At one time or another all skiers dream of a vacation to the Swiss Alps where the pristine snow and majestic mountains are legendary, and where a unique transit system of trains, gondolas and cable cars allow downhill enthusiasts to discover ski pistes that cross into neighboring countries.
Home to more than 350 ski resorts along with 7,122 kilometers of slopes served by 1,859 ski lifts, Switzerland is a skier’s utopia. The Swiss Alps run across the central-south part of Switzerland, taking up about 60 percent of the country’s area, and powder hounds flock here each winter in order to test their mettle of some of the world’s most challenging terrain.
Served by such major airports as Geneva (GVA) & Zurich (ZRH), getting to Switzerland is relatively easy, and many Swiss ski resorts, such as iconic Zermatt, can be reached directly via one of the most efficient rail systems in the world. Zermatt lies at the foot of the towering Matterhorn, which soars to an astounding 14,692 feet. This vacation destination is a car-free zone, which has preserved its original character and offers nearly unlimited possibilities as far as excursions are concerned. The ski region encompasses 54 mountain railways and lifts as well as 360 kilometers of pistes. The region called “Matterhorn glacier paradise” is Europe’s largest and highest lying summer skiing region.
St. Moritz is more than just a holiday resort. It was also the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism in 1864 and has twice hosted the Winter Olympics. There are 350 kilometers of pistes with a state-of-the-art infrastructure in the surrounding area. St. Moritz’s Corviglia boasts the steepest start slope in Switzerland with the Piz Nair Wall’s 100% vertiginous drop. Toboggan riders plunge down the icy run which is one of the oldest natural ice bob runs in the world.
Although not as widely known or populated as some of the country’s major ski resorts, Pizol nonetheless offers a very enjoyable skiing experience. Every winter sports enthusiast will find their place on 23 different slopes, in the Riderpark Pizol and other attractions. Pizol is diverse enough for all levels of skiers. Located in a quiet Walser Village away from everyone else, Vals is an extremely quiet but beautiful region. As one of the highest ski areas in Graubünden at an altitude of 3,000 meters, it is also snow sure. One eight-person gondola and four drag lifts will bring you to a ski area with 25 kilometers of ski slopes.
Skiers can choose from a wide array of accommodations. The Nightfall Group, a luxury travel and concierge company, curates a picture perfect getaway for guests with VIP offerings, from opulent estates to luxury concierge services including private chefs, spa treatments and more. Ski in one of the most sought after locations between the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc mountains with a stay at The Kristina Villa, a Swiss chalet with 10,000 square feet, timber ceilings, cozy furs, heated pool and jacuzzi. Cozy next to a fireplace after a long day of skiing. For stunning views of the Swiss Alps, look no further than The Zermatt Villa with a spacious layout of six stories, boasting floor-to-ceiling windows and a glass roof to optimize the viewing experience. Throughout the villa guests can enjoy a private gym, full treatment spa, wine cellar, Swedish sauna, indoor and outdoor jacuzzi, and a curated art collection.
Swiss Deluxe Hotels, an organization comprised of 39 of the most prestigious 5-star hotels in Switzerland, offers the perfect properties for guests to experience Swiss skiing at its finest. The Tschuggen Grand Hotel is known for its very own Tschuggen Express, a private gondola that takes guests of the hotel directly from the hotel up the mountain to the slopes. There is also a ski shop on-site at the hotel. The Arosa-Lenzerheide region provides access to 140 miles of slopes, making it the largest interconnected skiing region of Graubünden.
Guests of The Chedi Andermatt have access to about 110 miles of ski slopes. In particular, the SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun-Disentis is considered an Eldorado for advanced skiers, but there are a number of options for beginners as well. To help navigate the slopes and area, The Chedi Andermatt features a special Ski Butler to give tips on the ski area, hire equipment and drive guests to the Nätschen and Gemsstock valley stations and back again. The Gstaad Palace is considered one of the most famous ski resort hotels in Switzerland. The property is located close to the slopes in the Gstaad ski area, which has everything winter sports fans could want. For the accomplished skier, there’s the fabled black ‘Tiger Run’ piste on the Wasserngrat, and at the other end of the scale are the blue runs that trace the soft inclines of the Eggli.
It’s never too early to start planning your ski vacation, as people begin to reserve rooms at popular resorts shortly after the end of the summer. Surely the Rocky Mountains, New England and other notable American ski regions provide a grand skiing experience. However, Switzerland offers a special allure all its own.