The Alps are home to some of the best ski resorts and slopes in the entire world. Spanning a few countries, the resorts vary hugely depending on which country you choose to be in. France, Switzerland, Austria, and Itlay all have their own little atmospheres, cuisines, and apres-ski vibes for you to sample.
Here we review some of the best ski resorts in the Alps so you can find the right fit for your next ski vacation, both on and off the slopes.
Courchevel is found in the French Alps and is just a few hour’s drive from either Chambéry or Geneva airport, Geneva being the easiest to fly to. It is part of the 3 valleys, the largest ski area in the entire world that is connected via a huge number of ski lifts. The area covers a huge 18km squared of groomed runs with 600 km of downhill slopes and 120 km of cross country slopes to choose from.
There are 4 villages that makeup Courchevel, and there truly is a never-ending amount of slopes to rush down at Courchevel that caters to every level of skier.
It has probably got the most even selection of green, blue, red, and black runs in the 3 valleys. There are some great ski schools for beginners, hundreds of runs for intermediates, and if you want a real rush. great access to heli-skiing and tobogganing.
The villages are picturesque French ski towns with great restaurants, bars, and a humming apres ski vibe. If you’re willing to drop some money, then Courchevel 1850 is probably the best choice. It’s the largest of the villages and has some of the best restaurants.
Zermatt is part of the Swiss Alps and is most famous for the incredible backdrop view of the Matterhorn. The scenery is out of this world and just a few hours drive from the Geneva or Zurich will have you gaping at an Alpine view second to none. Zermatt is home to 223.7 miles of runs that you can access via the 52 reliable lifts on the slopes.
The 145 runs are mixed quite well and are suitable for everyone from kids to pros with excellent ski schools, heli-skiing, and awesome free-ride slopes. You can send your kids to ski club which are also open even in the summer while you shred through the gravity park and down a lot of adrenaline bursting red and black runs.
The village is full of history and is one of the most luxurious ski resorts in the Alps. You will pay a premium while in Zermatt, for everything from a hot chocolate to coke, but the quality delivered is worth every penny. There are some amazing restaurants, stores, and places to stay.
One of the most famous French ski resorts, Vale D’Isere is known for its lively vibes, awesome apres-ski, and fantastic nightlife. If you’re in the mood to party while you’re on your ski vacation, Vale D’Isere is a great choice. A few hours from Geneva and Chambéry airport, Vale D’Isere is easy to get to and on arrival, you’ll immediately notice the bustling vibe.
Vale D’Isere is home to 94 miles of slopes across 80 runs that are suited more for intermediates and experts, although a brave beginner will handle it. The slopes sit at a higher altitude than most other ski areas, guaranteeing more consistent snowfall than anywhere else in the Alps. This does mean that poor weather is more likely too, which does shut down lifts more often than at other resorts.
Beware on the world-class slopes of Vale D’Isere as the color grading is often wrong and a red run could easily be a black run somewhere else. So be careful.
About 55% of the runs are either green or blue for beginners and intermediates, plus there are 5 beginner zones for chilled skiing, allowing newcomers to find their feet without all that pressure. And there are, of course, some insane slopes for advanced skiers and freestylers can let loose in the Oakley ValPark.
It’s also quite family-friendly with some great non-skiing activities too like ice skating, spas, a climbing wall, and more. There are loads of hotels and chalets to pick from, a lot offering ski-in/ski-out options plus some Michelin star restaurants to dine at. If you’re looking for great skiing and an awesome time off the slopes too, Val D’Isere is an awesome choice.
Chamonix is the mecca of any who wants a rush from the slopes. It has all the terrain you need to push yourself to the next level. The slopes are full of steep runs, off-piste powder, and ridiculous mountain scenery. It’s home to 74 miles of runs across 119 runs with a mixture of green, blue, red, and black runs.
Chamonix is also home to the Valley Blache, the longest off-piste run in Europe at 12 miles long. It’s a serious challenge and the ultimate test for anyone who is ready to be called a pro.
The ski area is spread over five mountains; L’Aiguille du Midi, Grands Montets, Le Brévent & La Flégère, and Le Tour. While you can access skiing right from Chamonix, you’re going to have to travel if you want to check them all out. The lift systems are quick and well maintained with short cues and the buses are great too.
If you’re into freeriding, then you have to hop on to the Aiguille du Midi and Grands Montets cable cars. They’ll take you to off-piste powder heaven with some crazy scenery, clifftops, caves, icefalls, and deep crevasses.
Chamonix is just a few hours away from Geneva, Chambrey and Turnin. The resort is stunning, full of culture, and great nightlife. You have to apres-ski when you’re in Chamonix. There’s a great range of hotels, restaurants, and bars to choose from.
While Cortina D’Ampezzo is technically in the Dolomites, it’s close enough to the Alps to get a mention in our book. Set amongst some incredible mountain scenery in the Belluno province, Cortina is one of the most famous ski resorts in the world. Just a two-hour drive from Venice (a great place to hang out either side of your ski holiday) and you find yourself surrounded by magical views in every direction.
The ski area has 73 runs across 75 miles of pistes but it’s not a place for anyone looking for green runs. Cortina is full of blue, red, and black runs for anyone wanting to hone their skills and move up the ladder to intermediate or expert. The black runs are particularly well-groomed.
There is a great system of modern ski-lifts to keep you moving around the slopes plus they have the infrastructure for snowmaking that covers 90% of the runs guaranteed. This means you’ll be able to ski from November to April without any concerns.
The resort is full of fine dining options, luxury accommodation, and a chilled evening scene. It is a little expensive but worth every penny.
Just a 2.5-hours drive from Zurich lies the powdery party ski resort of St Anton. If you’re looking to have some mind-blowing freeriding or crazy steep intermediate runs and then hit the apres-ski, and dance on some tables till dawn, St Anton is where it’s at.
St Anton has one of the best snow records combined with a modern lift system that gets you where you want to be, quickly. It’s home to 200km of marked freeriding off-piste itineraries, 4 terrain parks, 190 miles of pistes, and 141 different runs. There is so much to ski, it’s unlikely you’ll have to repeat.
There are some nursery slopes for beginners at the base of the mountain, where you’ll also find the kiddies ski school. There are some gentle blue runs for beginners advancing but some of them are quite intense, so be careful. For intermediates and experts, there’s a ton of red, blue, and black runs to challenge yourself on.
Off the slopes, you’ll find a wellness center with pools, saunas, and more. You can toboggan, climb indoors and outdoors plus there are loads of excellent restaurants to choose from.
The resort is an idyllic Tyrolean mountain village with great family-friendly restaurants and accommodation. The apres-ski as we have already mentioned is also out of this world, head to Mooserwirt and Krazy Kanguruh bar to find out why.
Verbier, oh sweet Verbier, is the song you’ll be singing after leaving this iconic Swiss ski resort. Set in the 4 valleys, this town has everything you could expect from a top draw ski resort. The chalet village has incredible views of stunning mountain scenery and is pretty popular. The food is to die for, as is the lodging, but it’s not cheap, but skiing never is, so why not splash out a bit.
Just a two-hour drive from Geneva and you have access to Verbier’s 256 miles of pistes with 94 runs and great snow conditions. Advanced and expert skiers will froth over the huge amounts of off-piste trails that’ll challenge anyone’s skills, especially the famous routes of Mont-Fort or Mont-Gelé.
Intermediates will be happy on the numerous blue runs but beginners may be a bit put out by the lack of green runs.
The town is beautiful and full of great restaurants, bars, and hotels with views of the Mont Blanc massifs. The apres-ski is also legendary and so it the nightlife. The town can get quite crowded though being one of the most well-known English-speaking ski resorts on the market.
Les Arcs, just a few hours from Lyon, Geneva, and Chambrey airports offer car-free picturesque villages with unrivaled views of Mont Blanc. There are three resort bases to choose from, each named with a number relating to altitude. 1600 is the quiet family vibe, 1800 is fun for all, and 2000 is the one for any serious sporty skiers.
There are 123 runs to choose from over 124 miles of pistes. The skiing is better suited to intermediates and above, as only 8% of the trails are green for beginners. The skiing is quite diverse and includes wooded runs, tough steeps, a terrain park that’s snowboard friendly, and a bunch of long descents to hone your turns on.
All the bases share an incredibly efficient lift system that gets you from A to B quickly. The northern slopes feature extensive snowmaking systems so you won’t have to rush up to the top of the mountain to find snow if you don’t want to. The longest groomed run is around 4.35 miles long and the array of 19 black runs is one of the highest percentages of steep terrain in the Alps.
If free-riding is your game, then Les Arcs has all the off-piste terrain you could wish for. It’s not a bad idea to hire a guide to get your head around the vast area or to head to the 10 made safe runs that remain ungroomed. If park and pipe are your thing, then Les Arcs couldn’t suit you better. There are numerous parks in 1600 and 2000 that cover all abilities.
For non-skiers or while on a day off, you can hit the pool, spa, go bowling, skating and watch some English films at the movies.
There you have it, some of the best ski resorts in the Alps laid out for you. There is so much diversity between them all it’s hard to pick which one will suit you best, especially if you’re an advanced skier.
The freeriding options are endless, and some of the black runs are the best in the world. But there is one saving grace; no matter which one you choose, you’ll be able to dine in luxury, stay in stunning accommodation, and having some awesome late nights and apres-ski fun.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!