Skiing: Gstaad best resort for jewellery

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The Independent Travel
AT FIRST sight, Gstaad's winding main street could be that of any neat, prosperous low-altitude Swiss Alpine village. Only the high Range Rover count raises doubts. Look more closely and you find they are parked not outside supermarkets and souvenir shops but outside coiffeurs, furriers and jewellers - Cartier, or one of half a dozen others. The impression is of shops that are simply there to meet a need, as if it were the most natural thing in the world to spend a few thousand on a new watch as a change from pole-planting.

PLUS POINTS: Pleasant, chalet-style village; extensive easy-intermediate skiing; plenty of non-skiing activities; easy access by road and rail.

MINUS POINTS: Low altitude, and unreliable snow; highly fragmented ski area, with widely spread lift stations, all remote from the centre; very little tough skiing; no cheap accommodation.

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