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Winter Sports for Families in Switzerland

Wengen and the Jungfrau

On the whole Switzerland caters well for families. The winter tourist industry was established in Switzerland long before it was in other countries and provides a wide variety of winter diversions for the family. We particularly enjoy resorts with spas, but many resorts also have wonderful winter walks, toboggan runs, ice rinks and creche facilities.

There are a number of hotels that cater specifically for families (which are listed on the Where to Stay in Winter in Switzerland page). The Family Hotel Gorfion in Liechtenstein is probably my favourite and is especially good for beginners and intermediates. Although hostels are not specifically designated as family hotels in my listings, they tend to be my preference for family ski trips. They usually have play areas, provide small dormitories of 4 or 6 beds suitable for families, offer half-board and are relatively inexpensive. The hostel in St Moritz Bad is absolutely fabulous, but do book well ahead.

Although I have focused mainly on winter sports holidays for families based in the Basel area, the information remains valid for families living in other parts of Switzerland or visiting the country from abroad. Throughout the Swiss Winter Sports database distances and directions from other major population centres are provided. Approximate transit times from Basel are listed at the Travelling from Basel page, from Zurich at the Travelling from Zurich page, from Bern at the Travelling from Bern page and from Luzern at the Travelling from Luzern page.

One question I often get asked by other parents is how feasible it is to travel by train and bus to a resort when you are burdened with buggies, ski gear and the little darlings themselves. I can assure you it is entirely practical, and we have been doing it for many years since before the kids could even walk. Those double decker trains, by the way, invariably have a family carriage at one of the ends with a play area inside. If you are well organised, you can even get Swiss Rail to send your gear to the nearest railway station to your resort in advance of your trip. Of course you can also drive to all of the resorts listed here, although the car-free resorts will require that you use a cableway, train or Shank's pony for the last leg.

Below are details of some resorts to consider visiting - click on a column head to sort the table. "Snow'n'Rail" is the scheme operated by Swiss Rail whereby at certain resorts you will get a significant discount if you book your rail (and, if applicable, bus) travel together with your ski pass. The "Family" designation referenced below is awarded by the Swiss Tourist Board to certain resorts which are especially family-friendly. The distances given from Basel are "as the crow flies" - for more details of how long it takes to get to the resorts, road distances and rail options see the individual resort pages or the Getting Around Switzerland page.

ResortSki AreaPiste(km)Top(m)Snow'n'RailFamilyTobogganSpaCar-freeBasel(km)
4 Vallées 4 Vallées412 3330YY 166
Adelboden Adelboden-Lenk210 2362YY 120
Aeschi  12 1400 102
Airolo  30 2250Y 141
Aletsch Arena Aletsch Arena104 2869YYY Y137
Alt St Johann Toggenburg 60 2262YYY 136
Amden  20 1684 128
Andermatt Skiarena Andermatt-Sedrun125 2963YY 130
Anzère  52 2420Y Y 143
Arolla Val d'Hérens 47 2980 172
Arosa Arosa-Lenzerheide225 2865YYY 182
Beatenberg  22 1950YY 99
Belalp  60 3112YY Y138
Bellwald Goms 35 2560YY 134
Bergün  23 2600Y 196
Bettmeralp Aletsch Arena104 2647Y Y137
Bivio  30 2560Y 200
Braunwald  32 1905YYY Y129
Brienz  15 2000YY 98
Brig 110 3112YY (Y) 143
Brigels  75 2418YYY 144
Bruson 4 Vallées 40 2220Y 170
Bumbach   6 1365 90
Bürchen Visp Area 25 2550YY 145
Cari  20 2300YY 153
Caux   8 2322Y 135
Celerina Engadin163 3057Y 210
Chamonix Chamonix - Mont Blanc 80 3842 191
Champéry Les Portes du Soleil650 2250NY 164
Champex-Lac Pays de St Bernard 25 2200 175
Champoussin Les Portes du Soleil650 2360N 161
Chandolin Val d'Anniviers 75 3000Y 147
Charmey Fribourg Region 30 1627Y Y 111
Château-d'Oex Gstaad Mountain Rides 30 1650YYY 127
Chur  20 2100Y 169
Corvatsch Engadin120 3303Y 214
Corviglia Engadin160 3057Y 207
Crans-Montana Crans-Montana140 3000YYY 140
Davos Davos Klosters300 2844YYY 192
Diavolezza Engadin 35 2978Y 224
Diemtigtal Diemtigtal 36 1890YY 107
Disentis Disentis 3000 60 2833YY 137
Ebenalp Appenzellerland  9 1726 143
Elm  40 2100Y 141
Engadine Engadin350 3303Y 220
Engelberg Engelberg-Titlis 82 3020YYY 105
Evolène Val d'Hérens 42 2600 162
Feldberg Black Forest 55 1493YY 48
Feldis  10 2000 166
Fiescheralp Aletsch Arena104 2869YY Y137
First Jungfrau Region 50 2501Y 108
Flims Laax Falera Flims Laax Falera235 3018YYY 154
Flumserberg  75 2222YYY 145
Fribourg Region Fribourg Region162 2325YY 121
Frutigen Adelboden-Lenk 29 2300YY 110
Giswil  14 1850Y 95
Glacier 3000 Gstaad Mountain Rides 25 3000Y 143
Goms Goms  5 1580Y 131
Grächen  40 2864(Y)YY 156
Grimentz Val d'Anniviers 72 2900Y 155
Grimmialp Diemtigtal 10 1830 112
Grindelwald Jungfrau Region160 2500YY 111
Grüsch-Danusa  30 1800Y 170
Gstaad Gstaad Mountain Rides250 2971YY 124
Hasliberg Meiringen - Hasliberg 60 2433YYY 104
Hoch-Ybrig Hoch-Ybrig 50 1831YY 109
Ibergeregg Hoch-Ybrig 10 1600 108
Ischgl Silvretta Arena215 2872 215
Jakobsbad Appenzellerland 20 1660 136
Jungfrau Region Jungfrau Region214 2970Y 111
Kandersteg Adelboden-Lenk 14 1900YY 120
Klewenalp  40 2001YY Y99
Klosters Davos Klosters300 2844YY 190
La Forclaz Val d'Hérens 15 2204 165
La Tzoumaz 4 Vallées 39 3330Y 161
Lenk i. S. Adelboden-Lenk210 2362YYY Y 124
Lenzerheide Arosa-Lenzerheide225 2865YYY 178
Les Crosets Les Portes du Soleil650 2466N 164
Les Diablerets Villars - Les Diablerets100 3000YY 140
Les Marécottes Pays de St Bernard 25 2200Y 168
Les Masses 4 Vallées412 3330YY 155
Les Mosses Leysin 40 1870Y 136
Leukerbad  52 2610YYY Y 133
Leysin Leysin100 2205YY 143
Lötschental Lauchernalp 33 3111YY Y130
Lungern  24 2205Y 99
Malbun  23 2000YY 163
Maloja Engadin  5 3303YY 208
Marbach  10 1500 84
Meiringen Meiringen - Hasliberg 60 2433YYY 105
Melchsee-Frutt  32 2255YY 104
Moléson Fribourg Region 30 2002Y Y121
Morgins Les Portes du Soleil650 2277N 159
Mürren Jungfrau Region 54 2971YY Y116
Mythenregion Swiss Knife Valley 25 1600Y 108
Nara  30 2133YY 158
Nendaz 4 Vallées412 3330YYY 156
Obersaxen 120 2310Y 148
Obertoggenburg Toggenburg 60 1200YY 141
Ovronnaz  30 2500Y Y 156
Pizol Pizol 40 2250YY Y 154
Pontresina Engadin 35 2978Y 214
Portes du Soleil Les Portes du Soleil650 2300N 164
Riederalp Aletsch Arena104 2335YY Y138
Rosswald Brig 26 2600Y Y145
Rougemont Gstaad Mountain Rides 62 2284YY 124
Saanen Gstaad Mountain Rides 86 2284YY 123
Saanenmöser Gstaad Mountain Rides 85 1985YY 119
Saas-Fee Saastal145 3600YYY Y165
Saas-Grund Saastal 35 3200YY 164
Saastal Saastal145 3600YYY 165
Samedan Engadin  2 1800YY Y 209
Samnaun Silvretta Arena238 2872YY 222
San Bernardino San Bernardino 40 2525 176
Sattel-Hochstuckli Swiss Knife Valley 14 1600YY 98
Savognin  80 2713YY 188
Schönried Gstaad Mountain Rides109 1985YY 121
Scuol  80 2783YY Y 224
Sedrun Skiarena Andermatt-Sedrun 50 2350YY 135
Sierre-Anniviers Val d'Anniviers228 3000YYY 160
Sils Engadin120 3303Y 210
Silvaplana Engadin120 3303Y 210
Siviez 4 Vallées412 3330YYY 161
Sörenberg Sörenberg 53 2350YY 89
Splügen  30 2215YY 175
St Anton Arlberg128 2811 209
St Moritz Engadin350 3303YYY Y 210
St Peter  20 2280 178
St. Stephan Gstaad Mountain Rides 88 2000Y 119
St-Cergue Jura 21 1677Y 164
St-Luc Val d'Anniviers 75 3000Y 151
Stoos Swiss Knife Valley 35 1935YY Y106
Thusis  25 2555 172
Thyon 4 Vallées412 3330YY 155
Törbel Visp Area 25 2550YY 149
Torgon Les Portes du Soleil650 1998N 149
Tschiertschen  27 2440Y 175
Unterbäch Visp Area 20 2521YY 144
Unterwasser Toggenburg 60 2262YYY 137
Val d'Hérens Val d'Hérens104 3000Y 162
Val Ferret Pays de St Bernard 20 2300 184
Val Müstair  25 2700YYY 239
Val-d'Illiez Les Portes du Soleil650 2460NY Y 164
Vals  25 3000YY Y 162
Verbier 4 Vallées412 3330YY 166
Vercorin Val d'Anniviers 35 2374Y 147
Veysonnaz 4 Vallées412 3330YY 154
Villars Villars - Les Diablerets100 3000YYY 147
Visperterminen Visp Area 20 2300YY 148
Wengen Jungfrau Region110 2320YY Y111
Wildhaus Toggenburg 60 2262YYY 141
Zermatt Matterhorn Ski Paradise350 3899YY Y174
Zinal Val d'Anniviers 72 3000Y 160
Zuoz Engadin 32 2465Y 211
Zweisimmen Gstaad Mountain Rides 85 2008YY 115

Tips for Families in the Basel Area

Feldberg Ski Resort in the Black Forest is close enough to Basel to be able to pop over for a few hours skiing while the kids are at school. The resort also has good facilities for children, learners and for doing other winter sports, as well as having a surprisingly good snow record.

The closest lift-served toboggan run to Basel is not at a ski resort. It is at Wasserfallen in Baselland. You can get there by bus, taking the number 70 from Aschenplatz via Liestal to Reigoldswil where there is a gondola to take you to the top. The bus runs every half hour and takes just over an hour to get to Reigoldswil Dorf where you have a ten minute walk to the gondola. There is also car parking at the gondola bottom station. You can hire toboggans at the lifts.

Even closer to Basel, there is one winter sport that you can actually pursue in the city itself, even when there is no snow - ice skating! There are rinks at Eglisee and Margarethan and, for budding ice hockey enthusiasts, there are introductory courses run at St. Jakob and Margarethan. Also at St. Jakob, the professional Ice Hockey team, EHC Basel Sharks, plays matches in the National League Division B.