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Chalet in sneeuw
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Top snow-sure ski resorts in the Alps

If reliable snow cover is one of the first things you look for when planning your trip, you’re not alone. It only takes one ski holiday on green hills to realise that it’s much more fun to go on a ski holiday when the slopes are open, and even better if you’ve got some fresh powder! As we all know, the altitude and geographical location of the ski area both play an important role in determining which ski resorts will be more snow-sure than others. You’ll even find that at many ski areas, one side of the mountain has much better snow cover than the other, simply because of how the sun shines or how the wind hits the slopes.

Since it can be difficult to know for sure whether your chosen ski resort has reliable snow cover, we’ve put together a list of snow-sure ski areas in the Alps that have historically been lucky when it comes to getting loads of powder. These include glacier ski areas and high-altitude ski areas, or even just ski areas with fortunate microclimates where you’re sure to have a snowy ski holiday.

Snow-sure resorts in the Alps
© Spalder Media Group

What makes a snow-sure ski area?

The first thing that might spring to mind when you think of a snow-sure ski area is a glacier ski area. After all, glaciers are icy year-round, so it stands to reason that they should have the most reliable snow cover. This is true, and many glaciers are open for skiing even in the spring and summer. But it’s not just glacier ski resorts that offer guaranteed snow. High-altitude ski areas, especially those with pistes at more than 2000m above sea level, enjoy pretty decent snow cover as well thanks to their altitude and are often among the first to open for ski season. Still other ski areas have pistes in the shade – usually north-facing pistes do better in the Alps – where the sun can’t melt the snow as quickly. And finally, ski areas on the edges of the Alps can be vulnerable to warmer weather patterns that may adversely affect snowfall. One thing to keep in mind is that while a ski area might not have the most abundant natural snowfall, the more important thing for guaranteed snow is that it stick around and not melt.

Top 10 snow-sure ski areas by country

For those who have their heart set on a particular destination, we’ve lined up some of the top snow-sure ski resorts per country. As you’ll see, not all of these are necessarily glacier ski areas.

Snow-sure glacier ski areas

Glaciers are the product of years and years of accumulated ice so by definition, if it’s a glacier it can’t be melted! This makes glacier ski areas the most snow-sure ski areas of them all, with many of them opening for skiing almost all year long. Below we’ve listed the most famous glacier in each country, but there are of course many more glacier ski resorts in the Alps.

  • Austria

  • Germany

  • France

  • Switzerland

  • Italy

High-altitude ski areas and villages

Snow cover is also determined by the altitude of the ski area. Here we’ve listed some of the highest ski areas and ski resort villages in the Alps. Of course, you can never rely 100% on guaranteed snow, but once the ski area is 2000m above sea level is higher, it’s a fairly safe bet to expect a successful ski holdiay.

High-altitude ski areas
Zermatt 3820m
Les Deux Alpes 3600m
Saas-Fee 3600m
Breuil Cervinia 3480m
Tignes 3456m
High-altitude ski resort towns
Val Thorens 2300m
Hochgurgl 2150m
Kühtai 2020m
Zermatt 1620m
Madonna di Campiglio 1550m

Val Thorens

Ski areas for a guaranteed White Christmas

We usually expect ski areas to start opening for the winter in November and December, making Christmas the perfect time for a ski holiday with the family. Unfortunately, by December some years you’ll still find many ski areas waiting for their first snowfall, which is hugely stressful if you’ve already booked your trip! To avoid disappointment, it’s extra-important to choose a snow-sure ski area if you’re planning a Christmas ski holiday. Here are some good options.

Ski areas with reliable snow cover in spring

Some people like to avoid Christmas and February half-term altogether and just skip straight to spring skiing, when the days are longer and you can ski in just a t-shirt and sunglasses! The one tiny downside to spring skiing is the potential for slushy snow. Since we love spring skiing, we want everybody to enjoy it to its fullest potential! Here are some of our favourite snow-sure ski areas for spring skiing.

Sneeuwkanon Zillertal Arena

Best ski areas for artificial snow

Faced with climate change and the reality of shorter ski seasons, many ski areas have turned to artificial snow to ensure guaranteed snow cover all through winter. You’ll find snow cannons in most ski areas nowadays, but there are some ski areas that have better coverage than others. The following ski areas have enough snow cannons to keep plenty of terrain open even when snow cover is lacking.

Ski area # snow cannons Km of pistes  
 Winterberg 260 27km  
 Bad Kleinkirchheim 800 103km  
 KitzSki 1068 179km  
 SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser - Brixental 1500 284km  
 Zillertal Arena 556 153km  
 Großarltal - Dorfgastein 227 73km  
 Ski Arlberg 300 329km  
 Snowspace Salzburg 179 120km  

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