High-altitude ski resorts have the best snow and the best views, whether you’re in the Alps or the Rocky Mountains. Glacier ski resorts in particular have the added advantage of being open during the summer months so you can pursue your love for skiing and snowboarding unhindered. If you’re hankering after panoramic vistas and guaranteed snow, you’ll ideally want to choose a ski resort that sits around 3000m or higher. To help you on your way, we’ve compiled a list of thirteen of the best high-altitude ski resorts in France, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and North America. Happy riding!
The Pitztal Glacier is the highest ski resort in Austria, with slopes as high as 3440m. It also holds the record for highest glacier in Tyrol, highest lift in Austria and highest cafe in Austria. The ski area itself only has around 22km of slopes but thanks to the high altitudes, the ski season often starts in September and lasts through May. Freeriders and intermediate skiers who enjoy carving will get their money’s worth at this glacier ski area.
Swiss ski resort Zermatt has the distinction of being the highest ski resort in Europe, with pistes at mind-boggling altitudes of almost 4000m in the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. 360km of pistes overall cater to advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders. While you’re here, you’ll enjoy magnificent views of the surrounding mountains, 38 of which measure over 4000m. Zermatt offers skiing in two countries, Switzerland and Italy, thanks to its connection with Breuil-Cervinia and Valtournenche.
As its name implies, the French ski resort Les Deux Alpes 3600 offers 226km of pistes at altitudes of almost 3600m. This ski resort caters not only to advanced skiers and snowboarders but also beginners and intermediates, meaning everybody can enjoy the fresh mountain air! Les Deux Alpes is also known for its freestyle scene, and often keeps the snow park going late into spring and early summer.
Sölden-Hochsölden-Vent boasts 145km of pistes spread over two glaciers and three “BIG 3” mountains, each peak measuring over 3000m. To see them all in one day, tackle the Big 3 RallyE ski tour, a challenging ski circuit with incredible views along the way. The highest piste reaches 3340m, and for those who aren’t afraid of heights, the Tiefenbachkogl observation deck offers views of the Alps from a vantage point 3250m above sea level.
Saas-Fee is home to the world’s highest revolving restaurant, located halfway up the Allalin Glacier and reachable via the world’s highest underground train. The 100km of slopes at this Swiss ski resort reach altitudes of 3500m and are suitable for everybody from beginners to experts. Thanks to the high altitudes and the glacier, it's possible to ski almost all year round at Saas-Fee.
The Stelvio Pass is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to ski areas. With just 9km of pistes at up to 3450m, this is a summer-only ski area, open uniquely from May to November. Why? Because in the winter, the sheer abundance of snow blocks the road to the ski area! Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience to go skiing at this high-altitude ski resort!
If you’ve booked a skiing holiday at Mayrhofen and the snow conditions are not up to par, you can still get some skiing in at the Hintertux Glacier. It's the only ski resort in Europe to open 365 days a year, with 70km of slopes in the winter and 20km of slopes in the summer months. Choose from blue, red and black runs at altitudes of up to 3250m. If you've exhausted the skiing possibilities in the winter, you can head over to neighbouring Ski Zillertal 3000.
Also in Austria, the Stubai Glacier ski area has skiing and snowboarding on slopes as high as 3210m. The “Top of Tyrol” viewing platform offers fantastic panoramic views of the Stubai Glacier ski area, Sölden and Ötztal. Stubai Glacier is the largest glacier in Austria and offers plenty of blue and red runs for beginner and intermediate skiers looking to build their confidence.
Tignes-Val d'Isère boasts world-famous ski pistes, top-notch snow parks, really long slopes, heli-skiing and extreme powder snow. Skiers and snowboarders are sure to find something they like on the 300km of pistes at heights of up to 3456m. While you're here, make sure you ski at least once the valley run that leads from the top of the Grande Motte Glacier all the way down to the village.
Les Quatre Vallées is the largest ski resort located 100% in Switzerland, with 412km of slopes as high as 3330m. All slopes are accessible from each ski resort in this linked ski area. Fans of long slopes will find several pistes as long as 15km, and experts can have a crack at the challenging glacier pistes. Much of the accommodation here is ski-in, ski-out, making for a fun and convenient ski holiday.
Gurgl is sometimes regarded as the quieter alternative to Sölden. It lies just up the road and is still a well-kept secret. 113km of slopes, altitudes of up to 3082m and views of a couple dozen glaciers from the “Top Express” panoramic cable car welcome skiers and snowboarders looking to beat the crowds. This Austrian ski resort is especially popular with young families.
This Canadian ski resort near Banff is known for the famous light powder snow so typical of ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains. Although it's slightly lower than the other ski resorts on this list, Sunshine Village is the highest ski area in Canada. Snow-sure conditions from November to May ensure a nice long season, so you can book yur flight stress-free knowing snow will greet you on arrival!
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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