Winter sports in Switzerland
This article is a travel topic
Switzerland offers a great choice of ski resorts, from the small village to the large station. Most of Switzerland's ski resorts are surrounded by impressive landscapes such as large ice fields and high mountains (48 four-thousanders are located in the swiss Alps).
Almost all winter resorts in Switzerland are frequented in summer by hikers, alpinists and tourists due to the many natural wonders and facilities.
Switzerland has a long tradition of winter sport tourism. St. Moritz is usually refered as one of the first winter resort in the world (1864).
Usually, Switzerland ski resorts are original mountain villages that have retained some of their charm, even if they have grown much larger with the development of tourism. Some villages in Bernese Highlands or in Valais are themselves considered as tourist attractions.
When to go
The ski season lasts from early December to April. In some areas it is possible to ski later or even all year (summer ski).
The best conditions for skiing are in mid-January, the coldest time of the year. Late February is a good time for sun-seekers.
Choosing a ski resort
Price, Size and Location
As a general rule, the larger the ski resort and the higher the elevation above sea level, the higher the price. Ski passes will consume a large proportion of your budget.
Large ski resorts such as Zermatt, St. Moritz, or Grindelwald are the best in the Alps, but also the most expensive ones. Many less known resorts can offer cheaper alternatives, but have of course smaller and lower ski areas. Which can mean that hey lack snow later or early in the season
Ski resorts across the alps will always have a bar in the village, right at the bottom of the piste. This ranges from a loud glass temporary bars, perfect for a drink at 4 o'clock, to classy nightclubs great for spending the night.
Larger ski resorts will offer various other winter activities, such as cross-country skiing, snow shoeing and winter walking tracks. Telemark and ski touring equipment will generally be available.
As with all ski resorts, avalanches are an underestimated hazard. Off-piste skiing is available and there are often Itinerary Runs. Some ski areas offer a 'Free Ride' area. This is a 'safe' area to ski and board off piste. Skiing off-piste is always an excellent activity but never be unprepared and ski safely!
There are numerous ski and snowboard rental shops in every larger resort and in many smaller ones. The choice is normally best made by convenience to the slopes or to accommodation.
List of Ski Resorts
This is a non exhaustive list of mountain resorts in Switzerland. Many ski areas are situated well above 3000 meters (3900 m in Zermatt, 3600 m in Saas Fee for instance) and are snow sure until late in spring or even in summer. As mentioned above these resorts are also great for summer vacations.
- Verbier (ski until end of April)
- Zermatt (summer ski, highest ski area in Europe)
- Saas-Fee (summer ski, best summer ski area in the Alps)
- Saas Grund
- St. Moritz (ski until end of April)
- Laax Flims Falera (The Alpenarena)
- Pizol / Bad Ragaz
- Bosco Gurin