The Most Affordable Ski Resorts in Suisse Romande

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December 13, 2021

Photo by Oliver Schwendener, words by Nicola Reinle

The past few weeks we’ve observed the graceful return of snow on the mountains from the comfort of our cosy living rooms. Winter is properly upon us and many places have already declared their lifts open for the season. It’s now time to descend to the cave for the annual ski gear inventory and hit the slopes. But with some ski resorts costing around 80 CHF for an adult day pass, it can sometimes feel like your bank balance goes downhill faster than you do. If the major ski areas are a bit steep for you (double entendre intended), there are a number of family-and-wallet-friendly ski options a short journey from Lausanne.

Evade the crowds, queues, and (let’s face it) collisions by opting for a smaller, mid-altitude ski resort. What they may lack in elevation and chair lifts, they make up for in familial charm and the change in your pocket, with zero compromises on your experience of the Swiss wilderness.

Here’s a selection of ski resorts that will cost less than 40 CHF for an adult day pass:

For that mountain feeling:

Rochers de Naye

The piste map is small but the views are mighty. As the loftiest on this list (2,042 m), it has all the feel of the high alps, surrounded by craggy peaks and marvelous views over Lac Leman. With an alluringly cozy restaurant at the top, it will take some discipline to actually descend the slopes to delight in the 8 km of skiable runs.

Day pass prices:  

Adult CHF 20.- (35.- with the train from Montreux)

Child CHF 12.- (18.- with the train)

For family friendly:

Vallée de Joux

With 4 different starting points, 42 kilometers of prepared pistes*, and a range of family ticket possibilities, you’re spoiled for choice for affordable skiing in the Vallée de Joux. 

L’Abbaye exposes the Jura’s wild beauty as the highest option at 1010-1437 m. L’Orient features a snow park and a piste that can be lit up for night skiing. Dent de Vaulion lays claim to a magnificent 360’ panoramic view of the rolling Jura hills.  Le Brassus shouldn’t be missed for the opportunity of beginner off-piste that won’t have you dropping off the side of a mountain (but watch out for the trees!) There are several bars and restaurants available but it’s recommended to double-check opening hours online before heading out without your picnic.

*They’re not linked by skiable passages

Day pass prices:

Adult 27 CHF

Child 17 CHF (family tickets and hourly tickets available!)

For best piste variety:

La Dole/ Les Tuffes

If you want to cover more ground in one day, pop over the Swiss/French border to the resort of La Dôle (1,678 m) which connects with Les Tuffes (1,420 m). Popular for both skiing and snowboarding, there are 28.6 kilometers of slopes available with 21 lifts (and yes, some of them are chairs that will give your burning legs a chance to recuperate). There’s a variety of restaurants and snack bars to try at French prices (making it an even more thrifty day out).

Day pass prices:

Adult 33.40 EUR

Child 24.70 EUR

For quiet weekday skiing:

Les Pleiades

This little gem of winter joy is located a 30-minute drive above Vevey. As well as 8km of easy to intermediate skiing, there’s a winter sports area for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails. With most of the skiers here being local school students, you’re sure to get a quiet weekday ski for when that powder comes down overnight and the snow conditions are just right. 

Day pass prices:

24 CHF (35 CHF with train ticket from Vevey or Blonay)

13 CHF (18 CHF with train)

For something for everyone:

Moléson

From beginner bunny slopes to the daunting ‘summit run’, a freestyle zone and a variety of pistes, there’s a mountain of delights to explore up to 2002 m in the Gruyère region. 

Day pass prices:

Adult (15-63 yrs) 38 CHF

Child (6-15 yrs) 23 CHF

(Slightly lower prices for those aged 16 to 24 yrs and for 64 yrs+)

For a date night with a difference:

St.Cergue

Night ski and fondue 33 CHF

For those who enjoy mixing pleasure with pleasure, you can spend some of the evening hours burning off steam down the floodlit slopes then drop into one of the village restaurants to enjoy the warm glow and refuel on some melted cheese goodness. 

Reservations necessary.

TLG tip: always check the snow conditions and lift openings before heading out. A great website to check is https://www.stations-de-ski.ch/en/ where you can find collated information on all the ski areas in Suisse Romande.

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