Ski Resorts - 15 min read

6 Best Ski Resorts in Switzerland (Great for ALL Ages & Abilities)

Jeff Clemishaw

Jeff Clemishaw, Updated September 28, 2022

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Switzerland is regarded as the premier ski resort destination in the world. Situated deep within the Alps Mountain range, these ski resorts offer some of the most majestic views on the entire planet, on top of their world-class skiing. From wide-open groomed bowls to endless off-piste terrain, Swiss skiing expertly balances luxury and raw authenticity.

While the Alps may instill images of extreme freeriding expertise in the imagination, skiing in Switzerland is best for intermediates. Beginner nursey runs and intermediate trails comprise most of the resorts. Switzerland is also a prime destination for freestyle skiers and snowboarders, with two resorts being popular locations for Olympic and professional training.

When it comes to off-slope accommodations, Switzerland is unlike any other ski region.  High-end luxury hotels, delicious international Michelin-starred cuisine, and lavish spa treatments saturate the area. If a ritzy, ski vacation is on your travel bucket list, Switzerland offers everything you could ever ask for – and more.

Here’s a list of the six best ski resorts in Switzerland, and what you can expect during your time there.

Best Ski Resorts in Switzerland for Families

1. Zermatt-Matterhorn

Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Doc Searls

Zermatt-Matterhorn is widely known as one of the select ski resort destinations in the entire world. It also happens to be the highest elevation ski resort in the entire Alps region. Expert skiers from all over the world travel to this year-round ski resort, but most of the resort actually caters to confident intermediates. Over 60% of the terrain is marked intermediate, with only 18% being designated for experts. It’s the perfect resort for those seeking a thrilling, Swiss Alps skiing experience, or a luxury family skiing vacation.

Zermatt-Matterhorn is located in the beautiful Alp ski village of Zermatt. Transportation to this town is a lengthy process, as the nearest airports are over three hours away. Your best bet is to fly into either Geneva or Zurich. From there, you can rent a car or take a public train to Tasch, Switzerland. From Tasch, you must take the ski resort transfer service, an electric train railway that runs to Zermatt.

The town and ski resort of Zermatt are entirely car and combustion engine free.  Battery-powered electric vehicles facilitate all of the transportation here. The intent of this is to allow a completely unrestricted view of the Matterhorn glacier, free of any pollution. Visitors often rejoice at the absolute pure quality of air that encompasses the town and ski resort.

Skiing Areas

The skiing at Zermatt takes place on the Matterhorn glacial mountain. There are three separate skiing areas at Zermatt, all linked together by a series of lifts and gondolas. The Sunnegga Rothorn area is the closest to the village, and skiers can find a variety of long, red intermediate runs and a sprinkling of blacks. There is also a beginners area located in Sunnegga, but this is an extremely minuscule part of the entire resort.

The Riffels-Gornergrat-Hohtalli region also contains mostly intermediate runs. This section is linked to Sunnegga-Rothorn but it can also be directly accessed from Zermatt’s village. The final, and main section of Zermatt is the Klein Matterhorn ski area. This area is served by a long chain of gondolas and brings skiers to the highest groomed terrain in the Alps. Skiers and snowboarders can also access the Cervinia ski area in Italy, as this portion of the resort straddles the Switzerland/Italy border. The most advanced skiers can access the summit by hiking, but keep in mind that this section is completely off-piste and reserved for experts.

Pricing & Stats

Adult 1-day lift tickets are priced at CHF 79, or $82 USD. Most visitors buy multi-day passes as they’re on an extended ski vacation. Additionally, Zermatt-Matterhorn is a specialty destination on the Ikon Pass, with pass holders receiving up to 7 days free.

Number of Trails: 145
Number of Lifts: 52
Vertical Feet: 2,279 meters
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 347 cm
Terrain Parks: Yes

2. Verbier

Credit: Powder Hounds

No European ski resort is more iconic than Verbier. Renowned for its expansive off-piste terrain, limitless après ski, and luxury accommodations, Verbier is a sought-after destination for snow enthusiasts and celebrities alike. Verbier is in a connected network of ski areas, called 4 Vallees. This massive region is entirely interconnected by a variety of lifts, cable cars, and gondolas. In total, skiers and riders have access to over 410 km of terrain while visiting 4 Vallees, and this doesn’t even account for the off-piste.

The village of Verbier is quaint and historic, with only around 3,000 permanent year-round residents. At peak times, however, the population in the village can rise to 35,000. Verbier is one of the most popular ski resort destinations in Switzerland mostly because of its proximity to Geneva airport. Just 170 km (105 miles) east of the airport, visitors can travel to Verbier either by airport transfer or train to the nearest village of Le Chable.

Skiing Areas at Verbier

When skiing or snowboarding at Verbier, beginners and intermediates are best off enjoying the smaller area of the 4 Vallees – Bruson. This is a quieter, local area that will have fewer crowds and more open piste to hone their budding skills on. The slopes immediately surrounding the Verbier village are also an excellent spot for beginners. Intermediates are best off tackling the Attelas and La Chaux regions, where they can find numerous intermediate red runs, difficult blue runs, and a handful of black diamond advanced runs for when they want to push their limits.

For expert skiers and riders, Verbier is truly a snow sports playground. In fact, Verbier really isn’t geared towards beginners at all, but they do try to not exclude any ability levels. Nearly the entire resort is covered in challenging black diamond on-piste runs that allow skiers to achieve their maximum speed.

Where Verbier truly shines though, is its off-piste terrain. Verbier is one of the only ski resorts in the world that has a dedicated lift that serves completely ungroomed terrain.  To not disrupt powder lines and to allow mogul fields to form, most of Verbier’s open bowls are left untouched. Generally, there is also ample opportunity to ski in the backcountry at Verbier. Simply hire a guide and get ready to experience the most extreme freeriding you’ll ever face – on par with the terrain tackled in word freeriding competitions.

Pricing & Stats

A Verbier day pass for an adult ranges from CHF 66 to CHF 69 ($68-71). Additionally, five days of access to Verbier is included on the full Epic pass, offered by Vail Resorts. If you own an Epic pass in the United States, it may be well worthwhile to consider a ski trip to this beautiful region.

Number of Trails: 94
Number of Lifts: 82
Vertical Feet: 1830 meters
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 428 cm
Terrain Parks: Yes

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Switzerland

3. Grindelwald

Credit: Grindelwald

Grindelwald is one of the most historic ski resorts in Switzerland. Unlike other resorts on this list, Grindelwald is excellently suited for families and beginner skiers due to its diversity in low intermediate terrain and learning centers. Like most Swiss ski regions, the resort is comprised of three separate ski areas – Grindelwald, Wengen, and Murren. Murren, however, is not linked by ski trails or lifts. Access to this area is provided via a railway.

The nearest airport to Grindelwald is Geneva, 3 hours away via train. Taking the train is the easiest and most efficient way of getting to the ski resort from the airport. Otherwise, you’ll have to rent a car. The village of Grindelwald is the largest in the Jungfrau region and is mostly comprised of hotel-style accommodations. There are a variety of restaurants and eateries located within these hotels, with numerous international cuisine options. This reflects the diversity of visitors to Grindelwald, as it is a favored destination of tourists from all over the globe, and not just for skiing.

The mountains surrounding Grindelwald have a rich history of alpinism. Although, it is only in the past 100 years or so that it has exploded into a ski and snowboard mecca. Outside of the main village, the town is surrounded by classic Swiss chalets in the rolling hills.

Skiing Areas at Grindelwald

Beginners and children will enjoy the Bodmi nursery area of Grindelwald. This is the location of the ski school and is easily accessed by bus from the village. There are two magic carpets located here, and once these have been mastered, skiers can head up to the rest of the mountain.

The core of Grindelwald features a plentiful selection of winding blue and red intermediate runs. One of the most enjoyable runs is the 8 km (5 mile) run that descends from the top of Oberjach down to Grindelwald’s village. Expert skiers should look to enjoy the First region, where unpatrolled freeriding terrain is found. In general, however, most of the terrain at Grindelwald is rated for intermediates.

In addition, Grindelwald has an impressive terrain park for freestyle skiers and snowboarders. This is in the First area and has a selection of rails, jibs, kickers, and even a halfpipe. The Bargelegg Park features its own ski tow so that riders can take endless laps while avoiding the resort’s primary lift lines. There is also a private school for snowboarders looking to become experts in the park.

Pricing & Stats

Adult lift tickets are CHF 54 ($56) during peak season, making it one of the most affordable ski resorts in the Swiss Alps.

Number of Trails: 53
Number of Lifts: 41
Vertical Feet: 1704 meters
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 298 cm
Terrain Parks: Yes

4. St. Moritz

Credit: St. Moritz

St. Mortiz is regarded as Switzerland’s most luxurious ski resort due to its birthplace and history of glamour. Here, the resort sits within view of Corviglia Mountain, the original starting point for Alpine Winter Sports. This mountain has hosted two Winter Olympics, as well as five Alpine Ski World Championships. The wealthy European elite orginally used St. Mortiz as a high-end luxury winter resort.

This history permeates the resort’s culture to this day, with many high-profile aristocrats visiting the resort yearly. In fact, in 1930 the Corviglia Ski Club was charted here by Coco Chanel, Jacques Cartier, and Phillipe de Rothschild, making it an international landmark for the bourgeois.

Getting to St. Mortiz is best done by train after arriving at Zurich airport. Once you get there, you’ll notice that the village is separated into two sections: St. Moritz Dorf and St. Moritz Bad. The latter is known as the “spa” section of the village, where wellness treatments, yoga classes, and personal pampering can be found.

Accommodations and lodging can be disproportionately expensive here due to the clientele that often visits St. Mortiz. There are numerous five-star hotels with a few three-star selections. Unfortunately, the village has undergone “modernization” in recent years, making it lose its original charm.

Skiing Areas at St. Moritz

There are three distinct areas to ski at St. Moritz: Corviglia, Corvatsch, and Diavolezza-Lagalb. First off, Corviglia is the main section of the resort, with mostly higher difficulty blues, and low intermediate reds. There are a few advanced black trails, but this section mostly caters to novice intermediates. In addition, there is a snow park located at the top of the funicular, but this does not rival Laax or Crans-Montana in the slightest.

Secondly, the Corvatsch area is a little more challenging, with high-grade red trails and an enduringly long black diamond that descends down to the village. Skiers and snowboarders looking for the most expert and remote terrain will find it in the Diavolezza-Lagalb area. A rope tow links this region’s two sections, linked by a rope tow. Here, there are plenty of advanced black diamond trails, but the real allure is the off-piste terrain that winds down the Pers and Morteratsch Glaciers.

Diehard skiers and snowboarders seeking a sport-centric resort may need to look elsewhere. St. Moritz mostly functions as a high-end luxury getaway for the wealthy, where the emphasis is on relaxation and indulgence rather than skiing. While the terrain is still made of pristine Alps snow, it may be disappointing to learn that most visitors would rather have a spa day than a powder day.

Pricing & Stats

With the high-class nature of the resort village, the ski slopes themselves are priced accordingly to the rest of the Swiss destinations, regardlessly. Adult lift tickets for one day are CHF 76, or $79 USD.

Number of Trails: 36
Number of Lifts: 24
Vertical Feet: 1337 meters
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 258 cm
Terrain Parks: Yes

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Europe

Best Ski Resort Terrain Parks in Switzerland

5. Flims Laax Falera

Credit: Ski Solutions

Flims Laax Falera is also better known as “Laax”. It’s a state-of-the-art resort that’s known for its high-speed lifts and top-notch resort facilities. Laax is located in the southeastern portion of Switzerland and is most easily accessed by car after flying in. The nearest airport is Zurich, which is located 150 km (93 miles) north. Alternatively, visitors can take a train to Chur or Ilanz, and then a bus to Laax.

Laax is spread across three distinct villages: Flims, Laax, and Falera. Firstly, Flims is the luxurious section of the region, and where many of the higher-end restaurants and bars can be found. Laax itself is both a modern and rustic village. Secondly, Laax Dorf contains the region’s more historic cottages whereas the modernized Laax houses upbeat amenities that cater to the younger snowboarding populations that frequently visit. Finally, Falera is a much more toned-down village in the area, and where visitors are best off going if they’re looking for a relaxing vacation.

Overall, most of the ski resort is located above the treeline. so skiers and riders will primarily enjoy wide-open bowls and steep descents. Furthermore, Laax gets excellent sun coverage across the entire resort so always be sure to pack sunscreen. Nearly 70% of the terrain is top to bottom, meaning skiers and riders can expect insanely long runs and massive verticals. Overall, Laax has a shortage of advanced terrain. While there are of course expert runs, these lack the extreme features that many of the other Alps ski areas have.

Terrain Parks at Laax

Where Laax truly shines, is the terrain park. Laax has four separate snow parks in their Graubünden area, each catered to a different ability level. While the beginner parks are great themselves, the pro-line parks are something to gawk at. Moreover, professional snowboarders from around the globe travel to Laax just to experience their massive snow parks.

With mammoth kickers, intricately complex rails, and Europe’s largest halfpipe – Laax is truly the place to be for aspiring freestyle riders. In fact, a world-class snowboarding competition is hosted here every year. Laax even has an indoor freestyle practice arena, complete with trampolines and foam pits for expert park riders looking to perfect new tricks.

Pricing & Stats

Generally, a peak season lift ticket at Laax will cost CHF 89, or $93 USD. Comparatively, this is an incredibly affordable rate when you look at top resorts in the United States.

Number of Trails: 55
Number of Lifts: 28
Vertical Feet: 1918 meters
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 446 cm
Terrain Parks: Yes

6. Crans-Montana

Credit: Crans-Montana

Crans-Montana sits above the Rhone Valley in Valais, Switzerland. It is home to a diverse selection of varying terrain including glaciers, tree runs, and off-piste backcountry. Multiple ski regions comprise Crans-Montana, just like many swiss resorts. In this case – Crans-sur-Sierre and Montana. Crans-Montana is known for its large selection of intermediate runs and top-of-the-line beginner areas. Additionally, it also features a world-class terrain park that’s next in line after Laax. This resort is open year-round, making it a coveted destination for tourists and professional athletes alike.

Getting to Crans-Montana is much like other Swiss resorts. Firstly, you fly into Geneva, the closest airport. Then, you take a ski resort transfer service to the village. Alternatively, you can travel by a variety of trains. Crans-Montana is a widespread village with varying sectors linked by funiculare rail. Crans is predominantly the center of the resort, and it is in this village that visitors will find the most amount of high-end shopping. Rhone Valley has cheaper accomodations if staying at the hotels in the main village is too expensive.

Beginners can find a large selection of nursery slopes right in the center of town. Generally, this is perfect for novice families that aren’t looking to take a day-long expedition up the slopes. For most of the mountain, Intermeidate runs primarily make up the rest of the resort. Confident skiers should be able to take on most of the mountain and have no issues descending any of the runs. For advanced skiers, the 3000 meters of vertical climbing in the expert area is the best option. Excitingly, this allows unadulterated access to backcountry powder and off-piste runs.

Terrain Parks at Crans-Montana

The highlight of Crans-Montana is its two snow parks. Comparatively, Crans-Montana is ceratintly on par to the massive terrain parks found at Laax. The main park contains over 40 modules and five main lines and is most geared towards advanced and professional riders.

Amateur experienced freestylers are more than welcome here. But furthermore, you’ll also find that this park is a practice spot for many athletes preparing for competition. This park even features a 23-foot superpipe (the only one in the Valais Alps), as well as a mini pipe.

Finally, beginner freestylers looking to progress can use the mini park. Here, there are two main jump lines (M/S and XS/S), in addition to a box and rail beginner line. Additionally, freestylers can even practice off the slopes at the indoor training park – the Alaia Chalet. Professionals use this world-class complex to train competitively.

Pricing & Stats

At Crans-Montana, a one-day lift ticket will cost an adult CHF 69, or $71 USD.

Number of Trails: 41
Number of Lifts: 27
Vertical Feet: 1500 meters
Avg. Annual Snowfall: 265 cm
Terrain Parks: Yes

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