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Powder hounds and snow bunnies alike will find what they're looking for in Gstaad-Saanenland. Since the building of the one-track railroad from Montreux at the beginning of the 19th century, the holiday region of Gstaad has been popular, both for its ideal location at the confluence of several valleys as well as for the sunny mildness of its slopes. Runs start at 3,608 feet and soar up to 7,217 feet.
Skiing in Gstaad-Saanenland is, in terms of numbers, the equivalent of Zermatt: 58 lifts can transport more than 50,000 skiers per hour to its network of 250 km (155 mi) of marked runs. In fact, these lifts are spread across an immense territory, 20 km (12 mi) as the crow flies, from Zweisimmen and St-Stefan in the east to Château-d'Oex in the west, and 20 km (12 mi) to the Diablerets Glacier in the south.
Gstaad's expansive area means that most of its lifts are not reachable on foot, and since parking is in short supply, public transport, either by the train or the postbus, is the best option. The flip side is that except in very high seasons (Christmas and February) and in certain places, such as the lift for the Diablerets, waits for lifts are tolerable. A one-day ticket costs between 20 SF and 62 SF, depending on the sector; a six-day pass costs 321 SF.
Gstaad Snowsports. Head here if you want lessons in snowboarding, downhill, or cross-country skiing. Promenade 63, Gstaad, 3780. 033/7441865. www.gstaadsnowsports.ch.
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