Switzerland is one of Europe’s most popular ski destinations, and you’ll find a mixture of traditional towns and glamorous, luxury resorts. If you’re trying to choose a ski resort in Switzerland, then here are a few destinations to consider.
The name St Moritz is synonymous with glitz and glamour, and it certainly attracts the famous and well-heeled to its slopes. However, many people forget that it’s simply a great place to ski, with high snow reliability, and lots of sunshine. There are 350km of pistes, most of which suit intermediates and more advanced skiers, although non-skiers will also find plenty to enjoy in the town.
While you don’t have to have a huge budget to ski in St Moritz, there are certainly some amazing 5-star hotels if you want pure luxury. Hotel Kulm is just a 5-minute walk from the slopes, and has a traditional, grand atmosphere. The hotel boasts incredible facilities, from the free daily childcare for over twos, to the huge spa with salt grotto, steam bath, and Finnish saunas. There’s an on-site ice skating rink, ski room, and choice of restaurants, including The K which serves elaborate six course meals in the evening.
St Moritz is made up of three separate villages, and it’s not always easy to get between them, so make sure you know exactly where your hotel is located. There’s a lively après ski scene throughout the resort, with the mountainside bars always full of skiers, and the valley full of bars and clubs that open until late. There’s also a real variety of places, including cosy, inexpensive pubs, and chic bars.
Sitting in the shadow of the Matterhorn, Zermatt is a traditional Alpine town that attracts experienced skiers. Intermediate and advanced skiers will be most at home here, with a varied terrain, and spectacular guided, off-piste skiing. However, if you do have a beginner in your group, there are a few non-threatening slopes where they can get in some practice. The resort has seen lots of investment in recent years, with new lifts and moving carpets installed.
This car-free resort has a long season, with reliable snow from the end of November until late April. The ski pass is relatively expensive, but gives you access to 183km of pistes, and can be combined with a pass to the family friendly ski area of Wolli. Zermatt is about two miles long, and along the main street of Bahnhofstrasse, you’ll find an excellent variety of shops, restaurants, and bars, and a lively atmosphere.
There’s a large number of cosy chalets in Zermatt, sleeping groups of up to 14. These are ideal for families and groups of friends, and have often have access to facilities such as boot rooms and saunas. If you are looking for luxury, then the 5-star Grand Hotel Zermatterhof is set in the centre of town, offering half board accommodation, with facilities including an indoor pool, spa area, lounges, and bars.
The laidback resort of Villars is excellent for a first ski holiday, or for those who want to improve their skills. With 100km of pistes, both wooded and open, and a great choice of ski schools, you’re bound to return from your trip feeling more confident. However, Villars isn’t just for beginners. There’s quite a bit of choice for intermediate skiers, and a few challenges for the more advanced. The choice of slopes, coupled with the location close to Geneva Airport, means it’s a popular resort for short breaks.
Like many ski resorts in Switzerland, Villars can be expensive, but the ski passes do offer access to a wide area so you get your money’s worth. There are many luxury hotels in Villars, most of which have 4 or 5-stars. The Royalp Hotel & Spa is a 4.5-star hotel in a traditional, wooden Alpine style. Featuring ski-in/ski-out access, this spectacular hotel has a spa with sauna and steam room, a games room, library, and private cinema, and is just a short ride away on the cog railway from the town centre.
The town of Villars is charming and old-fashioned, with a large number of shops selling everything from antiques to jewellery. There are several restaurants and bars mountainside, or you can take a stroll into town to enjoy a huge range of international cuisine, which, of course, includes fondue restaurants.