Switzerland is rich in winter wonderlands, and children in Zürich need not travel far to experience incredible powder days and enjoy skiing—one the country’s most popular snow sports and recreational activities.
If you are looking to bring out the “ripper” in your young son or daughter, here are seven (7) family-friendly ski areas near Zürich that offer lessons to kids:
#1- The Rigi
Hailed as the “Queen of the Mountains,” the Rigi is a Swiss Alps massif nestled in the cantons of Schwyz and Lucerne. It provides the perfect venue for introducing kids from the city to the glory of the slopes, with hills small enough for absolute beginners to negotiate safely.
There are several ski lifts in the resort that suit kids. One goes to and from Rigi Scheidegg, where there is a slope that is essentially flat but still offers a degree of excitement for newbies. Other lifts for the super-young include those at Rigi Staffel, which has curved tracks and special bumps to fire up the kids’ passion for the sport; and at Rigi Burggeist, which is a good place to practice their first series of turns.
Apart from being a spectacular skiing resort, the Rigi makes room for snowboarding, snowshoeing, horse-drawn carriage rides, and other breathtaking outdoor adventures. The Rigi.ch site has current information on group courses for children and private lessons for adults.
Mount Rigi is 50 minutes away by car and 90 minutes away by public transport from Altstadt (Kreis 1, Zürich). If you think that a day trip will not suffice, you can always book your family in a cozy hotel or inn within the area.
[Image Credit: Vasile Cotovanu]
#2- The Hochstuckli
Just like the Rigi, the Hochstuckli sits in the Schwyz Alps. Its foothills in the canton of Schwyz’s municipality of Sattel has a family-friendly resort for wintertime fun and fascination.
There are kilometers upon kilometers of snowy slopes to ride, especially on bluebird days, and the place is fairly safe even for the little ones. Snowboarding and other adventures also await kids coming over this season.
Sattel-Hochstuckli is a mere 50-minute car ride (or 90 minutes by public transport) from Zürich’s District 1, which makes it very convenient for day-trippers to visit. The Sattel-Hochstuckli site has information on the reasonably priced ski lessons for children (ages 6 to 16) and adults, plus a list of guesthouses, mountain inns, and restaurants.
[Image Credit: Adrian Senn]
Stoos is a splendid village that is a world all its own, winter in and winter out. Situated in Schwyz canton’s Morschach municipality, this car-free mountain resort is home to the Stoosbahn—the world’s steepest funicular railway and the area’s only land connection to the adjoining communities.
With its cable car, Stoos serves as the take-off point to the Fronalpstock, a mountain in the Schwyz Alps that is paradise to skiers of various age and experience levels. It has a ski school that takes in learners 4 years old and above. Lessons conducted by highly qualified German- and English-speaking instructors include freestyle skiing, alpine skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.
The gateway to the village is about an hour’s drive by private vehicle or by public transport from the Zürich city center. The Stoos site has further details on getting and staying at the resort, plus the latest on its exciting offerings.
Hoch-Ybrig is a choice recreational destination for the young and the young at heart. Located in Unteriberg and Oberiberg municipalities, it has some of the Schwyz canton’s most astonishing views and can promise unforgettable hiking and skiing experiences.
With its cable car, Hoch-Ybrig serves as the take-off point to the Weglosen ski area that boasts some 50 kilometers of pistes, a toboggan run, a cross-country ski trail, and a ski cross park. Kids aged 3 and above can learn to ski, thanks to professional instructors who provide private lessons in English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian.
Hoch-Ybrig is about an hour’s drive from the Zürich city center (or 1.5 times as long by public transport).
[Image Credit: Kurt Zwahlen]
Atzmännig is a skiing playground that beginners will love, and it features more than half a dozen ski pistes, a couple of snowshoe trails, a toboggan run, and a fun park. Sitting in the Goldingen side of the St. Gallen canton’s newly established Eschenbach municipality, the area vows to give families some of the best winter memories of their life.
If it is skiing instruction you seek for your child, Atzmännig is a fine place to consider, what with its well-structured lessons and safety measures in place. Kids aged 4 and above can participate in a group course or learn to carve their first run through private training. Instruction is usually in German, although some teachers may be able to communicate with their students in English.
Atzmännig is about an hour and a half away from Zürich by car or public transport.
Also known as Käserrugg, Chäserrugg is a winter haven that forms part of the Chrufürsten mountain range in Switzerland’s Toggenburg region. The recreational area boasts a network of ski pistes, a couple of toboggan runs, and a cross-country ski trail, not to mention awesome parks and amazing views of the Alps and the Walensee.
At Chäserrugg, skiers of various age and experience levels are welcome. Children 4 years and older have special kids’ classes, be these group courses or private lessons. Instruction may be in German or English.
Situated in St. Gallen canton’s fairly new Wildhaus-St. Johann municipality, the Chäserrugg resort is less than two hours away from Zürich by car or public transport.
A popular resort in the Swiss Alps, Flumserberg is definitely a great place to awaken the inner ripper in your young son or daughter. It is so welcoming of beginners, it runs the Swiss Snow Kids Village to teach kids 3 years and above the basics of skiing in a safe yet fun atmosphere.
The Flumserberg recreational haven prides itself on 65 kilometers of slope (including über-easy ones for the tyro tykes), 20 kilometers of cross-country trails, and a snowpark. Its bunny hill with a magic carpet sits next to the sledding area.
Perched above a good part of St. Gallen canton’s Flums municipality, Flumserberg overlooks the wow-worthy Walensee. It is about a couple of hours away (by car or public transport) from Zürich’s core and has a range of family-friendly accommodation options for those who want to stay overnight or longer.
[Image Credit: Patrick Nouhailler]