Skiing in Switzerland
This country is not for nothing called the "ski fairy tale." Mountains occupy a significant part of the territory of Switzerland, and well-groomed ski centers are considered among the best in the world. In Switzerland, everything is of the highest class. Any local resort - the standard of quality, reliability and prestige to the same extent as the Swiss bank or Swiss watches. In Switzerland, more than 200 ski resorts - a total of more than 7,300 kilometers of pistes, not counting the 5,000 km of cross-country trails.
A typical Old Town Shopping Street in Switzerland
Ski resorts in Switzerland: how to choose
One of the oldest ski resorts - Zermatt - is located at the foot of the famous Matterhorn peak - the most photographed mountain peak. Looking at the luxurious hotel-type palaces or the most high-mountain hotel, it is hard to imagine that 150 years ago there was only a modest village, lost in the depths of the mountains. Today, modern houses in the style of traditional Swiss chalets recall that time. Modern Zermatt is a fashionable resort, which has been repeatedly recognized as the best authoritative guidebook by the ADAC in various ratings.
Another, no less interesting and famous Swiss resort, St. Moritz, is located near the magnificent massif of Bernina, in the south-east of the country. This elegant resort has 5 large and several small ski areas. In 2003, the World Championships were held here, and in 2017 St. Moritz will once again take over the World Championship.
This mountain town is a record holder for the number of excellent five-star hotels, but finding more affordable accommodation in the resort or in the Engadin valley is not difficult.
The favorite resort of freeriders in Switzerland - Verbier - these are the legendary slopes where the World Freeride Championship finals are held annually, huge fields of virgin lands and stunning views. In the Four Valleys there are tracks for every taste and level of skiing, because in this area there are 410 km of tracks.
Switzerland is the old Engelberg, sunny Crans-Montana, surrounded by the mountain peaks of Saas-Fee, and the most picturesque Grindelwald and Murren, where one of the James Bond films was filmed, and Davos, better known as the meeting place of the political and financial elite the world, and family villars, and many other interesting places.
Another resort in Switzerland, about which one can not fail to mention - this Leukerbad is an ideal place for those who want to go skiing and improve their health. The resort is famous for its thermal springs and health centers.
Whatever resort you choose in Switzerland, you will always remember the exceptional level of service and comfort, the coziest Alpine hotels, stunning scenery, excellent trails and the purest mountain air.
With Switzerland, perhaps, like with no other European country, there are so many stereotypes and myths that would be enough for a couple of other countries. Swiss cheese, watches, knives, the banking system, chocolate - first of all, these associations arise in the head at the mention of Switzerland. And, of course, the main thing: Switzerland is expensive. In fact, after the first trip to this country, most of the myths are successfully dispelled.
That is, all of the above, of course, is in Switzerland, but this is not the main thing.
Myth one: there is not much to see in Switzerland.
Of course, in Switzerland there is no Rome or Paris, but each of the cities is so amazing and distinctive that you can’t stop wondering how so much of all different things fit on such a small area.
There are four state languages in Switzerland (Swiss German, French, Italian and Romansh), although, of course, not every Swiss speaks all four (but also speaks English).
In the west of the country you seem to be transported to France, and not only because of the language. Charming and sophisticated Geneva with the famous Jet d'Eau fountain, soaring 140 meters, or the Olympic Lausanne with many interesting museums, a Gothic cathedral, shops and gourmet restaurants ... A little further, along Lake Geneva, cozy Montreux and Vevey and the ancient Chillon castle are located.
A short transfer on a panoramic train - and you are already in the capital of Switzerland, Bern. The ancient picturesque city with endless covered arcades of shops and the bustling river Aare is not accidentally included in the UNESCO World Heritage List: you can easily spend a couple of days enjoying the walks in the medieval center and admiring the picturesque cathedrals and banshees.
An hour from Bern, not far from the city of Interlaken, lies the valley of 72 waterfalls - Lauterbrunnen. They are considered the most beautiful in Switzerland and the highest in Europe.
And if you climb the elevator even higher, to the idyllic village of Murren and the rotating restaurant on the top of Schilthorn, you can not only see the amazing panorama of the Alps from a height of 3 kilometers, but also feel like James Bond (it was here that one of the Bondiads was shot).
The Historical Augustinerstreet in Zurich
The pulsating life of Zurich, the romantic Lucerne (the most visited tourist city in Switzerland) or the cities in the Italian canton of Ticino with a completely Mediterranean atmosphere - Switzerland has so many interesting things that even a few trips are not enough for a cursory inspection. Not to mention the natural beauty of the country - and there are plenty of them in Switzerland.
The second myth: everything is expensive in Switzerland.
Of course, Switzerland cannot be called a cheap country: a high standard of living is dictated by a fairly high price level. But this does not mean that Switzerland may not be affordable.
Having understood a little, you understand that Swiss quality is not just an inscription on the famous red penknife or watch.
Large portions in restaurants, high quality hotels and services, and, of course, excellent Swiss trains - for quite reasonable money you get much more than in many other countries. Even the very movement across the country “from point A to point B” invariably turns into a memorable excursion.
Panoramic routes in Switzerland pass through the most beautiful corners of the country, and from a train window in a short time you can see a variety of landscapes - bright blue lakes and alpine peaks whitening in the distance, palm trees surrounding the promenade or endless rows of vineyards leaving the horizon. It is not by chance that pragmatic tourists from all over the world invariably choose the famous panoramic routes - the Glacier Express, the Golden Pass, and others. Almost every resort and city presents its guests with a special card that allows you to use various services for free - from traveling by public transport to playing tennis and golf.
This is not all Swiss myths, but to be sure of this, you should at least once come to Switzerland yourself. However, at one time the case is most likely not limited. Switzerland is very addictive, and it is for a long time.
Those are the longest trails in Switzerland:
1) Portes du Soleil - 650 km of tracks, divided between France and Switzerland. Resorts on the Swiss side: Champery, Le Crozet, Shampuassan, Morgen.
2) Four Valleys (Verbier and neighbors) - 410 km of tracks. Excellent resort, especially for freeride and skiers at an average level.
3) Zermatt-Cervinia - the Swiss-Italian region offers 330 km of tracks of different levels and, perhaps, the most beautiful views in Switzerland. The tracks are completely connected by lifts.
4) St. Moritz - the most elite Swiss resort. Together with the routes of the Engadin valley - 350 km. It should be borne in mind that a significant part of them are scattered throughout the valley and not fully connected by lifts, but the ski areas are very beautiful.
5) Davos- The highest mountain city in Switzerland is surrounded by different ski areas, in total - 310 km of tracks, the main and most interesting areas are separated from each other, to move between them you need to use the train / bus.
6) The ski pass of Gstaad operates on 250 km of tracks, but not all of them are connected by lifts. In the valley around the resort there are small, but picturesque ski areas, and the Glacier3000 glacier (in Le Diablerets) also belongs to the general ski pass. Most of the tracks are best suited for the average level.
7) Samnaun is the only ski area with 235 km of pistes (including mainly medium difficulty ones ) united with the Austrian resort of Ischgl. Samnaun is the only duty-free resort in Switzerland with duty-free shops.
8) Flims-Laax-Falera- a dynamically developing region in Graubünden with modern lifts - 220 km of tracks, mostly red and blue. Great place for snowboarders and family holidays.
9) Alps of the Lake Geneva region: a single skipass unites 225 km of tracks over the resorts of Villars, Gryon, Le Diablerets, Leysin, Le Moss . The trails of Villars-Gryon and part of the slopes of Le Diablerets are connected by lifts (125 km of slopes), you need to get to the other resorts by car or bus.
10) The Jungfrau- Grindelwald, Wengnen and Murren regions offer 213 km of tracks, mostly of medium difficulty. The routes of Grindelwald and Wengen are connected by lifts, you need to get to Murren by car / train.
- Resorts best suited for families with children:
The best resorts for families with children in Switzerland are marked with the “Families Welcome” quality certificate. These are not just promotional “tricks” of resorts, they are a strict certification system for a variety of parameters, and resorts with these certificates are regularly subject to strict inspections.
What to look for when choosing a family resort:
- abundance of blue trails;
- availability of training trails near the hotels / apartments;
- the presence and location of playgrounds;
- the presence of kindergartens and ski schools near the residence;
- climate (for rest with babies, high-mountain resorts are not very suitable);
- the duration of the transfer;
- the availability of apartments or kitchens (if necessary by diet or due to allergies);
- the ability to walk with a stroller (look at the map of the walking paths, do not choose the resorts located only along the main road in the gorge).
Best for Beginners:
In any Swiss resort there are trails for beginners, but some of them are better adapted to get up on skis. Many blue slopes are located in the resorts of Villars, Le Liabler, in the Portes du Soleil region, Crans-Montana, Grindelwalde and Wengen, Arosa. Well organized skiing area for beginners in Saas-Fee, it is located near the resort. There are many beautiful blue slopes in Gstaad and St. Moritz.
If you intend to leave the company with different levels of skiing, it is better to pay attention to the largest regions of Switzerland, then both beginners and experts will be satisfied. Not the best choice for beginners - Verbier, in Zermatt ski areas for beginners are not very close to the resort. In Saas-Fee, the upper slopes are more suitable for those who are already confidently riding, although the lower “paddling pool” is excellent for children and those who only gets up on skis.
Beginners will be able to get comfortable on skis in Leukerbad, right at the resort there is a special Erli ski area. But in the skiing area itself there are few spacious blue trails for training, most of the slopes have a substantial slope. If you want to ride not all the time of the trip, but for several days, combining skiing with excursions, choose resorts located closer to major cities (for example, Villars, Le Diablerets, Gstaad, Crans-Montana and Grindelwald - the road from them to Geneva, Lausanne or Berna will take no more than 1.5-2 hours).
However, the compact size of Switzerland can quickly be at any point. Before traveling to the resort with beginners, it is recommended to carefully study the circuit of the tracks and pay attention to the length and location of the blue tracks.
In Switzerland, the complexity of most of the blue tracks corresponds to the stated.