Our top 10 ranking of Switzerland’s best ski locations
A stunning mountainscape, snow-sure descents and friendly customer service: It’s no wonder that skiing is a hot trend in Switzerland. On average, every season, the ski areas produce about 23 million ski days. Two-thirds of ski tourists are Swiss, but visitors from Germany, Great Britain and other nations also appreciate the Alps for their wonderful winter sports. That’s hardly surprising. After all, St Moritz is regarded as the birthplace of snow tourism in the Alps. In 1934, the world’s first modern ski lift was developed in Davos. Thus, Switzerland is quite a bit more advanced than other ski nations. But where are the best slopes? We’ll show you our 10 favourites.
The winter wonderland of the Valais: These are the best ski locations
The Valais boasts more than 1,616 miles of snow-sure slopes that are thoroughly prepared for winter sports enthusiasts. A total of 580 ski lifts will transport you to the highest ski runs in Switzerland in a matter of minutes. From here you can enjoy unique panoramic views of the majestic four-thousanders, including impressive photo opportunities.
The car-free mountain village of Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn is not only popular with climbers and hikers, but also with skiers. The glacier ski area is the biggest all-year-round ski area in the Alps, and also offers various sports in summer, such as skiing and hiking. In winter, guests can look forward to 224 miles of snow-sure slopes. These can be found in the ski regions of Sunnegga-Rothorn, Gornergrat-Stockhorn and Schwarzsee, as well as Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Skiers can climb to the Matterhorn by taking the world’s highest 3S gondola lift to an altitude of 3,883 meters – with fantastic photo opportunities for your photo album through the lift’s glass bottom. From here there is a pass to the Italian ski area of Breuil-Cervinia and Valtournenche. Snowboarders and freestyle skiers can hone their skills at Zermatt Snow Park, a training ground for Olympic contenders.
The car-free Saas-Fee is regarded as the “pearl of the Alps”: It is situated at an altitude of 1,800 metres at the foot of the Dom, the highest mountain in Switzerland. In addition, this glacier village is surrounded by 13 four-thousanders. The ski area at an altitude of up to 3,600 metres has 93 miles of snow-sure slopes for beginner, advanced and pro skiers, and is known for its particularly wide descents. Freestyle skiers will also love it. Thanks to its southern location, the Saas Valley benefitsfrom more than 300 sunny days a year, so don’t forget your sunglasses and sun cream. When visiting the region, you should definitely take a selfie in front of the unique Ice Pavilion and at the highest revolving restaurant in the world.
Verbier 4 Vallées
Verbier 4 Vallées features 255 miles of slopes around the holiday resorts of Bruson, Verbier, La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon, making it the largest ski area in Switzerland. Half of the descents are for ambitious skiers and snowboarders, and the other half are for beginner and advanced skiers. Real pros can get from Verbier to the Col des Gentianes at an altitude of 2950 metres, where you simply have to take a photo of the unique panorama of Matterhorn, Grand Combin and Mont Blanc. The highlight is the 3,330-metre high black run Mont Fort. Freestyle skiers can enjoy the challenge of the four valleys through the three snow parks. There is a total of 33 obstacles, including tree trunks, branches, tables and benches. Another special feature of this ski area: They speak French.
The most beautiful ski areas in the Grisons canton
With its more than 40 ski areas, surrounded by a spectacular Alpine backdrop, the Grisons ranks among Switzerland’s most popular ski regions. Whether skiers or snowboarders, beginners or pros, children or snow sports veterans: The large selection of mountains and descents features something for everyone. Enjoy relaxing après-ski on the sun terraces of the panoramic restaurants.
The ski area of Laax is the largest connected winter sports area in the Grisons, with its holiday resorts of Flims, Laax and Falera. Look forward to exploring 139 miles of slopes. With its five snow parks, the region ranks among the most popular destinations for snowboarders in Switzerland. Laax features the world’s biggest halfpipe, an Olympic-sized pro kicker line and a total of 90 obstacles. As 70 percent of the ski area is situated at an altitude of 2,000 metres, visitors can always look forward to properly prepared slopes. For example, you can take unusual pictures while skiing at night down the lit descent. Tegia Curnius and many other restaurants in the “rocksresort” design hotel provide the perfect sustenance in an unusual atmosphere.
The Silvretta Arena Samnaun/Ischgl entices winter sports fans to Switzerland and Austria with 149 miles of slopes and 45 modern ski lifts. Since the 1970s, the ski area has been connecting both countries. The flat pistes on the Musella slope are very beginner-friendly. Thanks to its up to 2,800-metre altitude and approximately 1200 snow machines, you are guaranteed to have fun on the slopes of the Silvretta Arena from the end of November to the beginning of May. The winter season lasts almost half a year, which is something that not many other ski areas can claim. Plus: children under 10 accompanied by an adult are given a lift pass free-of-charge.
Engadin St. Moritz
St Moritz is the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism, and has twice been host of the Winter Olympics. The reason is obvious: This region’s individual ski areas could not be any more different: Corviglia/Piz Nair is a sunny ski mountain with wide descents ideal for carving with your snowboard and the steepest starting point in Switzerland. The gradient of the steep face of the Piz Nair is a dizzying 100 percent. From Diavolezza/Lagalb winter sports enthusiasts can take the best pictures of Piz Bernina. All freeriders will love Corvatsch, whereas Zuoz is perfect for families. Together with the slopes in seven other smaller areas, winter sports enthusiasts can enjoy a total of 217 miles of slopes.
In Davos, seven ski areas between altitudes of 1,124 and 2,844 metres provide skiing fun for all levels. The Jakobshorn mountain features halfpipes and cosy après-ski huts, making it a great freestyle mountain. Parsenn with its Weissfluhjoch summit is a classic ski area with many sun terraces, as well as access to the neighbouring Klosters. Madrisa/Rinerhorn are family-friendly mountains. Let’s not forget Schatzalp ski resort and the freeride mountain Pischa. This ski region boasts an impressive 186 miles of snow-sure slopes and 57 conveyor belts. The mountain hotels and resorts of both mountain communities provide unforgettable overnight experiences on the mountain. Good news for everyone who has to go back down the mountain in the evening: every ski area in Davos Klosters provides a direct descent into the valley (as long as there is - hopefully - enough snow).
Two communities, one ski area: The winter sports arena was created in 2013/2014 by connecting the alpine climatic health resort Arosa and Lenzerheide by the aerial tramway Urdenbahn. With 140snow-sure miles of slopes, this is the largest connected winter sports area in the Grisons. Arosa is surrounded by an impressive mountainscape in the Schanfigg at an altitude of 1800 metres, and Lenzerheide at an altitude of 1,476. The area’s highest altitude is 2,865 metres, where the panoramic restaurant Parpaner Rothorn is located. A total of five children’s parks offer ideal conditions not only for ski pros, but also for junior winter sports enthusiasts. But freestylers will also enjoy a very memorable winter holiday after a visit to the four fun parks. Those who want more can even use the partner snow sports area Tschiertschen at a discounted price.
The Jungfrau region in the cantons of Berne and Valais: Ideal for winter sport
In the Jungfrau ski region, the ski areas in the Bernese Oberland combine to form a winter paradise for snow fans. The ski area of Grindelwald-Wengen is more suitable for advanced skiers, and is known for its panorama of the three peaks of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, so make sure you take photos. In the connected ski area of Grindelwald-First, all freestylers can have fun on the cross-country ski slope. Mürren-Schilthorn is suitable for both beginners and pros. Many people will be familiar with the descent: This is the mountain that James Bond skied down in the 007 film “On her majesty’s secret service”. Meiringen-Hasliberg is particularly renowned for its ski racing centre, where permanent racing slopes are prepared. The entire ski region is located at an altitude of up to 2,970 metres, and extends over an area of more than 171 miles of slopes.
Engelberg – a beautiful ski area in Obwalden
Winter in Engelberg already begins in October and lasts right until May. The largest ski area in Central Switzerland with its 51 miles of slopes features a wonderfully central location: From Zurich you can get to Mount Titlis in just one and a half hours, the only developed glacier in Central Switzerland. If you want to give your thighs a workout, the seven-mile long valley descent will enable you to experience a 2000 metre change in altitude, which is practically as high as it goes in the Alps. The world’s first revolving aerial cableway takes guests down to the more than 3,000-metre high peak station in just a few minutes. Photo opportunity of the Bernese Alps, the lakes in the Lowlands and the Black Forest for a wall decoration. If you’re looking for a change from skiing and snowboarding, you can ride the e-Snowmobiles in SnowXpark.