The ultimate guide to Switzerland’s ski resorts

The ultimate guide to Switzerland’s ski resorts

For a country as small as Switzerland, it sure does have a lot of places to ski. The large amount of Switzerland ski resorts means there is a variety of resorts to suit all level of skiers. But it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the choice. Here, we run down our favourite places to ski in the country, depending on what it is you’re looking for.

For the lifestyle: St Moritz

It goes without saying that St Moritz is one of the most famous and highly regarded ski resorts in the world. The glamourous resort has been a regular haunt for the rich and famous for over a hundred years. From A-list film stars to royalty, anyone who’s anyone has been photographed going down the slopes or sipping champagne here.

However, the decadence and exclusivity shows just one side of St Moritz, as it’s also a fantastic place to ski. There are around 354km of pistes divided between four ski sectors, and lots of lifts to take you to the top. There’s plenty for both beginners and experts alike, but it’s worth noting that the huge range of long, gradual slopes are perfect for intermediate skiers.

St Moritz is also the home of some historic winter sports landmarks. The St Moritz-Celerina Olympic Bobrun is not only the world’s only natural ice-track, it’s also the oldest bob run in history. Only for the brave, thrill seekers get to ride between the pilot and brakeman, reaching speeds of up to 135 km/h. The track is open for guest trips* from late December to early March, costing around £180 GBP per person.

*Noting there is a minimum age restriction of 16 years

For the beginner: Saas-Fee

With an emphasis usually on black slopes and off-piste, finding Switzerland ski domains that cater towards beginners can be easier said than done. But with 37km of beginner trails, practice slopes and numerous ski-schools, it’s hard to find a better place for a ski novice than Saas-Fee.

Located near the Italian border, the village sits at 1,800m above sea level and is known as the ‘Pearl of The Alps’. This should give an indication to how beautiful the surroundings are here. The traffic-free village features a number of unique experiences, from the Ice Pavillion - a huge grotto full of ice sculptures located in the heart of a glacier- to a spinning restaurant that sits at 3,500 metres above sea level, making it the world’s highest revolving restaurant.

As well as ideal facilities for first-timers, Saas-Fee also offers perfect opportunities to build on what you’ve learned, with 96km of intermediate slopes. Even the slopes marked red would be considered blue at more intense resorts.

For the family: Villars

With the combination of extensive, long slopes and a great choice of ski schools and nursery slopes, there’s something for everyone at Villars. The resort sits at 1300m, on a south-facing terrace above the Rhone Valley. It links with a number of great skiing areas, including Glacier 3000, which is located at the highest point of the Vaudois Alps and open all year round. It can be a slightly difficult trek to get there from Villars, but the breathtaking views and perfect snow make it worth it.

Villars especially excels when it comes to off-slope activities. There are toboggan runs, sledging and seven different trails to go snowshoe hiking, 3km of which are suitable for prams. The mountain railway is also a great way to take in the beautiful scenery. It’s also just a short car journey from Geneva airport, putting the number of “Are we there yet?” comments to a minimum.

For the ski enthusiast: Verbier

If you’re looking to push your skiing abilities, Verbier is the perfect place. The Swiss resort is one part of the 4 Valleys ski area, which includes Val de Bagnas, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and La Tzoumaz. Out of all of these areas, Verbier is the biggest and most famous, and for good reason – the slopes here are known as some of the best in the world.

With 400km of runs and 80 ski-lifts, Verbier is a playground for skiiers of all abilities. However, this is a park that really caters to the more experienced skier, with 40% of the terrain being classed as advanced. Some of the most well-known runs are Gentianes and Tortin, both of which offer a terrifying steep descent which is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Mont Fort is also a huge part of visiting Verbier. Sitting at 3,330m, it’s the highest point of the ski area and is reached by cable car only. When you’re up there, you get unparalleled views of the area, including the Matterhorn, and when you’re ready to make your way down, the possibilities are endless. For thrill-seekers, it’s off-piste heaven.

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