25 Sep Our top 5 best ski resorts in the Alps
What are the best ski resort in the Alps?
What are the best ski resort in the Alps? These are our carefully researched 5 best ski resorts in the Alps, and why. It really depends on what you are looking for. With decades of experience living in Alps and exploring the resorts we have an expert eye.
Zermatt is firmly on the list of the best ski resorts in the Alps
There really is only one Matterhorn, the famous mountain that has put Zermatt on the map. This stunning peak should be seen at least once in the summer and once in the winter. The charming, car-free village radiates a magical atmosphere which you can’t find anywhere else. Zermatt is not the most economical of resorts however, so expect a high price tag. We find the skiing better in Zermatt later in the season. Planning to go at Christmas? Be aware that while it’s a very attractive place to be at Christmas time, the snow might not yet be au rendezvous.
We absolutely love the off piste skiing in Zermatt. Being 95% glacier skiing, most is above the tree line, giving incredible views in good weather. In bad visibility this also means it can be difficult to navigate. The normal hazards apply when skiing off piste in Zermatt, even close to the groomed runs, because it is on a glacier. Be sure to have qualified guide, harness and security equipment for all your adventures. This applies even in proximity to the groomed runs. Zermatt is high up on our list of best ski resorts in the Alps and the perfect addition to your tailor-made ski safari.
Sun-drenched Crans Montana
Crans Montana is a lesser-known resort in Switzerland on the south facing side of the Bernese Alps. It overlooks the majestic 4000 meter summits of the Valaisian alps. Crans Montana is located on a plateau above Sierre. The top most point is a glacier called the Plaine Morte. This area is on our list of the best ski resorts in the Alps. It has a stunning view, numerous luxury hotels, fine dinning and the sun. Sun can make the difference in the winter time. This place gets a lot of sunlight. It also means that skiing needs to be early, so book for January or February if you can before the warming sun affects the snow later in the season.
The backcountry, side country and off piste areas are superb. The steep-looking terrain may appear intimidating at first. Descents are actually surprisingly gentle, pleasant and interesting. You will wind through forests or cross the valley allowing you to ski all the way to another ski resort in one day. It really lends itself to our concept of a ski safari.
Party-town Verbier is considered one of the best ski resorts in the Alps by many seasoned skiers. It has a reputation for great nightlife and off piste skiing. It also hosts a selection of wonderful luxury hotels and indulgent restaurants. We like to visit Verbier from time to time, but our one strict rule is to avoid this resort during peak periods due to overcrowding, even in the off piste areas.
It is an ideal resort for meeting up with friends. However we think that there are other areas that are better suited to really getting away from it all. Once you’ve seen, skied and partied in Verbier, one of the best ski resorts in the Alps, it’s time to move on.
Chamonix is considered one of the best ski resorts in the Alps for its free-riding. It is also the birthplace of Alpinism, with stunning views of the Mont Blanc from the sprawling village. The high alpine skiing is hard to beat, making it a mountain-adventure mecca for skiers, climbers and hikers from around the world. The best way to take advantage of Chamonix is to ski its glaciers and play in its free-riding terrain. During this sort of skiing you will get a taste of alpinism and see some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery in Europe.
We are proud to include dramatic, rugged and beautiful Chamonix in our list of best ski resorts in the Alps, as well as on our ski safaris.
Pure skiing in Courchevel
Courchevel is a very different ski station to the others on our list of best ski resorts in the Alps. Firstly, it is further south, and secondly, it does not have a culture of Alpinism. Skiers from America, Canada or Australia will find the ambiance and the attitude to skiing here similar to what they know. It is faithful to the pure skier.
The main resort, situated high up at 1850 meters, offers incredible traditional skiing, less intimidating than its more rugged and dramatic neighbors further north. The name Courchevel also refers to the smaller satellite towns of Courchevel 1300, Courchevel 1550, and Courchevel 1650. Ironically, what began as a ski resort for the middle class has now become home to some of the most expensive hotels and restaurants in Europe.
With careful planning and an in-the-know guide, despite its popularity you can find yourself avoiding the crowds here. Ski in a private Courchevel where you will see more forests and frozen lakes than crowds of fellow skiers. If you have plans to hit Courchevel on your ski safari be sure to bring deep pockets, as it will set you back considerably.
Our best ski resorts in the Alps are those secret ski resorts that we would love to share with you. Get in touch for your next Alpine adventure in the European Alps and read in our latest blog what the essentials of a refined European ski safari are.
Warm regards from the mountains.