12 (6 draglifts)
Total lift vert:
For a zoomable, scrollable map of the areas, see this online map using Openstreetmap or Opencyclemap.
There are three main bases to the resort, with access by bus to all three. Perhaps the most convenient is Unterwasser, with its railway leading directly up to the cable car station at Iltios. By public transport, the double-decker buses run regularly from Nesslau-Neu St Johann along the valley, stopping at Alt St Johann, Unterwasser and then Wildhaus Lisighaus.
From Zürich, the time to get there is a reasonable 1h45, but it entails a fiddly 3 (yes, three) changes - an S-bahn to Rapperswil, a train to Wattwil, another train to Nesslau-Neu St Johann and then the bus.
If you're coming by car, there are car parks at Wildhaus, Unterwasser and Alt St Johann. From Zürich it's about an hour and a half. Once you're there, an adult day pass for the lifts will now cost you CHF 62 (up from CHF 47).
Don't be fooled by the paper tickets they give you now (without requiring a deposit any more). These aren't the old-style barcode tickets which you have to fumble for at each lift, they work like the hands-free plastic cards so you can leave them in your (left) jacket pocket. But there's no deposit so you just throw it away at the end of the day.
This resort covers a fair area of North-facing slopes, with a variety of drag lifts, chairlifts, gondolas and a cable car. The run down from Chäserrugg to Alt St Johann drops an impressive 1350m, given suitable conditions.
If you refuse to use drag lifts (even these friendly ones), you won't be able to come up from Alt St Johann, but the Espel drag has now been replaced by a super gondola so you won't be as limited as you used to be here. Beginners also might find some of the slopes a bit steep, as most runs are (easy) reds. For those comfortable with black runs, don't miss the number 10 from Gamsalp down towards Oberdorf - a super gully with lots of opportunities to play.
Navigation is relatively straightforward, with plenty of signposts for the numbered runs and major locations, and the piste map is clear and accurate. It just takes a little concentration to get across from one peak to the other, and to get to the right base station at the end of the day.
In 2012 there is an excellent fun park called "Snowland", just above Oberdorf. This is how they should be, a mix of large and not-so-large jumps, plenty of space to get back in control after landing, and there are even several metal slider boxes for those who like that kind of thing. And a dedicated drag lift if you don't want to go all the way back up to Gamsalp again. Top marks.
Most of the runs are marked as reds, so flat spots are fairly limited. The only awkward ones are the traverse from the Gamserrugg side to Iltios (now marked as number 17/19) and the number 24 running from the Chäserrugg side towards Sellamatt. But both these are difficult to avoid as they form the only connections across from left to right (on the map). For the 17/19 run, the Espel
draglift gondola takes you back up to Stöfeli and, if you change at the middle station, further up.
The 25 from Ruestel across to Iltios is also a bit flat, but manageable if you keep up your speed.
There used to be a rather steep and bumpy drag lift at Stöfeli but this has now been replaced, so the only essential drag is the one up from Sellamatt. And possibly the one up to Gamserrugg.
February 2017 - A disappointing number of pistes closed, making it impossible to get between Wildhaus and Unterwasser in either direction. Also many of the interesting blacks are closed, and the much-hyped Ostabfahrt. No information about this at the base stations though, and ticket prices remain at their normal level, despite the greatly reduced service :( Still, good snow on piste (good artificial snow lower down) and non-existent lift queues. Didn't get chance to see the snow park because of the closed runs. Check the snow report on the internet before you go.
15 January 2012 - A busy Sunday on the slopes, with a killer queue on the Chäserrugg cable car and a fairly long one at the Gamsalp lift (definitely use the single line!). Beautiful weather, and very good snow. Lots of off-piste soft.
19 January 2008 - Old snow suffering from the mild weather, although fairly clear weather and very short queues.
8 January 2004 - Some fresh snow, but not a great deal, and there are grassy patches even up at the top. The runs down to all three base stations are open, but getting rather hard and noisy lower down. Snow is good up at the top of Chäserrugg and around the Ruestel area. Lots of space to play and practically zero queues!
Resort information is at
wildhausbahnen.ch chaeserrugg.ch, which has webcams, prices, and a reasonable piste plan in PDF format.
Snow'n'Rail is apparently no longer at railaway.ch, I don't know why that stopped.
And snow conditions are (currently) at infosnow.ch.
For hiking in the area, there is a five-day hike called the Toggenburger Höhenweg starting from Wildhaus and passing through this ski resort through Oberdorf, Iltios and Sellamatt. See the Swiss multi-day hiking section for more information.