A Swiss ski holiday is the stuff of dreams. If you’ve ever wanted to take your kids and the family skiing in the snow-covered wonderland of the Swiss Alps, the Adelboden-Lenk ski region in the Bernese Oberland is the postcard-perfect place.
The picturesque alpine village of Adelboden is located 45 minutes by car from Bern, and is situated at an altitude of 1,400 m (4,500 ft). Cold, snowy winters are still common, offering perfect conditions for skiing and winter sports with over the 210 km network of pistes (ski lifts).
Adelboden village is charming, family-friendly and down to earth, with enough resorts & spas to compete with any more well-known ski resorts. Its winter offerings go beyond skiing & snowboarding to include skating, tobogganing, curling, winter hiking, ice climbing, and cross-country skiing.
The ski region of Adelboden is linked by an extensive series of 72 gondolas, tramways, and lifts that open up a huge area of skiable terrain, of varying degrees of difficulty.
Swiss ski trails are marked differently than in North America. Easy trails are marked Blue (not Green), intermediate are Red, and Black trails are the familiar Difficult or More Difficult. On trails fronting cliffs, there will also be signs with a black skull & crossbones, nicknamed the ‘double death runs‘ by our 6 and 8 year old boys.
Adelboden offers an excellent ski & snowboard school program that teaches kids the basics while familiarizing them with the mountains and challenging runs. The camps and lessons are grouped by age (and also ability), and offer first class instruction in a myriad of languages. Our kids’ instructor was a lovely young American, living with her family in Switzerland for the year. [TTM tip: Adelboden offers children under 6 a free Snowli Gift Card, which includes ski passes and mini-lift tickets for the ski region.]
I’ve found that kids are pretty resilient in ski school. Once the parents have left for the day, they respond quite well to their instructors, especially if they want to learn skiing & boarding. If your child (or yourself) is a little hesitant, speak to the instructor ahead of time to get an idea of what they’ll be learning and where they’ll be, so you can watch from afar (if you really need to). It may also be appropriate to enroll them in shorter, half-day sessions, depending on their age and temperment.
There are a wide variety of ski shops and equipment suppliers in Adelboden village from whom you can rent ski and snowboard equipment, so you don’t have to haul it across the Atlantic. We rented gear from local Intersport Dealer or Oester Sport, who’ve been in business for decades and really know their ski/boarding equipment.
You can reserve online ahead of arrival; just be prepared to provide height & weight measurements in metric!
Where to Stay
There is a wide range of accommodation available in and around the Adelboden area. From affordable chalet rentals to luxury hotels, the choice will depend on your budget and length of stay. We’ve spent extensive holiday time in Adelboden, and would highly recommend a chalet or apartment rental for lengthy stays. Tourism Adelboden has detailed information for the many hotel offerings in the village. Outside of the village proper (5 min by car), is one of my favorites, the Hotel Shermtanne, which has a lovely restaurant and children’s play area.
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Photo Credits: C. Laroye
Have you ever skied in Switzerland or Europe? Share your tips and comments below.