Snowboarding - Ebenalp


Ebenalp / Horn





Skiable vertical:



4 (3 draglifts)

Total lift vert:


Slope orientation:


slope orientation diagram

Most people you ask don't even know that you can snowboard at Ebenalp. It's quite well-known in the summer as a convenient access point to the Säntis massif (there's a ridgetop hike up to the summit of Säntis from here), but the winter facilities seem to be practically unknown. But if you don't mind drag-lifts and don't need a huge lift network, it makes an interesting alternative given the right conditions.

Getting there

For a zoomable, scrollable map of the areas, see this online map using Openstreetmap or Opencyclemap.

Access to the lifts is via Wasserauen (with the big cable car up to Ebenalp) and Schwende (where the only home run comes down). Between the two is an awkward and infrequent train journey, which breaks up the connections. By train you'll come from Appenzell to Wasserauen, but by car you'll have to decide where to park and how you want to get back to your car at the end of the day.

From Zurich, it doesn't really make any sense to come here for snowboarding as the train takes 2 hours to Wasserauen and there are many other places which are quicker to get to. For those who live nearer of course, it makes more sense. There's no snow-and-rail offer, so you just get either a day ticket or a slightly cheaper morning or afternoon ticket. Currently (December 2012), a day pass costs CHF34, which isn't all that cheap for the number of lifts and runs offered.

Slopes and lifts

plot of the ski area
3D plot of the ski area, showing some of the runs and lifts

The lifts here can be quickly counted - one cable car up to Ebenalp, two drag lifts high up, and one drag lift at Schwende. That's not really a lot, and is made especially awkward by the separation between Schwende and Wasserauen. If you accidentally end up below the "Gartenwald" drag lift, the only option is to continue down to Schwende and wait for the train. And because the train doesn't run at regular intervals, you might end up waiting for a while.

The runs are all graded as red, although they're mostly on the easy end of red. There's not much for beginners here, as if you stay on the Schwende lift, the only runs are rather steep and covered in compacted artificial snow. There are additionally two black runs marked on the map, but they're not signposted anywhere on the slopes. The website advertises its "fun park" by the side of the Schwende lift, but as of December 2012, it doesn't exist.

All three drag lifts are T-bars, but the upper two are not particularly easy. They're fairly steep in places, and cross pistes a couple of times, so you have to actively steer across the slope.

This being a rather low resort (with a summit of only 1640m), it needs a significant amount of snow to make it worthwhile. Fortunately, at the time of writing (December 2012), the snow is surprisingly plentiful and super-soft, even down to low levels. The real bonus is the off-piste and between-piste areas, which provide some much-needed variety from the short runs. However these are obviously also very dependent on plentiful fresh snow.

If the snow in the valley disappears, closing the home run, then one can imagine that would leave just two drag lifts usable, which would make for an extremely limited day.

Flat spots

There are really only two places to watch out for, but both of them are unavoidable. The first is at the very start of the day, at the top of the Ebenalp cable car. Unless you want to take the unsigned black down to Gartenwald (which may or may not be open), there's a short uphill walk necessary to get to the short rope lift. This then brings you up just high enough to get onto the red run over to Gartenwald.

The second flat spot is on that red run, when it makes a short uphill stretch. It doesn't seem possible to avoid a bit of hopping here to get to the top of the rise.


There's only one restaurant, the Berggasthaus Ebenalp, a short walk uphill from the top of the Ebenalp drag lift. The food is good and prices are reasonable, but the menu is overly-focused on "pommes".

More info

The main website is at, with a decent lift map currently under "Winter" and then "Skigebiet".  There's also a useful set of webcams on that site too, showing the current conditions.

Ebenalp // Toggenburg // Brunni // Hoch Ybrig // Flumserberg // Pizol // Stoos // Braunwald // Elm // Flims / Laax // Davos / Klosters // Scuol // Sörenberg // Meiringen // Melchsee-Frutt // Titlis // Lenzerheide // Arosa // Andermatt // Airolo // Gstaad // Zweisimmen // Mürren // Männlichen // Grindelwald First // Chamonix (France) // Grindelwald // Zermatt