Vaud: Boasts Largest Summer Snowpark In Europe -

Vaud is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland. Its capital, Lausanne, is set on the shores of Lake Geneva. Vaud stretches from Lake Geneva in the south to Lake Neuchatel in the north. To the east of the region lie the peaks of the Vaud Alps.

The Vaud Alps are home to many popular ski resorts, including Chateau-d'Oex, Gryon, Les Diablerets, Les Mosses, Leysin, Rougemont, Villars, Aigle, St. Cergue La Dole, Ste-Croix-Les Rasses, Les Pleiades, Les Avants, Le Brassus, and Dent-de-Vaulion. Resorts in Vaud overlaps large linked ski areas, including the Glacier-Alpes Vaudoises Ski Area and the Gstaad Super System.

Chateau-d'Oex scenic mountain view

The linked resorts of Villars, Gryon, Les Diablerets, Les Mosses, Chateau-d'Oex, and Leysin make up the Glacier-Alpes Vaudoises Ski Area (1114 to 3000 metres). The area offers a combined 220 kilometres of downhill pistes, for all levels, connected by 74 lifts. Glacier 3000 sits at the top overlooking the villages and features a 13-kilometre run down to Les Diablerets.

The Glacier-Alpes Vaudoises Ski Area is also a major snowboarding centre with plenty of off-piste and a snowboard park. Les Diablerets also boasts the largest summer snowpark in Europe on the glacier, with three halfpipes, a boardercross and an obstacle course.

Villars (1300 metres) is a swish Swiss resort with picturesque chalets, top-notch hotels, and fine dining restaurants. The après ski scene in Villars features numerous lively bars and a nightclub. Its smaller neighbour - Gryon (1250 metres) - is a pretty resort with a traditional Swiss feel and Les Diablerets (1150 metres) is an attractive old mountain resort with easy access to the glacier for year-round skiing.

Scenic view of modern Leysin and the surrounding mountains

The sunny resort of Leysin (1263 metres) has hosted three world cup events in the last few years, including Boardercross and Speedskiing as well as the FIS Snowboard World Cup 2008. Les Mosses (1450 metres) is popular for its reliable snowfall and wide open slopes for beginners.

Chateau-d'Oex (970 metres) is home to the biggest annual balloon festival in the Alps. The town centre is lined with lively bars, restaurants, and has a disco. Neighbouring Rougemont (992 metres) is part of the Gstaad Super System which offers access to 250 kilometres of downhill skiing and 35 kilometres of cross-country trails.

The canton of Vaud also includes: the quiet resort of St. Cergue La Dole (1047 metres) which is popular with locals, particularly beginners and intermediates; Sainte-Croix/Les Rasses (1100 metres) with its excellent cross-country skiing and large night skiing area; Les Pleiades (1348 metres) with its family-friendly restaurants and extensive cross-country runs; and the resorts of Le Brassus (1060 metres) and Dent-de-Vaulion (1150 metres).

Les Diablerets lodge and mountains

The city of Lausanne is the gateway to the canton of Vaud with its international airport and train station. Fast regional trains serve most of the towns in the Vaud. Bern and Geneva are other nearby airports. If driving, remember to buy a toll sticker (vignette) if you want to use the motorways in Switzerland.

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