Lay of the Land
Gstaad/Saanenland boasts 130-plus miles of downhill ski slopes, sled/toboggan runs, snow parks, and trails for snowshoeing, hiking, and cross-country skiing. There are about a dozen ski mountains within driving distance of Gstaad proper, but the three closest mountains are Eggli, Wispile and Wasserngrat. All three offer a range of beautiful and well-groomed trails with spectacular views and mountain top restaurants.
Affectionately known as “the delightful” mountain, Eggli gets the best of Gstaad’s winter sun. Its peak is 1557 meters above sea level and reachable by a four-seat cable car followed by a four-seat chairlift. Snoasis, a gourmet restaurant and hip cocktail lounge with a sundeck opened next to the mid-mountain gondola station just in time for the winter 2012/13 season.
Wispile is the most family friendly mountain with numerous easy runs for children and beginners. Rising 1911 meters above sea level, this mountain also features a run for sledding and airboarding (sliding down a hill on an inflatable tube) as well as two mountain restaurants and two great spots for après ski.
Wasserngrat is the tallest of the three mountains (1940 meters above sea level) and (aside from the glacier) features the region’s steepest ski run known as the “Tiger Run.” The Wasserngrat Mountain Inn has an exceptional view of Gstaad and serves up hearty fare to hungry skiers. Its ultra exclusive Eagle Club (www.eagleskiclub.ch) is accessible only via a private ski lift.
The glacier at the center of Col de Pillon Mountain was taken over by local investors Marcel Bach, Bernie Ecclestone and Jean-Claude Mimran in 2005 and rebranded Glacier 3000. Thanks to its impressive height (and snowmaking machines), skiing is possible at the glacier from November to early May. Nestled in the peaks of the Les Diablerets, The Refuge L’Espace is a not-to-be missed destination restaurant for lunch or a drink with the most amazing views of the Bernese Alps.