Added by Josh Currie
If you're looking for that classic Swiss mountain town that you think can only exist in the movies, and framed on peoples' walls, then you'll be very happy to know that Chateau D'oex, Switzerland actually exists!
Chateau D'oex sits at 3,100 feet above sea level in the French-speaking Canton of Vaud, Switzerland. The easiest way to get to this picturesque place is by train, unless you happen to be staying nearby with a car. The small mountain town of about 3,500 people is riddled with history, beautiful landscapes, snow activities, and lest we forget, the International Balloon Festival, which has been an annual tradition since 1979. I would definitely try and plan your trip around this festival - you will be blown away by the creativity and sheer volume of these hot air balloons.
Now, though there are many reasons to visit Chateau D'oex, I will be speaking primarily on the skiing and snowboarding at the nearby resort. From the town center you can purchase your pass and step right onto a gondola that takes you directly to the top of the small mountain. Within seconds of stepping off the trolly you have already started your first run down the mountain. It's that easy!
To be fair this is not a huge mountain and in comparison to the other ski resorts Switzerland offers, it lacks more of the technical terrain. But to me, what made this mountain so special, and one that will go down as a favorite trip of all time, is the hostel that operates at the very top of the mountain. There is nothing I will recommend more highly for this trip than to stay at that hostel! For two days of skiing and a nights stay (dinner and breakfast included) it's only 100 francs! There is no way you will ever get that type of deal anywhere in North America. That being said, it could have been a special they were running at the time but definitely ask the staff about it when purchasing a ticket!
After a full day of skiing the steep groomed runs, trying your luck at the expansive terrain park, and taking some powder through the trees, you get to kick back and enjoy an outrageous view as the sun sets from the top of the mountain. Instead of having to pack up all your gear and train back into town or wherever you were staying, you get to ski straight to front door of the hostel, take a hot shower in your room, and walk downstairs to enjoy an incredible meal, glass of wine, and sunset. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming so definitely take time to chat with the locals as well as the staff working the nights shift.
In the morning you can take your time getting ready because the first run is literally 10 yards away from your door. After a quick breakfast and coffee downstairs you're ready for day number two on the mountain! One last local tip, definitely take the sleds for a ride that they offer at the hostel. The sled run would 1,000% be illegal in the States, which is what ultimately makes it the best sledding you'll ever experience. Enjoy!
- Ski/Snowboard gear
- Overnight bag
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