Switzerland is a typical alpine country located right at the center of the Alps. It is home to some of the most iconic mountains in the world, as well as the most peaks in Europe above 4000m. It is also blessed with the biggest glaciers and offers plenty of opportunities for skiing via diverse skiable terrain. There are about 10 ancient mountain retreats and bars for each modern self-service cafeteria. The villages are also quite traditional. However, when it comes to skiing, quality is universally high. Thanks to the environmental considerations and innate Swiss conservatism, Switzerland’s exceptional and plentiful natural features have remained virtually untouched by development.
This controlled development has significantly benefited the country’s ski resorts by preserving the charm that attracts skiers from different parts of the world. What’s more, guests are treated to exemplary accommodation and services that ultimately enhance the whole experience. Take a look at the top five ski resorts in Switzerland in 2017.
Crans Montana – From $36
Crans Montana is an upscale ski resort with excellent views. It is known as the sunniest ski resort in Switzerland and as an all-year-round resort with 140 kilometers of skiable terrain, numerous popular events, a championship eighteen-hole golf course, and more than 70 restaurants and 150 shops. The skiing terrain includes excellent off-piste, well-groomed pistes, and a variety of other snow sports such as curling, ice skating, snowshoeing, ski touring, and cross-country skiing.
Apart from skiing and boarding, some visitors go to enjoy the stunning scenery over the mountains, stroll the 63 kilometer walking paths, and shop in the line of boutiques available in the area. Others simply go to unwind with friends, dine in any of the over seventy available restaurants, or pass time in the cinema or casino.
Saas Fee – From $72
Like the Crans-Montana Ski Resort, Saas Fee (also known as the pearl of the Alps) has not been affected by modern developments except for a few powerful lifts for moving skiers to the top of the mountains. These mountains offer a jaw dropping 3500m above sea level, surrounding the resort with huge spilling glaciers. The internationally renowned Saas-Fee village is nestled about 1800 meters beneath the Mischabel range. It is also relatively old, although there are a few service vehicles available. Committed mountain lovers will definitely appreciate the proximity of the scenery and the thrilling heights.
Saas-Fee also offers plenty of flat sunny slopes that are ideal for beginners, as well as sufficient supervised activities for kids that make the resort suitable for the entire family. Snow conditions are normally first class while piste skiing is conveniently extensive. Off-piste in the resort provides infinite routes to explore, most of which begin from peaks that have to be climbed first. But Saas-Fee is not limited to skiing only. There are numerous other activities for winter travelers such as walking paths and an entire mountain dedicated to sledging.
Zermatt Ski Resort – From $61
Zermatt is one of the most treasured ski resorts in Switzerland and one of the best in the world, mostly famous for the Matterhorn – a unique and extremely prominent iconic asset. Zermatt exudes a charming atmosphere of the old world of mountaineering and farming, long before the invention of winter sports. This is attributed to the ancient clutter of simple slate, stone, and timber buildings with a long, warm, lighted high street that glistens in the night, highlighting the many bars, cafes, and restaurants in the area. All of this is nestled tightly between the sharp mountain ridges over the Matter valley.
Zermatt is all about a sense of adventure, wildness, and the breathtaking beauty of the escalating Swiss Alps. The resort is also unquestionably unique, very stylish and upmarket, and overwhelms you in its luxury. It consists of 39 peaks (each about 400m high), including the inspirational Matterhorn. Most of these are skiable, albeit being significantly out of range from the 360 kilometers of pistes synonymous with the Zermatt-Cervinia domain. Although the Matterhorn Ski Paradise is what sets Zermatt apart as a leading winter destination, the resort is not complete without the whole package. The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is connected to Schwarzsee, Gornergrat, and Rothorn ski areas via a lift that also leads to the Valtournenche- Cervinia-Breuil ski area on its way to the Val d’Aosta.
Champery – From $43
Champery is one of the oldest ski resorts in Switzerland and offers access to the Portes du Soleil ski area. The resort is located at the base of the Dents Blanches and the Dents du Midi, and has an altitude of about 1050m. It has managed to preserve its character throughout the years, although there’s an active program for modernization. Champery is not a ski-in ski-out resort, but it is still excellent for skiers of all levels (except maybe for absolute beginners). It offers access to 650km of terrain, as well as 209 lifts for 430 pistes. Après ski usually takes place at the hotels and restaurants. Insomniacs can also head over to the bars and night clubs for a variety of non-skiing activities around Champery. An easy way to reach the resort is from Sion airports and Geneva.
Davos Ski Resort – From $16
Davos ski resort is one of Europe’s highest Alpine resorts. It consists of an extensive connection of ski slopes between Pischa to the north east and Rinerhorn to the south west. In 2003, the resort was merged with Klosters (together with their ski lifts and mountain railways) and then rebranded as Davos Klosters. The region includes 5 winter sport areas offering at least 300km of neat pistes, 140km of cross country ski trails, and 140km of winter walking trails. Although it may look like an intermediate’s resort at first glance, the
Davos Klosters ski area has significant off-piste potential. The two main centers of Davos Platz and Davos Dorf are just one mile apart, with a mixture of casinos, tearooms, exclusive shops, hotels, residential apartments, and office blocks in between. There are also museums, exhibitions, and theatres scattered around. About five minutes’ drive from the town center, guests are treated to a world of snow and mountains. Davos has a spectacular mountain setting. Apart from ski tourism, this venue is popular for UK parliamentary ski races, professional ice hockey Spengler Cup, Nordic World Cup race, and the World economic forum.