Skiing in Switzerland © Marc Weiler, Tourism Zermatt
This alpine skiing paradise has a disproportionate amount of Europe’s biggest glaciers and highest mountain peaks - one could almost call Switzerland the pinnacle of alpine skiing. Best-known for its jetsetters, who flock to the likes of St. Moritz and Zermatt to spend their millions, Switzerland also features its fair share of quaint villages and family-friendly ski resorts. The skiing is exceptional, with everything from wide cruising runs to fantastic off-piste terrain. Together with gourmet-standard on-mountain restaurants, lively après-ski and breathtaking views, this country offers some of the best ski holidays in Europe.
Les Portes du Soleil is a huge ski area straddling France and Switzerland. With more than 600km of slopes, this is one of the world’s largest ski areas. The ski area boasts an astounding 30 snowparks to satisfy every level of freestyler, and almost 100 on-mountain restaurants for those in-between and après-ski breaks. As an added bonus, heli-skiing is allowed on the Swiss side!
Dawn breaks on the border of France and Switzerland at Les Portes du Soleil ski area © Jean-Baptiste Bieuville
The ski area of Andermatt-Sedrun is paradise for advanced and expert skiers, with a high proportion of black runs, glacier runs and abundant off-piste skiing. The ski area reaches almost to 3000m and is particularly snow-sure despite having sunny slopes. The Nätschen and Realp ski areas offers beginners a good place to build their confidence, with pistes of varying difficulty, and freestylers will have their fill at the ACE Snowpark.
Freestyling at Switzerland's Andermatt-Sedrun ski area © Andermatt Gotthard Tourismus
Engelberg-Titlis is a nicely sized ski area with just under 100km of pistes, including a separate area for children and beginners. Thanks to the Titlis glacier, the ski season stretches from October all the way until May. Engelberg-Titlis is known for its freeriding terrain, where “Big 5” and “High 5” routes have been marked through the piles of powdery snow.
Skiing up to 3020m altitude at Engelberg-Titlis © Engelberg-Titlis
200km of pistes with stunning views make up the linked ski areas of Adelboden and Lenk. A regular host of the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, Adelboden-Lenk is a family-friendly ski resort with plenty of quirky alternate activities. Kids can try out a “skigibel” (a cross between skis and a sledge) and play with the Snowli mascot. Finish the day off with a delicious dinner at the Fondue Igloo!
Freshly groomed pistes at Adelboden-Lenk ski area in Switzerland © Lenk Bergbahnen
With over 200km of slopes reaching an altitude of 3000m, Gstaad is a winter sport mecca. The glacier ensures skiing from October until May, and floodlit slopes make it possible to do some night skiing as well. Gstaad is actually made up of several ski areas, clustered around quaint Swiss villages. There’s no shortage of mountain restaurants so you’re sure to find a sunny terrace or cosy hut in which to enjoy a steaming mug of hot cocoa before you head back out on the slopes.
Wicked jumps at the Gstaad Mountain Rides snowpark © Kees Diamant
Samnaun recently linked up to the Ischgl-Samnaun-Silvretta Arena and can now call itself the largest ski area in eastern Switzerland, with over 230km of slopes. The resort of Samnaun, which comprises several smaller villages, is totally tax-free so it’s a great place to do some Christmas shopping. Every year, Ischgl closes the ski season with a Top of the Mountain concert featuring international headliners.
Gorgeous sunny views at Samnaun ski area, the largest in eastern Switzerland © Bergbahnen Samnaun
The lesser-known Aletsch Arena offers skiing on the breathtaking Aletsch glacier, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A number of small car-free traditional Swiss villages almost all have ski-in, ski-out accommodation. Young freestylers can hone their skills on the beginner-friendly snowparks, and it’s also possible to go night skiing when conditions permit.
Skiing with the family on one of the biggest glaciers in the alps at Aletsch Arena © Aletsch Arena Tourismus
Davos-Klosters truly has something for everyone, with 300km of pistes of every level. The gargantuan ski area has a separate mountain for snowboarders and freestylers, a family-friendly mountain for children and beginners and plenty of moguls and intermediate cruisers. On top of that, Davos-Klosters is renowned for its seemingly endless off-piste terrain, a freerider’s dream.
300km of ski slopes at Davos-Klosters © Graubünden Ferien Davos Klosters BB
Self-proclaimed “Top of Europe,” the Jungfrau Region boasts views of the surrounding mountain peaks from the mindboggling height of 3454m above sea level. The ski area includes the resorts of Grindelwald, Wengen and Mürren and is particularly suited to intermediate skiers. Jungfrau hosts the Snowpenair every April, an open-air concert hosted high in the mountains at the Kleine Scheidegg.
Riding the cable car at the Jungfrau Region ski area © Jungfrauregion
Engadin-St. Moritz is beloved by the jet set, who come here to see and be seen. Modern facilities, guaranteed snow and a jam-packed event calendar make this the perfect well-rounded ski resort. The 330km of slopes are especially suited to intermediate skiers, but everyone can enjoy the gourmet-standard on-mountain restaurants!
Breathtaking panoramic views from the top of Engadin-St. Moritz ski area © Engadin-St. Moritz
Verbier is the most popular (and the most expensive) resort at the ski area of Les Quatre Vallées, which has an impressive 410km of slopes at altitudes over 3300m. Verbier has a reputation for having some of the most difficult terrain in the Alps, including steep black runs and off-piste heli-skiing. But not to worry, beginner and intermediate skiers will also find around 200km of pistes to suit them here.
Hard to beat this view at Les Quatre Vallées! © Zwitserland Toerisme
Arosa-Lenzerheide is a sunny ski area with the perfect assortment of terrain for mixed-ability groups, from children’s areas to snowparks, from immaculately groomed cruising runs to the World Cup downhill route. The fun doesn’t have to end once the sun sets – try night skiing or go for the full-blown full moon experience, followed by a well-earned hot drink! If you’re more of an early bird, you can get your fresh tracks in before the rest of the mountain wakes up.
Freeriding in Switzerland's Arosa-Lenzerheide ski area © Arosa-Lenzerheide
Third on the list of the best Swiss ski resorts is the internationally renowned ski area of Flims-Laax-Falera. Snow is 100% guaranteed here, with most of the pistes situated above 2000m plus glacier skiing on the Vorab Glacier. The terrain at Flims-Laax-Falera is evenly balanced between beginner-friendly areas and epic off-piste routes.
Learning to carve at Graubünden in the Flims-Laax-Falera ski area (Foto © Weisse Arena AG)
The ski area of Saas-Fee ranks second on the list of the best Swiss ski resorts. High-altitude skiing at a glacier of 3600m means Saas-Fee stays open through the summer. It also means Saas-Fee is home to the highest revolving restaurant in the world, which has splendid panoramic views. Besides skiing and snowboarding, Saas-Fee offers ice skating, snowshoeing, sledging and even curling.
Saas-Fee ski area in the Walliser Alps © PHOTOPRESS Saas-Fee
And the winner is… Matterhorn Zermatt! It’s hard to beat this world-class ski resort, nestled under the watchful gaze of Europe’s most iconic mountain peak. Zermatt has 360km of pistes and skiing 365 days a year on the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, almost 4000m above sea level. Skiers can travel the piste down to Cervinia, across the Italian border, or stay in Zermatt and explore the numerous intermediate pistes and freestyle areas. One of the best ski resorts in Europe!
Best ski area in the alps is the Matterhorn Zermatt! © Marc Weiler, Tourism Zermatt
Do you agree with our top picks or did we miss your favourite ski resort? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
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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