It was time for a good old fashioned road trip last season. There was snow in the forecast for Switzerland and it was time to chase some powder again. The crowds were gone and March is such an amazin month to ride in great snow conditions. The days are long, the snow cover is thick and there are plenty of storms delivering freshies.
We started the road trip in Gstaad, a world-renowned ski resort where the rich smash their hard-earned euros in luxurious accommodations and gourmet restaurants. Gstaad is at first sight perhaps not a typical freeride destination, it's nevertheless interesting. Obviously, because Gstaad has the image that few people ski out of bounds. That's just not true. A young generation grew up in Gstaad and they are ready to rock and roll. With wide skis and a desire for powder. So you just can't show up days after the dump and expect the whole mountain to be untracked.
After a night in nearby Saanenmöser we get on the lift on Monday morning. It had snowed quite a lot the past few days, but it was obvious that the locals already tracked the parts close to the slopes. Although the glacier of Les Diablerets officially belongs to the same resort, we didn't go to that kind of altitude. The highest peak in this part of the area is the Rinderberg at 2011 meters. You roughly ski between 1200 and 2000 meters altitude. The advantage is that you mostly ride on a surface of grass, so you don't have to fear that you'll hit a shark.
One of the better runs we did in the area of Gstaad was from the Horntube (1994 meters). You hike to the top over a very accessible ridge and then you have two options: the ride on the east is a relatively simple treeless bowl and the one on the west is a bit steeper, with some bushes. Both bowls were still untracked. With less than twenty minutes of hiking we found some untracked powder!
We also found some nice runs at the Hornberg and Lengebrand. You partially ride between the trees and therefore Gstaad is a great destination when it is snowing (with a snow line at low altitude). It has no value to be in the high alpine with such conditions and Gstaad is an excellent alternative. There's one downside: Gstaad isn't cheap. Please note that you pay more than average for your accommodation, but you'll get a nice powder day in return.
The next stop of our three-day roadtrip is the resort of Mürren (Schilthorn)!