau-Region), the video, which you can then share with your friends, is free for you. If you register online in time, you will even be cheered on by "fans".
The new skicross course is also fast-paced, with waves and steep curves awaiting you. On the Allmendhubel, you'll find the fun runs of the also newly designed Lilly's magical Kidsslope, which is designed to introduce even the youngest skiers to the magical winter world of the Swiss Alps.
Away from the slopes, several kilometers of winter hiking trails are prepared, which run through the dreamlike 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 got its name not by chance, you go down the bobsled run to the Schiltgrat lift, where you can change to the toboggan and ride the adventurous Apollo toboggan run.
The professional ski instructors of the Mürren-Schilthorn Ski School not only show beginners the first turns and professionals the best tricks, but also teach the correct behavior in avalanches and how to handle an avalanche transceiver in the Avalanche Training Center.
Getting to the Mürren-Schilthorn ski area is easy by public transport from Interlaken to Lauterbrunn. From there, a shuttle bus takes you to the Stechelberg valley station, where skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, ski tourers, freeriders and sledders can take a modern funicular up to 2,900 meters above sea level. In between, you can get off and on as you please, because the entire ski area is networked with lifts that are perfectly coordinated.
At the 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 its name in honor of the film. A small, fine Bond museum has been set up there with paraphernalia 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.
The excursion and snow sports area Meiringen-Hasliberg on the sunny 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, young skiers are supervised by the professionals of the resident snow sports school. Skiers of all skill levels can also enjoy a varied 60 kilometers of slopes.
At night, the slopes at Mägisalp-Reutli are transformed into a brightly lit snow paradise, offering a fantastic contrast to the dark night sky when night skiing in the Meiringen-Hasliberg ski area. To access the various slopes, the Alpbach-Meiringen, Hasliberg Reuti-Bidmi-Mägisalp and Hasliberg Twing-Käserstatt cable cars run up to the 2,250-meter Alpen Tower. All ski shuttle buses are free of charge with a valid pass from the Meiringen-Haslingen lifts and with the Top4 ski pass from the Jungfrau region. The Häsli cab, which runs between the mountain villages of Reuti, Bidmi, Twing and Hag, operates in both winter and summer.
Freeriders and snowboarders have also been considered in the Meringen-Hasliberg ski area and some sections have been prepared accordingly. At the Avalanche Training Center below Mägisalp, freeriders can train in advance with emergency equipment before taking the gondola lift up to the Alpen Tower. From there, there are no limits to the freeriding experience. Only the signposted wildlife rest zones are off limits!
The modern Balis Park on the Balisalp is the right place for skicrossing and for 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 groomed winter hiking trails.
The many alpine huts and Beizlis scattered throughout the Meiringen-Hasliberg ski area not only serve delicious Swiss specialties, such as the sweet temptation meringues, which incidentally are said to have taken their name from Meiringen, but also regularly host live concerts of various musical genres.
One of the top ski resorts in Switzerland is the Adelboden-Lenk ski area, which is at the same time one of the largest ski resorts in Switzerland with over 200 kilometers of slopes of varying difficulty. Whether beginner or professional, everyone will 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 excellent for beginners and families with children. However, to be able to explore all the slopes, a single stay is certainly not enough. The Adelboden-Lenk ski area is a unique world of experience, linked by more than 70 mountain railroads that start at the valley stations in Adelboden and in Lenk and go up to an altitude of 2,100 meters.
The Silleren-Hahnenmoos-Metsch region is home to the freestyle community. The Gran Masta Park delights with creative rails and adventurous obstacles. Food and entertainment is always provided at Gran Masta Park, as live concerts, parties and barbecues are organized on a regular basis. An extreme fun slope awaits you at Bühlberg, at Chuenisbärgli you can test your ski racing skills on the Swisscom World Cup Skimovie course, and at Aebi there is an Audi Skicross Park as well as a staked slalom run.
Every January, the Adelboden-Lenk ski area is transformed into a pulsating witches' cauldron when around 40,000 ski fans attend the international AUDI FIS Ski World Cup, which is held at Chuenisbärgli. This is when the action really gets going on the slopes and in the mountain houses, bars and après-ski venues. If you really want to know, you can have your downhill time tested on the timing tracks at Chuenisbärgli and Luegli. Another exciting event you shouldn't miss in the Adelboden-Lenk ski resort is the Ski-Chilbi. This is the end-of-season celebration every April, where people bid a loud 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 there are interesting offers in the ski resort Adelboden-Lenk, including discounted prices for ski pass and cable cars. By the way, these also apply to grandparents who come skiing with their grandchildren. Children under the age of 6 ski for free with the Snowli card. Groups of 10 or more, associations, clubs and school classes also benefit from reduced prices in the Adelboden-Lenk ski area.
Also coming in at a respectable 200 kilometers of slopes is the Gstaad ski area, which is immediately adjacent to the Adelboden-Lenk ski area and stretches over a gigantic 10 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.
Therefore, you can make the slopes unsafe here already from 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 slope you have chosen. Chairlifts run between the individual slopes. Several free shuttle and ski buses shuttle between the valley stations of the villages. A novelty is the Panoramabahn Gstaad-Eggli, whose state-of-the-art 10-seater gondolas were designed at the Porsche Design Studio and began service in 2019.
From steep slopes, such as the legendary black-marked Tiger Run, to connoisseur runs, such as in the Eggli-La Videmanette sub-area, there is something for every ski and snowboard lover in the Gstaad ski area. At the Rinderberg, the slopes are also illuminated at night and you can go night skiing until 10:00 pm. For children and novice skiers there are several learning parks, which are supervised by the snow sports schools in the ski resort of Gstaad.
For families with children, the sub-area on Gstaad's local mountain, the Wispile, is particularly suitable. You'll conquer a height difference of no less than 1,160 meters on the longest slope at the summit of 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 at Hornberg above Saanenmöser. A highlight in the Glacier 3000 glacier park is the fun park. Another one is located at the Hornberg.
There is also a lot going on off-piste in the Gstaad ski area, with major music festivals, open-air parties and atmospheric après-ski programs taking place regularly - more than 500 events every winter. A visitor magnet is the Ride on Music festival, where numerous bands of different musical genres make the snow melt. A special feature of the Gstaad ski area are the charming chalet villages, which have a unique charm. Gstaad and the chalet villages are also known as shopping paradises - many luxury brands gather here.