Where to find the best Skiing in the Alps
Ski resorts easily accessible from the airport.
There are few things like standing high up on a mountain in the Alps, surrounded by craggy summits in all directions, breathing the clear air into your lungs and then turning your ski tips downward to enjoy miles of fantastic skiing all at once. And when you get to the bottom of the valley, just hop on a lift to the next peak and repeat the process again until your legs get tired and you need to grab a seat on an outdoor terrace with a drink.
As the name suggests, alpine skiing as we know it today was originally born in the Alps, and it shows, as skiing and mountain life are deeply rooted in many of the classic resorts of this mountain range. It’s a life that has been passed down through generations of families running hotels, restaurants and stores, creating a culture that is both authentic and hospitable.
Flight to: Geneva
French Chamonix, called the capital of the Alps by many, lies in a narrow valley surrounded by continental Europe’s highest mountains, with Mont Blanc at the top. The skiing is spread across four different ski systems and is a bit difficult, but for experienced skiers, Chamonix offers one of the most powerful skiing experiences in the world. Don’t miss a cable car ride up to Aiguille du Midi at 12,474 feet, a hair-raising experience that’s definitely not for someone afraid of heights! From up there, you can enjoy views across the valley and up toward Mont Blanc before skiing through a sparkling glacial landscape (with a mountain guide, of course).
At one time, Verbier was made famous to Swedish cinema audiences as Kirchberg in the popular classic movie Sällskapsresan 2 – Snowroller. Now, similarly, Verbier is one of the world’s best ski resorts, located at one end of the large 4 Vallées area that offers skiing for all tastes and levels of difficulty. The resort’s extensive and challenging off-piste skiing is well known, but there are also endless excellent slopes and culinary experiences. And when the ski day is over, the party in the village gets started and doesn’t stop until the early hours.
The picturesque village of Zermatt lies at the end of a narrow valley that ends with perhaps the most famous mountain silhouette in the world: the Matterhorn. Here, the roads are free of cars, with small electric vehicles instead, further adding to the resort’s exclusive feel. The skiing is among the best in the Alps, with everything from endless pistes in perfect condition (how do you feel about skiing 6,560 feet in one run without stopping?) to magnificent off-piste skiing in the shadow of around 20 13,100-foot peaks.
Flight to: Bologna
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Skiing doesn’t get much more beautiful than in the heart of the Dolomites at the future Olympic venue of Cortina. You’ll enjoy uninhibited sunny corduroy slopes here (freshly groomed pistes resembling corduroy) among the most jagged mountains in the Alps. Don’t miss the all-day Sella Ronda tour that takes you through four different mountain passes—and past countless mountain restaurants too! At the end of the ski day, soak up some afternoon sun with an Aperol Spritz as you plan the evening’s gastronomic adventure.
Flight to: Milan
The gem of the Valle d’Aosta is located on the edge of the vast Monterosa Ski system in the Monte Rosa mountain range, as its name suggests. The skiing here offers rolling slopes in all directions. And if you have a passion for off-piste skiing, you really should try the runs down to the legendary neighboring town of Alagna. But first and foremost, Champoluc is known for its numerous and fantastic mountain inns that seem to be competing to serve the best delicacies. A visit to the classic La Grange is a must!
Flight to: Innsbruck
St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria
The vast Arlberg region is the birthplace of modern skiing. It was here, more specifically in the small village of Stuben, that the sport we love took shape and the technique of parallel skiing was developed and spread around the world. In the hundred years since, the ski area has grown to become one of the largest in the world. There is something for just about every type of skier and ability, whether you prefer wide carving pistes or challenging powder skiing. And when you need to rest your legs, the rustic Austrian cuisine will re-energize you for a few more laps. Don’t miss the full-on après-ski at the MooserWirt to end the day!
Flight to: Zürich
The little town of Engelberg lived a quiet life for a long time until Swedish off-piste enthusiasts “discovered” the resort in the late 1990s and started spreading the word about it in international ski media. This is hardly surprising, because the north-facing mountain Titlis offers one of the largest accumulated snowfalls in the Alps every winter and off-piste terrain that dreams are made of—as long as you are a reasonably advanced skier, that is. Down in the valley, the Swedish-owned Ski Lodge Engelberg (the best ski hotel in the world, in the author’s opinion) is the hub of the village with both a lively après-ski and excellent dining at Brasserie Konrad.
Text by Tobias Liljeroth