A popular resort, Aletsch Arena is great for families as it has plenty of slopes for beginners and intermediates. Dedicated kids’ areas and fun parks make it easy for parents, for experienced skiers, there’s a high-speed course on Fiescheralp and a timed giant slalom course on Bettmeralp. Located within the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Alps, the mountain villages of Riederalp, Bettmeralp and Fiescheralp can be accessed by cable car.
Chamonix caters for skiers of all levels of experience. It’s made up of five different ski areas, two of which are linked together with the rest separated along the length of the valley. The cable car takes skiers to heights of 3842m on the Mont Blanc massif and Vallée Blanche. Set amid a backdrop of spectacular scenery, Chamonix boasts a lively après ski scene. It’s a popular year-round resort with something for everyone. Did you know it hosted the Winter Olympics in 1924?
Nestling in the popular Les Portes du Soleil skiing area, Champéry oozes traditional charm and is one of Switzerland’s oldest tourist destinations – and the prettiest, with its chalets, carved balconies and typical roofs, shops and bars. There are many cable cars and chair-lifts here, a snow park for freestylers, and plenty of slopes to suit winter sports enthusiasts of all levels of experience. The village has an indoor ice rink and a curling hall which are open all year round.
Verbier, in southwest Switzerland, is bordered by France to the west and Italy to the south. It’s an ideal starting point for first-time skiers and snowboarders – and perfect for children too, thanks to a dedicated area for young ones. For skiers looking for more challenging slopes, there are plenty of options. You can take a cable car from Verbier to the summit of Mont Fort for fabulous views of the Matterhorn, Grand Combin and Mont Blanc.
This popular resort offers three ski areas on its doorstep – Arêches-Beaufort, Les Contamines and Les Saisies. Indeed, with one of the most plentiful annual snowfalls in the entire Alps, Arêches-Beaufort has a stunning setting, overlooked by the majestic Mont Blanc. Les Saisies is very much a family resort while Les Contamines provides excellent skiing for all levels of experience amid a backdrop of panoramic views of the Mont Blanc and Beaufortain mountain ranges.
Located in one of the world’s largest lift-linked ski areas, the Three Valleys, Courchevel covers an impressive 600km of slopes. It comprises several villages, each one with its own unique vibe and traditional charm. Courchevel isn’t the cheapest option and its popularity with the jet set means there are many of high-end hotels – and no wonder, it’s a truly beautiful resort with outstanding facilities.
Nestling at the end of the Tarentaise Valley, Val d’Isère offers great skiing and après ski, making it an excellent choice. Part of the Espace Killy ski area (300km of pistes), it has outstanding facilities and a friendly atmosphere so it’s perfect for families and groups of friends. Again, it has plenty of choice for skiers of all abilities and is a great option for a first skiing holiday.
This is the highest ski resort in Europe, so if you’re looking to go skiing early December or late April you don’t need to worry about a lack of snow. It’s also part of the Three Valleys ski area so you’ll find plenty of variety here for beginners, intermediates and experienced skiers. If you want to escape the more crowded areas you should head for Orelle and the Pointe de la Masse, both easy to get to from Val Thorens.