10 Winter Destinations in Switzerland for the Ski Enthusiast
Updated: Jan 21, 2022
As a winter destination, Switzerland is home to some of the most beautiful ski spots in the world. From quaint mountain villages and rich cultures to dramatic peaks and spectacular snow conditions, here are some of Switzerland's best ski destinations to include on your winter bucketlist.
Located at the foot of the Matterhorn is the town of Zermatt. With 54 mountain railways and lifts as well as 360 kilometers of pistes, it's no surprised that the region where Zermatt is located in was dubbed "Matterhorn glacier paradise" and also Europe's largest and highest lying summer skiing region. The rest area of Zermatt has maintained its original character as a no-vehicle zone and offers almost limitless travel possibilities.
In winter, the snow-assured ski region offers 360 km of pistes in three varied ski areas: the Sunnegga-Rothorn, Gornergrat-Stockhorn, Schwarzsee and Matterhorn glacier paradise. Those in search of something different can try their hand at paragliding or off-piste heli-skiing accompanied by an experienced mountain guide.
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. 154 years ago, the hotelier Johannes Badrutt made a bold bet with his English summer guests, promising them mild Engadine sunshine in mid-winter. Badrutt won the bet and St. Moritz went on to become one of the world's most exceptional winter sports resorts.
For winter sports enthusiasts there are 350 kilometres of pistes with a state-of-the-art infrastructure in the surrounding area. St. Moritz's 'house mountain', the Corviglia, boasts the steepest start slope in Switzerland with the Piz Nair Wall's 100 per cent vertiginous drop. Toboggan riders plunge down the icy run which is one of the oldest natural ice bob runs in the world. For winter hikers there are 150 km of winter walking trails and for cross-country skiers there is a track network of about 200 km. The snowboard fun park, curling and altitude training are just some of the other winter sports facilities.
The Eiger village of Grindelwald in the Bernese Oberland lies embedded in a welcoming and green hollow, surrounded by a commanding mountainscape with the Eiger north face and the Wetterhorn. This mountainscape and the numerous lookout points and activities make Grindelwald one of the most popular and cosmopolitan holiday and excursion destinations in Switzerland, and the largest ski resort in the Jungfrau region.
The two ski regions of First and Kleine Scheidegg – Männlichen – Wengen offer 160 kilometres of pistes with around 30 lifts reaching up to an altitude of 2500 m. The Schilthorn near Mürren, also part of the Jungfrau region ski arena, even reaches 2971 metres. But the most spectacular piste of the region is without doubt the Lauberhorn piste near Wengen, popularised by the World Cup circus.
Up until the 14th century there was only one community in the Saas Valley: Saas. Four villages arose out of Saas - of those four Saas Fee, also known as "The Pearl of the Alps", is the most renowned; 13 four thousand meter peaks surround the glacier village, which is located at an altitude of 1800 meters above sea level. Saas Valley is distinguished by 350 kilometers of thematic and hiking trails as well as special offerings for families and children. The ski region has 150 kilometers of pistes of all levels of difficulty, which are considered to be snow-assured.
With its 22 lifts and 100 km of prepared pistes, the winter ski region of Saas Fee forms the heart of the entire ski region. In addition to Saas-Fee, there is a further ski area in the nearby region of Kreuzboden-Hochsaas above Saas-Grund. Twenty kilometres of winter walking trails and an 8-km-long cross-country ski trail are provided for non-Alpine skiers. Various toboggan runs, such as the 11-km-long toboggan run from Kreuzboden to Saas-Grund offer alternatives to skiing.
Engelberg is not just a winter resort – it’s a winter paradise. The town offers such a variety of things to do that you will be tempted to extend your stay long enough to try everything. The two sides of the valley couldn’t be more different and they provide pure enjoyment to both athletes and those who like to take it slower.
Engelberg: the largest - and as the locals like to boast – probably also the most beautiful ski area in central Switzerland. Spread over an altitude of 2000 meters, there is room for snowboarding, skiing and sledding, a varied winter program to make your holiday exciting. The long, snowy winter begins as early as October and lasts into May. The 35 km of cross-country ski trails meandering through the lovely Engelberg area make cross-country skiing a fantastic experience!
Davos in Grisons is a place of superlatives: this holiday destination with international ambience is the largest resort in the Alps for mountain holidays, sport and conferences, at 1560 m the highest town in the Alps and a high-altitude health resort with a long tradition.
Davos is a winter sports metropolis for skiing and snowboarding fans from all over the world. At altitudes between 1124 and 2844 m, guests will find 58 ski lifts, 300 km of slopes, 100 km of cross-country ski tracks, over 150km snowshoe and winter hiking trails, two artificial ice rinks with ice hockey, ice skating and curling fields are available. And no fewer than eight sledging runs to have fun on!
The tradition-rich Grisons holiday resort of Arosa is located at the end of the romantic Schanfigg Valley at an altitude of about 1800 metres above sea level. With its impressive range of mountain peaks all around, Arosa Lenzerheide is just as attractive for extended hiking tours in summer as it is in winter, offering a great variety of snow sport activities. Skiers and snowboarders can choose from 225 km of slopes with guaranteed snow in the winter sport region of Arosa Lenzerheide, making it the largest interconnected skiing region of Graubünden. Thanks to the cable car joining the two resorts, the visitors can get from the Arosa Hörnli to the Lenzerheide Urdenfürggli in just 3 minutes.
The modern Urden cable car can now also be used by pedestrians who will be able to enjoy a total of 140 km of well-maintained hiking and walking trails. Two snow parks and a fun slope await the freestylers for some fantastic jibbing. Those who love snowshoe hiking, (night) sledding, cross-country skiing, curling and Bavarian curling will also find everything their hearts desire in Arosa Lenzerheide.
These twin towns have much to offer, including an impressive view of the chain of mountain peaks from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc and a particularly wide programme of activities all year round. The ski slopes stretch from the high plateau up to the Plaine Morte Glacier at 3000 m. Directly beyond the edge of the forest the pistes are broad and open, ideal for beginners and deep-snow skiers.
In Winter the golf courses become a paradise for cross-country skiers and hikers. In addition to classic cross-country ski trails, there is also an extra piste especially for skaters.
Verbier, the most cosmopolitan holiday resort in Valais, is situated on a sunny plateau and offers a unique panoramic view of the Mont-Blanc and the Combins massif.
In winter, the extraordinary skiing region offers limitless pleasure for advanced skiers from all over the world as well as for beginners.
As soon as the first snow falls, Verbier becomes a mecca for winter sports enthusiasts. The "4 Valleys" ski zone − with no less than 410 km of ski runs and over 89 ski lifts – embraces five resorts: Verbier, Nendaz, Veysonnaz, Thyon and La Tzoumaz. A cable car takes skiers to the summit of Mont-Fort (altitude: 3330 m), from where the descent is one of the most superb "black runs" in the Alps.
The Romans were among the first to recognise the healing properties of the hot springs of Leukerbad. This thermal spa resort lies well protected in a Valais side valley and is now a popular destination for wellness and sports’ enthusiasts.
Every day 3.9 million litres of hot water gush from 65 thermal springs in the mountain spa resort of Leukerbad. These thermal springs have led to the development of tourism in Leukerbad and made it one of the biggest spa and wellness resorts in Switzerland. Apart from a medical rehabilitation centre, its attractions now include numerous public thermal baths.
Now that you have a few destinations to visit for a ski vacation, here are some need to know to help with your planning.
When to go skiing in Switzerland
The winter ski season in Switzerland typically runs from December to April, with the slopes buzzing with skiers and boarders until Easter. Prices skyrocket during school holidays, so avoid the crush and visit during the shoulder seasons (early December, January and March) for quieter pistes, slightly cheaper rooms and a greater choice of accommodation.
Find your slope
Ski runs are colour coded according to difficulty:
Blue Easy, well-groomed runs that are suitable for beginners.
Red Intermediate runs that are groomed but often steeper and narrower than blue runs.
Black For expert skiers with polished technique and skills. They are mostly steep and not always groomed, and they may have moguls and vertical drops.
If you need someone to take care of all the logistic and planning then look no further than Sedunia Travel. In partnership with Swiss Tourism, Sedunia Travel can assist you with the planning and bookings! You can always opt for their on-ground packages and customise it to include any one of these ski destination for winter dream holiday on the Alps!