For quality skiing and snowboarding, the slopes of Switzerland are hard to beat offering some of the most dramatic mountain scenery and ski runs in Europe, along with pretty old mountain villages, restaurants and après-ski.
If you’re planning a ski trip to Switzerland, here’s our pick of resorts which you might like to consider:
ANDERMATT for powdery snow
For powdery snow, head for Andermatt on the northern slopes of the Alps. At between 2,000 and 3,000 metres, the steep pistes on shady Gemsstock are favoured by the expert skiers. The main face consists mostly of black runs and off-piste routes but two intermediate pistes are available if you want to take it a little easy. Andermatt’s main resort area sits on the edge of a 72-par golf course and offers apartments and six chic hotels.
AVORIAZ for all-round fun
Avoriaz lies within the Portes du Soleil ski area and is entirely pedestrianised so getting to and from the slopes is quick and easy. The 2013 World Snow Awards in London voted Avoriaz as the best family resort and you will find that facilities abound, including kids’ play clubs, ski schools, nurseries, free ski passes for under fives, and a snow park for little ones to enjoy some freestyle runs. High-altitude skiing is available for everyone and you’ll love the pretty panoramas, alongside the varied and exciting routes in the Alps.
WENGEN for families
Car-free Wengen might as well have been designed specifically for families. Although there are one or two taxis, you should be safe to let the kids run free and enjoy a snowy field serving as a combined playground and nursery slope. For slightly more challenging skiing travel up the mountain on the cog railway to the village of Lauterbrunnen. Wengen also offers toboggan runs such as the 4.5km run from Wengernalp, or longer runs from the top of the mountain towards Grindelwald. Meanwhile, in the centre of the village, you’ll find ice skating, too
VERBIER for experts
For expert skiers, nothing can quite beat Verbier with its top-class slopes, chalets, luxury hotels and vibrant après-ski scene. On the skiing front you can look forward to some epic runs- namely the 900 metres vertical route from Col de Gentianes to Tortin and the 1,000 vertical at Vallon d’Arby taking you down to La Tzoumaz. Strong skiers can also take to steeper slopes and serious off-piste routes such as the top of Mont-Fort which, at 3,330 metres, provides a black mogul run and equally adventurous off-piste routes ending up at Siviez.
VILLARS for beginners
The sunny hillside of Villars is slow-paced and novices can take to the nursery slopes in a relaxed, unpressured environment. You can access the gentlest slope on foot from the village, and when you’ve mastered it, take the slow cog railway up the mountain to have a “proper” ski down the long yet easy runs. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to ski schools in Villars. A popular choice for British skiers is New Generation, a British-run school which is well-known in France for its fun and effective tuition.
MÜRREN for perfect peace
This dreamlike Alpine retreat is free of cars and best accessed by mountain railway. Mürren sums up all that a peaceful mountain village in the snow should be: narrow lanes lined with quaint chalets, snowy rooftops and epic views of dramatic peaks across the valley.The 1,300 metre vertical run from Schilthorn to the village is one of the greatest pistes in the Alps. Chairlifts rise from the village serving shorter intermediate slopes and others collect you higher up at mid-mountain. It’s also easy to catch the railway down to Lauterbrunnen and then up again to Wengen where you can explore the glorious slopes it shares with Grindelwald.
ZERMATT for party animals
Dotting the lower slopes of the Matterhorn and Sunnegga sectors, Zermatt’s huts host some of the best après-ski fun in Switzerland. It isn’t just a matter of friendly sing-songs fuelled by beers or creamy schnapps concoctions: bars like the Hennu Stall and Cervo buzz to the tones of live bands to generate an atmosphere to rival any in St Anton. Alternatively, squeeze into Elsie’s Bar for a glass of wine and some oysters or enjoy loud music at one of the many venues in Hotel Post. Ski attractions in Zermatt include a great variety of slopes, testing itineraries and heli-skiing.
LAXX for snowboarders
The villages of Flims, Laax and Falera have seen extensive development in recent years in order to welcome a young market, in particular snowboarders. They come for its four terrain parks which sit high up on Crap Sogn Gion, offering nearly 60 features including rails and boxes, kickers and half pipes – the largest is already the biggest in the Alps and was extended to meet the 200-metre Olympic requirement size in 2015. Laxx also boasts Europe’s first indoor freestyle facility. If you’d prefer to ski, there’s plenty to offer free riders thanks to a good range of marked and patrolled free ride routes as well as vast swathes of off-piste zones.