Switzerland is famous for its spectacular mountain scenery, and it’s long been known as one of the most stunning countries for skiing with its incredible variety of terrain. The veritable home of alpine skiing, it’s truly a bucket list spot for ski bums with numerous iconic resorts to experience. Once you make the plans to go, these are some of the best to experience.
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One of Switzerland’s most charming small towns, Andermatt is located at the meeting of two valleys close to the north side of the Swiss Alps. It usually gets a ton of snow offering outstanding high-altitude skiing at two separate ski areas. Even when conditions aren’t great elsewhere in this region home to the country’s primary concentration of major resorts, you’re likely to find great powder here, attracting many expert skiers with its nearly all of its vertical almost entirely black runs and off-piste routes.
While Verbier is not budget-friendly, it’s hard to find better when it comes to challenging slopes – these are truly some of the top runs on the planet. One of the most iconic here is Tortin with a nearly 2,300-foot vertical drop from the top to the bottom of the Chassoure gondola. Although with its more than 2,950-foot vertical drop from just below Col de Gentianes to the Gentianes cable car, combined with huge moguls, Gentianes impresses too. While they aren’t groomed or avalanche controlled, they are both marked. The most memorable and steepest black run starts at the ski area’s highest point, Mount Fort, which sits at nearly 11,000 feet, reached by cable car.
St. Moritz is a top destination in Switzerland, famous for its glitz as the world capital of winter wonderland glamour. Right from town, there are ski trains and buses that will bring you to a wide array of intermediate slopes, like popular Corvigilia. There you can enjoy the wide open slopes above the treeline that offer truly awe-inspiring views. Back in the resort village, there’s plenty of fun to be had too. Divided into two main parts, it includes St. Moritz Dorf, the larger section with some of the area’s swankiest, clubs, restaurants and five-star hotels. The other, St. Morit Bad, is more tranquil, centered around St. Moritz Lake while featuring a cross-country track.
Grimentz enjoys a more off-the-beaten-path location, which means it hasn’t been overexploited by tourism offering a more authentic and less crowded experience. It’s the most attractive and the largest of the four ski resorts in the spectacular Val d’Anniviers region, with Grimentz sharing two ski areas, Grimentz-Zinal and St. Luc Chandolin, that are covered with one lift pass. Together they offer the variety and quantity of pistes that can easily make for an entire week of fun. The village has a wonderful charming traditional center, with wooden chalets along with plenty of restaurants, bars and accommodation options.
One of the most famous resorts for skiing, Zermatt offers an extensive array of varied slopes, connected to Cervinia, Italy’s, complete with off-piste itinerary runs and heli-skiing. The dramatic Matterhorn looms above the car-free village of Zermatt itself, which is known for its laid-back, picturesque vibe and lots of elegant boutiques, restaurants and bars. That includes the famous Igloo Bar that’s made almost entirely from ice – providing a unique setting to sip mulled red wine. At the bottom of the Matterhorn, you can enjoy live music at Hennu Stall.
Leysin offers a great value for families with children, with its prices lower than the fashionable and more famous Swiss resorts. It’s an old-school, traditional resort located about 90 minutes from Geneva, with chalets dotted across a meadow. A cable car and quad chair provide main access to the mountain right from the edge of the village and is ideal for beginners to intermediates. It also features a terrain park for all skill levels that includes a halfpipe which hosts the annual Junior World Snowboard Championships.
Flims Laax Falera
Located above the village of Flims, Laax and Falera, one of Switzerland’s largest ski areas, while it’s popular with freestylers it also tends to attract lots of skiers who prefer staying closer to the snow rather than flying high above it. By taking the number 10 course on La Siala Mountain, skiers can enjoy one of the best top-to-bottom runs, which includes a 5,610-foot vertical drop. It starts out as a red and then mellows out later on, turning blue before it stretches all the way down to Flims. Laax is arguably the most exciting off the slopes and Falera tends to be more tranquil with its car-free atmosphere. If you’re looking for jaw-dropping views, head to Vorab Glacier, the highest lift-accessed point at the resort where the Alps can be viewed in every direction.
Grindelwald is not only stunning when it comes to scenery, with the breathtaking north face of Eiger soaring above the mountain village, the main ski areas here share slopes with Wengen and can be accessed with the same lift ticket. Skiers can test their skills against the pros here, speeding down the long Lauberhorn course for uninterrupted joy over diverse terrain. At the bottom of the run is the car-free village of Wengen, the perfect spot to enjoy a meal. If you ski the red run that heads to Grindelwald Grun just before dusk, you’ll get to take in a glorious sunset view – the perfect finale to a day out on the Swiss slopes.
One of five mountains providing nearly 170 miles of slopes on five mountains, Parseen is the largest and boasts the most varied ski terrain. The Parseenbahn funicular railway will get you there – the same one that’s been taking skiers to the more than 8,730-foot Weissfluhjock for over eight decades. One of the most popular routes is the number four red course, which has long curves for some serious speed. If you’re looking for backcountry skiing, you can hire a guide to go between the two resorts and discover the freshest powder.
Arosa and Lenerheide were once stand-alone ski resorts but today, skiers can access a cable car to take advantage of countless options across a mile-wide alpine expanse in just over five minutes. Similar to what the Peak 2 Peak gondola did for Whistler in British Columbia, it offers 140 miles across three distinct mountainsides with blue groomers making up over half the runs. There are also mellower options, perfect for cruising and carving while enjoying the incredible uninterrupted views of dramatic mountain vistas, but expert runs can be enjoyed too.