A lot has changed in the fast-paced world of ski resorts since we published our list of Top 10 Ski Destinations a couple of years back. Since then, we have enjoyed reviewing your comments and suggestions, and with the snow clouds of the new winter season looming large on the horizon, there’s no better time to revisit our Top 10… based on your picks!
There’s a reason why Val d’Isere, at 1,850 meters, continues to be the top choice of British skiers each winter. It offers the perfect blend of challenging ski terrain for advanced skiers and learner-friendly beginners zones for those new to the snow. The resort center is lined with high-end shops, lively après-ski bars and fantastic restaurants, all housed within beautiful, stone-clad buildings.
Italian ski resorts are always authentic, traditional and charming, and Campiglio, at 1,550 meters, is no different. The car-free resort huddles on the valley floor and the center is stylish with several chic shops. The ski area spreads over 150 kilometers, and there have been several lift upgrades over recent years, making it quick and easy for you to cover a considerable distance on skis each day.
Rebranded back in 2011 to recognize the differences between its more blingy neighbor higher up the valley, Courchevel 1650 is now an attractive, unpretentious resort with a stack of new facilities, including Aquamotion, a huge center for water sports that opened in December 2015. And let’s not forget: On your doorstep you’ll find the largest linked ski area in the world. The 600 kilometers of the 3 Valleys network never disappoint.
The diversity on offer in Chamonix these days makes it impossible to review the whole resort as one destination. At 950 meters, Les Houches is one of the closest resorts to Geneva Airport and offers kilometer after kilometer of tree-lined skiing, making it the perfect destination for families and beginners. The resort center has a village feel and is an outstanding spot from which to take in the incredible views.
While the ski area between Klosters (at 1,179 meters) and Davos offers lots to explore, Klosters is without doubt the more attractive base for your ski holiday. The village center is charming and affluent, but with a relaxed vibe, while the trails are popular with advanced skiers enjoying an abundance of easily accessible off-piste in the area.
There’s one thing that makes these two interconnected resorts stand out, and it may not be for everyone. Crans, at 1,500 meters, and its neighbor Montana are not villages; although right on the edge of a great ski area, they’re most definitely towns with a very urban feel. This is a very sunny spot in which to base yourself and there’s varied terrain to suit all ability levels.
Seasoned skiers, this one’s for you. At 1,563 meters, Selva serves up challenging ski terrain on both sides of a valley, accessed by both gondolas and quick chair lifts. The village center is packed with charm and character and there’s also a collection of well-maintained beginner slopes and progressive tree-lined runs enjoyed by families.
A resort that’s been quietly minding its own business for years, Les Gets, at 1,200 meters, is now developing into a chic, family-orientated resort that offers quick and easy access to the 650-kilometer Portes du Soleil ski area. Several piste-side restaurants offer views of Mont Blanc so it’s easy to find a sunny spot on which to enjoy an après tipple or two.
We love La Rosière, at 1,850 meters, not just because of its high elevation and snow certainty. The ski area offers two great experiences for the price of one when you cross over the Petit St Bernard pass into Italy. Wide pistes descend for kilometers into La Thuile over the border and getting back is no hassle at all. The main village is quiet but well stocked, and the views are exceptional.
No list of top 10 ski resorts is complete without mentioning Norway and the town of Geilo, at 800 meters. It is one of the country’s most popular resorts. It’s a small, well-equipped town that’s currently investing heavily in new runs, new lifts and new facilities. Between January and April you can also ski until 8pm on flood-lit slopes.
Alex Narracott is founder of Much Better Adventures, a European booking platform. He has been a passionate skier for many years.