It’s here! The time of year when Britons start dreaming about snow fall, black runs, slope heights, lift selfies and après ski that goes on all night.
The ski season is here and we’ve been through our data* to find the top 10 most popular ski resorts. It seems Austria and France are the hot spots but with entries from Switzerland and Bulgaria there’s sure to be the perfect resort to suit your needs.
1. Chamonix, France
Chamonix takes the top spot and it’s no surprise why. With Mont Blanc as its backdrop, the resort hosted its first Winter Olympics in 1924 and is the number one ski resort in the Alps. If ‘le grand ski’ isn’t your thing, you’ll find plenty of spa hotels to unwind in and a great après-ski scene full of boot-stomping party-goers ready to dance the night away.
Resort height: 1035m. Top lift: 3842m.
Top Hotel Pick: Grand Hotel des Alpes
Grand Hotel des Alpes has been a symbol of elegance and fine hospitality in the centre of Chamonix since 1840. Skiers can make use of the ski-room, shoe-dryer and instructor service, as well as purchase lift passes direct from the hotel in order to maximise time on Chamonix’s famed slopes.
A number of individually decorated rooms are available, ranging from comfortable double rooms to a 52 square-metre suite, which features a sunken Jacuzzi.
2. Val d’Isere & Tignes
Val d’Isere and the neighbouring ski resort of Tignes form the excellent Espace Killy ski area. A skier’s paradise, the resort Val d’Isere enjoys a long season with snow-sure slopes from November to April boasts 300km of pistes and 94 lifts, which carry 149,425 skiers per hour, ensuring that bottom-of-the-hill queues are kept to a minimum.
Considering the formidable height of the lifts and the breadth of the mountains, you’re guaranteed to spend more time shoop-shooping your way down than making the ascent back up.
Resort Height: 1850m. Top Lift: 3400m.
Top Hotel Pick: L’Aigle des Neiges
Perched at a height of 1850 metres, in the very heart of Val d’Isere’s old town, the l’Aigle des Neiges enjoys one of the sweetest locations in the entire Alps. After extensive renovations, the hotel reopened in December 2015 and is the perfect spot for a stylish getaway, making full use of the slopes, spa and joie de vivre of Alpine culture.
There are three cosy and unique restaurant spaces to choose from which feature accompaniments such as live music and live cooking demonstrations at your table.
3. Kitzbühel, Austria
Kitzbühel is known for its heart stopping Hahnenkemm downhill, one of the most terrifying on the World Cup series that sees skiers reaching speeds of 85mph. However don’t be intimidated as Kitzbühel has tens of kilometres of intermediate slopes that allow fun for all the family. Despite the glitzy clientele, Kitzbühel is surprisingly budget friendly and easily reached via Munich airport.
Resort Height 800m. Highest Lift: 2000m.
Top Hotel Pick: A-ROSA Kitzbühel
The castle-like hotel is located in the picturesque Tyrolean Mountains and boasts exceptional views of the Hahnenkamm peak. The hotel’s 3,000-square-metre SPA-ROSA offers serenity and relaxation after a long day on the slopes, featuring heated indoor and outdoor pools, seven themed saunas and steam rooms, 16 treatment rooms and a rest area complete with waterbeds.
The first entry on our list from Switzerland, Zermatt is postcard-perfect! The resort boasts incredible views of the Matterhorn is also surrounded by 38 peaks all above 4000 metres and its top station sits at around 3820m. Repeatedly voted as one of the most expensive resorts in the world, it’s not considered a budget location. However, for young families the fact that under ten’s ski for free, coupled with a favorable exchange rate could make this the ski trip of a life time.
Resort Height: 1620m. Top Lift: 3883m.
Top Hotel Pick: Aristella Swiss Flair
The cosy Aristella hotel is steeped in Swiss tradition with dedicated multi-lingual hosts who are keen to share their local knowledge and ensure the comfort and smooth running of your stay. The hotel is located directly in the bustling town, close to the station and shops. There is also a ski rental store directly opposite, where you can get kitted out for the mountain.
5. Mayrhofen, Austria
Mayrhofen is the chameleon resort, where the ultra-hip exists seamlessly alongside the old school. The Ahorn and Penken Mountains make up its main ski areas with true Austrian hospitality and music bursting from every ski hut down the mountain. Before now, the resort was a little tricky to navigate, but with the opening of the brand-spanking new Penken Gondola in December 2015 it’s easier and quicker to avoid the queues at the bottom of the mountain.
Resort Height: 630m. Top Lift: 2500m.
Top Hotel Pick: Alpin Lodge Das Zillergrund
Alpin Lodge Das Zillergrund has everything a dedicated skier could want, from a fabulous spa, gourmet restaurant and stylish interiors to panoramic views of the Zillertal National Park. One of the greatest traits of this hotel is that although it’s a luxury establishment in a prime location, it hasn’t lost the appeal of being an intimate family owned hotel, now in its fifth generation.
Courchevel is located at one end of the world’s largest lift-linked ski areas, the Trois Vallées, which has 600km of pistes and over 170 lifts. Courchevel is made up of four individual villages and thanks to its north-facing aspect it enjoys some of the best snow in the area. Corchevel’s 1850 village, is by far the swankiest place in the Alps with three hotels holding ‘palace’ status, 16 hotels with five stars and five restaurants awarded two Michelin stars.
Resort Height: 1747m. Top lift: 2740m.
Top Hotel Pick: Hôtel de Charme Les Airelles
Hôtel de Charme Les Airelles combines grandeur with tradition as a picture-perfect ski chalet, nestled in the wooded Jardin Alpin in Courchevel 1850. This luxury mountain hotel boasts a slope-side location and guests can enjoy use of the ski room, ski technician and ski valet service to maximise their time on the slopes.
Les Airelles provides après-ski at its finest, with a lounge, library, fireplaces and a selection of the finest liqueurs and rarest spirits. Three restaurants operate under the renowned French chef Pierre Gagnaire, boasting traditional and regional specialities.
7. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomiti – Italy
Cortina is a gem for skiing and with great slopes and jaw dropping scenery, there’s plenty to see and do. There’s fabulous shopping and an array of restaurants, so plenty to distract from the slopes, which works favorably in keeping queues down and the slopes clear. Cortina is a really friendly resort and is known for being a great place to bring your children.
Resort Height: 1224m. Highest Slope: 2990m.
Top Hotel Pick: Cristallo Spa & Golf
Cristallo Spa & Golf is the only five-star hotel in the picturesque Dolomites mountain range, ideally located just two hours from Venice. Guests can expect hand-painted wall panels, embroidered carpets and silk bedcovers combined with state-of-the-art technology, hydro-massage Jacuzzi bathtubs and breathtaking mountain or valley views from their guest rooms, as well as access to an impressive 450 ski lifts and 1,200 kilometres of ski runs.
8. St. Anton
St. Anton not only has great snow and an extensive lift system, but the town is both attractive and chic offering stylish hotels, bars and restaurants. Located within an hour of three major international airports and with a railway station in the heart of the town, it’s considered one of the more accessible resorts. Once you’re there the resort is small enough to navigate on foot and there are many great public facilities such as free buses and the Arlberg Centre for wellness and communication.
Resort Height: 1300m. Top lift: 2810m.
Top Hotel Pick: St. Antoner Hof
St Antoner Hof is a hotel with flair. Spacious and luxurious with distinctive traditional Tyrolean features, the hotel has design elements that make it stand out from the crowd. From colour-popping furniture mixed with ancient wood and open fires in every room, St Antoner Hof is a unique hotel that packs a punch. The hotel’s rules for guests? Don’t be a snob and just have fun.
Bulgaria’s best ski mountain Bansko has hosted prestigious events such as the World Cup Women’s Downhill and its fast and modern lift system make it highly user-friendly. The town of Bansko is located at the bottom of the mountain and although a little way from the gondolas, it’s very picturesque with a great selection of value-for-money hotels.
Resort Height: 980m. Top Lift: 2560m.
Top Hotel Pick: Kempinski Bansko
An oasis of calm, comfort and luxury tranquility set in the UNESCO World Heritage Pirin Mountains, the Kempinski hotel is one of the most modern resorts in the Balkans. The rooms are decorated in the Alpine style and the resort boasts award winning spa facilities to kick back and relax in.
10. Zell am See
Zell am See is a quaint Austrian town next to Lake Zell, and largely boosts its ski appeal by having the Kaprun’s Glacier nearby. The slopes are sunny and with wooded areas that keep the terrain varied, they also offer charming views down to the lake below. In the summer, the resort is also popular as a hiking destination and the lake is used for a variety of watersports.
Resort Height: 760m. Top Lift: 1950m.
Top Hotel Pick: Grand Hotel Zell am See
Directly on the lake and the Grande Dame of Swiss hotels, the Grand Hotel Zell am See is expert at providing luxury, comfort and surrounding you with traditional charm. Expect incredible views and gourmet cuisine close to all the action that Zell am See has to offer.
Did we miss your favourite ski resort? Let us know your recommendations in the notes below.
*based on searches made on trivago between 01.12.2014 – 30.05.15