Riding a piste basher at Serfauss-Fiss-Ladis
We see these strange machines come out onto the slopes at the end of every ski day, but have you ever wondered exactly how a piste basher works its magic? Many ski resorts offer the chance to ride in a piste basher and even learn to drive one! Experience the majesty of climbing a steep ski slope in a huge piste bully, crushing everything that lies in your path. It’s an unforgettable behind-the-scenes experience that will make you appreciate all the hard work that goes into preparing the ski pistes every night. And the next morning, there’s nothing sweeter than waking up and hitting the freshly groomed pistes that YOU helped prepare!
There are a range of piste basher tours available. You can choose from night or day, short or long. Budget-friendly options include quick, simple tours in a piste basher, but if you’re willing to invest a bit more time and money you can learn to drive the piste basher, or even stay out all night long with the driver as they groom the ski area! As with skiing and snowboarding, weather in the mountains can be unpredictable and all the activities listed below rely on snow conditions. Please note, normally to ride in a piste basher you must be wearing normal shoes – not ski boots!
Nighttime piste bully rides at the Jungfrau Region allow a different way to experience the ski slopes. You will accompany the drivers throughout their entire shift – 6-8 hours – as they prepare the snow for another day of skiing. Tours start daily from 4pm and cost 260 CHF; reservations are mandatory.
Driving a snow groomer © Les Saisies
The Rosentalerhof at Saalbach Hinterglemm offers rides in a piste groomer on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 1pm and 7pm through to March. Reservations are required; prices available upon request at +43 (0) 664 8444323.
Perfectly groomed pistes at the Rosentalerhof in © Saalbach Hinterglemm
Piste basher tours at Serre Chevalier also take place at night and offer a chance to observe the “snow wizards” as they groom the slopes. Plus, you’ll have the chance to share dinner or breakfast with your driver and learn all about the history and behind-the-scenes stories of the ski resort. Tours start at dusk and run four times a week through the end of March; reservations are mandatory as availability is limited. Rates vary according to the programme.
Help co-pilot the slopes of the Aletsch Arena for only 50 CHF (25 CHF for children). There is maximum of one guest per piste basher, for a maximum number of 3 guests per day. Tours start at 4:30 or 4:45 depending on location, and they last two hours. They run Mondays and Wednesdays through to April. At the Fiescheralp, tours run daily when conditions permit but prices are steeper, at 120 CHF for adults and 80 CHF for children 9-16. Guests here receive a certificate and small souvenir. Advance booking is required for all tours.
Groomed to perfection at the © Fischeralp, Aletsch Arena
Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis offers rides in a 9-tonne, 490-horsepower piste bully along with a detailed explanation of how to prepare the slopes. Routes vary but rides take place at 4:15pm from Serfauss or 4:30pm from Fiss, and last about an hour and a half. Children between the ages of 5 and 10 or shorter than 1.3 metres can be accompanied by an adult; bigger children must ride in a separate piste bully. The experience costs €50 for adults and €31 for children, and reservations are mandatory.
Snowy piste bully tours at © Serfauss-Fiss-Ladis
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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