Activity Workshop
 

Snowboarding in Switzerland

As with the Hiking in Switzerland section, the following reports are mainly based around day trips from Zurich.

For neighbouring countries see Snowboarding in Italy, Snowboarding in Germany and Snowboarding in Austria.

Resort map

Here's a map of Switzerland (thanks, Openstreetmap) showing where all the resorts are. Click on the numbers, or use the summary below.

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

Google Earth guide

Kmz icon

This small file (8kb), when opened in Google Earth, shows all these resorts in lovely 3d. So you can fly over the Alps and check out the resorts and where they are. You can even play a tour and fly from one resort to the next! Each resort has a pushpin with a little info bubble, and these contain links back to the resort guide here at Activity Workshop.

If you haven't got Google Earth installed, you can see the same resort links in Google Maps instead.

Resort Summary

Note that the journey times given here are generally journey times from Zurich using public transport (trains and buses). Travelling by car can often save quite a bit of time, at least on the journey there. The ratings take into account the quality and variety of the slopes, efficiency of the lifts, the cost of a day trip, and the ease of public transport from Zurich. They don't take any account of hotel or restaurant quality, nightlife, village atmosphere etc, which will be additional factors when choosing a holiday destination.

Most resort guides now include a "slope orientation diagram", showing which directions most of the runs face. North-facing slopes are likely to receive less sunshine (perhaps holding their snow longer during sunny spells), east- and southeast-facing slopes get morning sunshine, west- and southwest-facing slopes get theirs later in the day. All of this is approximate, but can be a useful indication.

Day trips from Zurich

1

Feldberg (Germany)

Fairly low, and lots of drag lifts, but a nice, open resort.

950m to 1450m

About 1h30 by car

reasonable

2

Ebenalp (new)

Very small area with a few draglifts and awkward train connections.

820m to 1640m

2h to lifts

very limited

3

Toggenburg

Reasonable size, but quite a few drag lifts, and a bit fiddly to get to.

900m to 2260m

1h45 to lifts

reasonable

4

Hoch Ybrig

Quick to get to, popular but smallish area. Watch the return bus times.

1000m to 1840m

1h35 to lifts

reasonable

5

Brunni

Convenient and good value for money, good for beginners.

1090m to 1510m

1h20 to lifts

limited

6

Flumserberg

Convenient to get to, large area with good variety, good views

1220m to 2220m

1h10 to cable car
15 mins to lifts

excellent

7

Pizol

Limited network but good vertical and spectacular off-piste

530m to 2220m

1h30 to lifts

good

8

Stoos

Small resort, limited but beginner-friendly and lots of off-piste

1270m to 1910m

between 1h30 and 1h50

limited

9

Braunwald

Compact resort, ideal for beginners

1250m to 1900m

1h50 to lifts

good

10

Elm

Good piste network, but queues can be long

1000m to 2100m

2h to lifts

good

11

Flims / Laax

Enormous area, large vertical drop, and amusing Romansch names. Unfriendly resort though, with ticket scam and monster queues.

1100m to 3020m

Between 2h and 3h30

rip off

12

Davos / Klosters

Very large area in total, over several mountains, very popular

800m to 2840m

2h to Klosters,
2h25 to Davos

very good

13

Scuol

Spectacular scenery, wide mix of runs and good off-piste

1250m to 2780m

2h40 to Scuol

good but far

14

Sörenberg

Spectacular on the Rothorn, flatter in the main area. Lack of queues a bonus.

1160m to 2310m

1h50 to lifts

good

15

Meiringen-Hasliberg

Wide area, spectacular views, some flat bits

1060m to 2250m

2h20 to lifts

good

16

Melchsee-Frutt

Not too big but lots of off-piste

1080m to 2250m

2h20 to lifts

reasonable

17

Engelberg Titlis

Very high and snow-sure, steep runs for experts, area not very linked

1000m to 3000m

2h30 to lifts

reasonable

18

Lenzerheide

Two large areas, high on the Rothorn or spread out along the Stätzerhorn ridge

1270m to 2860m

2h to 2h20

good

19

Arosa

Big area, lots to explore but suffers from flat bits

1750m to 2650m

2h30

good

20

Andermatt

Awesome motorway racing, high and snow-sure; lifts old and cable car presents bottleneck

1450m to 2960m

2h to village
short walk to lifts

good

26

Airolo

Small resort but nice mix of reds

1180m to 2250m

1h40 to station
up to 50min to lifts

limited

Weekend trips from Zurich

21

Gstaad

Small resort with easy runs and dramatic scenery

1000m to 2150m

3h by rail

reasonable

22

Zweisimmen

Interesting mix of blues and reds, but fairly low

950m to 2010m

2h30 by rail

good

23

Mürren / Schilthorn

Varied resort with great views and big vertical difference

1640m to 2970m

3 hours+ by rail

good

24

Männlichen / Kleine Scheidegg

Large area with constant Eiger views, easy slopes

940m to 2470m

3 hours+ by rail

good

25

Grindelwald First

Wide sunny slopes with great panoramas, but expensive

1050m to 2500m

3 hours+ by rail

reasonable

27

Chamonix (France)

Not one resort, but many resorts calling themselves the same name, choose carefully! Car useful

1000m to 3840m

4h40 to Argentière

average to
excellent

28

Zermatt

Huge and high resort with stunning Matterhorn views, and connections to Italy

1600m to 3900m (!)

3h15 by train

excellent

Other resorts

Some other resorts which the ActivityWorkshop hasn't been lucky enough to review yet:

Resort

Location

Altitude

Time from Zurich

Disentis-Sedrun

In the Rhine valley east of Andermatt (website, piste maps)

1240m to 2830m

3h by train

Klewenalp

On the edge of the Vierwaldstättersee, above Beckenried (website, piste map)

1280m to 2000m

2h by train & bus

Lungern Schönbüel

South of Luzern, on the way to the Brünig pass (website, piste map)

1600m to 2000m

1h40 by train

Ibergeregg

Between the Mythens and Hoch Ybrig (website, piste map)

1100m to 1600m

1h15 by train & bus

Verbier

In Valais, east of Martigny (website, piste map)

1500m to 3330m

4h by train & bus

Les Diablerets

In Valais, east of Lac Leman (website, piste map)

1150m to 3000m

3h45 by train

Saas Fee

In southern Valais, south of Visp and east of Zermatt (website, piste map)

1800m to 3500m (!)

3h by train & bus

Crans-Montana

Northeast of Martigny and south of Lenk (website, piste map, piste map)

1900m to 3000m

4h15 by train & bus

St Moritz

In the Oberengadin valley in Graubünden, south of Davos (website)

1700m to 3300m

3h30 by train

More info

Throughout the season, you can check to see the current snow conditions at various resorts online. For overviews of recent and cummulative snowfall in Switzerland, see the "Snow Information" at slf.ch, in particular their "2000m snow depth chart". Also see snow-forecast.com for in-depth forecasts and resort conditions. There's an excellent site devoted to Swiss resorts at http://wispo.stnet.ch/, and also the reports at skiclub.co.uk are well worth a look, too. At j2ski.com they have a list of resorts near Zurich - although it doesn't give much info about each one, it's an interesting start point. The worldsnowboardguide.com site has lots of resort reviews, facts and figures. And skimap.org they have collected various piste maps (with questionable copyright status) and their own rendered maps using openstreetmap data.

Information about the special "Snow and Rail" tickets is available at sbb.ch (this link unfortunately changes often), giving the resorts offered, and prices (you used to be able to use Snow and Rail tickets even if you have a GA, I'm not sure whether this is still true or not). You'll need to check separately at sbb.ch for the train and bus times.

It might be a good idea to try and buy your Snow'n'Rail ticket in advance from the ticket machines, just make sure to enter the date you want it to be valid for. This may help avoid the last-minute panics when the ticket machines don't work and there's a monster queue at the Zürich HB ticket counters (as there pretty much always is).