Skiing in Switzerland – here’s what you need to know about the best skiing and ski resorts in Switzerland.
Switzerland reigns supreme and has some of the best places to go skiing. It certainly matches the opportunities found in countries such as Italy and France when it comes to challenging terrain and sheer beauty.
However, there is no denying the fact that Switzerland’s ski resorts are notorious for being expensive. For this reason, it is a good idea to carefully pick and choose the ski resort you want to visit. Among some of the best ones that you can come across, the following are a few ski resorts which are worth visiting.
Whether it’s the glamour of St. Moritz or the dazzling vision of the Matterhorn towering above Zermatt’s classic chalets, every skier has dreams of skiing the Swiss Alps. Contrary to what you may have heard, not everyone here skis like James Bond and these majestic mountains are not just for experts.
Most resorts have easy cruising terrain and excellent learning programs. Many have dedicated slopes and lifts just for learners and beginners. And while après-ski may be lively in some larger ski centres, Swiss ski resorts are equally well tuned to the needs of families. Most resorts offer family-friendly lift passes, lodgings, and packages.
Verbier offers some of the best skiing in Switzerland
Verbier is everything you are looking for in a world-class skiing area. Winter-sports are the leading attraction every year. Verbier is a chalet village resting on a sun kissed flat terrain with majestic views of the magnificent mountain peaks.
The ski area of Verbier stretches from 1500 meters to 3330 meters above sea level. Thanks to the high altitudes and perfect snow conditions, over 442 kilometers of runs are accessible by a total of 93 lifts.
Mont-Gelé and Mont-Fort are two of the legendary skiing routes that Verbier is well known for. These are a huge attraction for skiing experts wanting to continuously test their skiing skills.
Beginners and intermediate skiers will also find that there are skiing routes according to their interests. Being an extremely popular skiing location in Europe, Verbier is full of people visiting from all over the country during winter, which leads to the formation of queues. However, the lift systems are constantly being updated and the queues are well handled.
Renowned for having slopes that fall above the normal tree-line, Verbier is the perfect skiing playground for off-terrain skiing and free-riding.
Better suited for professionals and experts, there are skiing schools in Verbier where beginners and intermediate skiers can find their feet. The Tortin is also counted among the steepest descents in Europe, making it hard to ignore for expert skiers.
Verbier in Switzerland may be a skiing hotspot, but it doesn’t disappoint in the nightlife domain. Many believe that it is only after the dark that Verbier reveals its true colors.
The number of bars and clubs in the vicinity bear testimony to that fact. In the evening, certain areas such as the Rocks as well as 1936, features performances by DJ’s on snowy patios.
Zermatt also offers some of the best skiing in Switzerland
Feel like skiing down Switzerland’s most iconic mountain? Then head to Zermatt ski resort, located near the Matterhorn. The resort is Switzerland’s most iconic, achieving global fame for the quality of the skiing opportunities it presents.
While it attracts experts and intermediate skiers, Zermatt has something for everyone, with trails available for beginners and non-skiers. With reliable snowfall, Zermatt boasts some of the best slopes.
They offer a vertical drop of 2,133 meters, which is considered to be the greatest drop in Switzerland. With a rustic charm and hearty food as well as the opportunity to indulge in other snow sports, Zermatt offers some of the best skiing experiences in Switzerland.
All three of Zermatt’s ski zones range to at least 3150m above sea level. This renders into outstanding snow settings and extended runs to the town. Zermatt also has the lengthiest winter season in Europe. All three skiing zones kick-off from mid-November to the end of April. The enormous glacier zone bids top-notch skiing all summer too.
The lengthiest run starts from the Matterhorn and goes into town. The Matterhorn is the loftiest lift in whole Europe. At 3920m, you rise above Europe and it is higher than the greatest peaks of many alps countries. Including all the summits in Austria and New Zealand.
Walking out of a channel carved within the rock, one reaches a massive snowy glacial world. On a fairly cloudless day, one can see across most of the Swiss, Italian, and French Alps. From Klein to Zermatt, marks a run of 14 kilometres and 2100 vertical meters of diverse territory.
There is an ancient dictum –’In Zermatt, Après Ski starts at noon‘. Whilst that may not be correct for everyone, it is a fact that Après ski here does have a special charm. It is not difficult to see why.
Around 36 mountain cafés are to be discovered around Zermatt, most with marvellous sights of Mount Matterhorn. The majority of the cafe’s are genuine, homely and conspicuously Swiss ‘chalets’. Delighting guests with superb food and an inimitable Zermatt ambiance, Zermatt has several of the finest mountain restaurants in the Alps.
Davos – Klosters
One of Europe’s largest winter sports areas highest in altitude, Davos is a series of ski resorts. These resorts string for several miles along the valley of the Landwasser River in eastern Switzerland. The two main centres are Davos and Klosters. However, the multiple ski areas are interconnected, so it’s easy to ski any combination.
All together, they offer more than 300 kilometers of groomed runs, much of which is classed for intermediates. But the tremendous off-piste terrain attracts a loyal following of experts too. Beginners might, however, be a bit hard pressed to find great skiing opportunities.
Many people feel that Davos is unlike a traditional ski-resort, with a very city like appearance. However, the facilities it has to offer more than make up for it. These facilities include skating rinks, swimming pools, as well as access to four star restaurants and shops that are easily accessible.
Parsenn, which links Davos and Klosters, is one of the major areas, with some of the most challenging terrain and longest runs in the Alps. The longest is 13 kilometers, from Weissfluhgipfel to Küblis, with a vertical drop of 2,034 meters. You can reach the Parsenn ski runs from Davos using the Parsenn funicular railway and from Klosters on the Gotschna cable car.
Davos is also popular with Nordic skiers for its 140 kilometers of cross-country ski trails, some lighted for night skiing.
Make no mistake: these are not laid-back little mountain villages, but posh resorts where you might share the slopes with royalty and definitely experience some of the best skiing in Switzerland.
Saas – Fee
Bagging the title for best snow quality and dependability in the Swiss Best Ski Resort Awards, Saas-Fee is traditional ski resort that is traffic free with no vehicles allowed. Situated near the Dom, which is the highest peak in Switzerland, Saas-Fee has exceptional skiing opportunities.
Beginners can make use of a total of 37kms of trails that are meant specifically for their skill sets. This, along with a practice slope and lift at the edge of the car-free village, makes the resort ideal for families. Intermediate skiers have access to 1,800m of vertical terrain allotted for them. Despite the fact that Saas-Fee is usually sought after by beginners and intermediate skiers, it also has something to offer the experts. They can make use of a total of 23kms of black diamond trails.
St. Moritz also offers some of the best skiing in Switzerland
One of the world’s oldest and most famous winter sports resorts, St. Moritz has twice hosted the Winter Olympics, in 1928 and 1948. Its Olympic ski-jumps and slopes are also frequently the site of world ski events. But St. Moritz is not just for experts and Olympians. It is known to have some of Switzerland’s best intermediate terrain, with several very long intermediate runs. The resort has more than 20 lifts to carry skiers of all abilities to the various terrains.
Ride the Corviglia Funicular from the town to Corviglia, at 2,486 meters, for prime skiing and sweeping Alpine views. From St. Moritz Bad, on the shores of the lake, you can take the Signalbahn to the Signalkuppe ski area, at 2,150 meters.
St. Moritz is known for its smart and pricey social life, but you’ll find family-friendly accommodations here too. These accommodations are just a few minutes away in Silvaplana, where there’s a gentle, kid-friendly slope, a lift and cable car to the Corvatsch ski area.
Mürren too offers some of the best skiing in Switzerland
Famed because it played a part in the history of free-skiing, Murren is a resort that is quaint, rustic and all that you would expect a rustic Swiss ski resort to be. Murren hosted the 1931 Alpine Ski World Championship. Mürren is one of Switzerland’s most loved resorts.
There may be other mountain villages that are equally as pretty, but none of them enjoys views like those from Mürren. One can see across the deep valley to the rock faces and glaciers of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau: simply breathtaking.
Offering interconnection between three different ski areas, Murren is perfect for beginners, intermediate skiers and even expert skiers because there is something for everyone. It is also in close proximity to the Wengen and the Grindelwald which are easily accessible with Jungfrau ski pass. The Schilthorn run has a 1,300m vertical drop and has an unrivalled combination of varied terrain and glorious views.
You can’t fail to be struck by Mürren’s beauty and tranquillity. Paths and narrow lanes weave between little wooden chalets and a handful of bigger hotel buildings – all normally blanketed by snow.
Mürren’s traffic-free status has been somewhat eroded; there are now a few delivery vehicles. But it still isn’t plagued by electric carts and taxis in the way that many other traditional ‘traffic-free’ resorts are. Even Wengen seems busy by comparison.
It also has the famous revolving restaurant which was showcased in a Bond film, Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which is a must visit!
Set in southwestern Switzerland, in the German-speaking area of Canton of Bern, is Gstaad ski resort. Though Gstaad opened in the early 1900s, it wasn’t until recent years that the resort has become a hotspot for travellers in search of the most luxurious ski vacations.
With well-groomed slopes that offer varying degrees of difficulty, the resort is perfect for a family trip. Snowpark Glacier 3000 will get snowboarders’ adrenalin pumping as they carve their own tracks down the mountain, and the resort even has a run for cross-country skiers.
Gstaad consists of a collection of 10 little skiing villages, which means that there are plenty of slopes, trails and pistes available for skiers. With 80 runs, 53 lifts, and 137 miles to ski, Gstaad does not disappoint.
Luckily, out of this, a total of 128km is designated for beginners whereas intermediates have a total of 60km. However, the remaining terrain for experts is extremely challenging and truly tests the mettle of the experts. The best part is that Gstaad also offers night skiing on certain trails.
With 10 skiing villages in its domain, it is safe to say that accommodations are easy to come by in this Swiss ski resort. Replenish energy lost on the slopes with a hearty Italian meal from Rialto. Or, experience a “culinary symphony” at Michelin-starred Sommet, eat Japanese at Megu, or fill up on traditional foods at Swiss Stübli, the restaurants within Alpina Gstaad. For the best fondue you’ve ever had, swing by the log cabin Le Petit Chalet at Le Grand Bellevue.
Treat yourself to fine dining and a luxury spa at Alpina Gstaad, or room a suite at the castlelike Gstaad Palace, which has been on the Gold List several years running.
Switzerland sits at the top of any serious skier’s bucket list. The country offers some of the most varied terrain in the world, picturesque peaks, and access to glacier skiing.
Some of the world’s greatest mountains, including the Matterhorn and the Eiger, are located in the country, along with 55 other peaks more than 4,000 meters tall. Plus, with an après lifestyle filled with cozy fireplaces and an abundance of Swiss cheese, what’s not to love?