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Highest Ski Resorts

Europe is home to some of the world's best ski resorts. Some of which offer really good off-piste entertainment and parties and others offering some of the best family atmospheres.
There are various reasons why we choose certain resorts over others as some of their respective qualities may attract and influence our decision making. For visitors looking for great snow reliability and excellent piste conditions for an enjoyable ski experience, one of the many factors to consider will be to opt for resorts sitting at high altitudes and Europe does have some of the highest ski resorts in the world. Due to their position higher up on the mountain, they are more likely to offer a great skiing experience where skiers can enjoy the slopes and winter sports all day long as there is always the possibility of receiving fresh snow; and by the way, let’s not forget about the added bonus of the breathtaking scenery of the peaks and glaciers. If you want guaranteed snow, it's best to visit a ski resort that sits around 3000m or higher. If not for the lack of scenery in these mountainous regions but rather because most have excellent facilities with strong lifts capable of carrying skiers up just about any mountain peak they choose! As soon as you get off of your ski lift and into the high altitude, everything changes. These areas have the best arguably the best snow and awe-inspiring views. There’s nothing like high-altitude skiing to take your breath away. If you crave exhilarating adventures like getting lost in the breathtaking views while skiing down the mountain slope, then you should certainly consider high altitude ski resorts for your next ski holiday. They very often may have a glacier within the ski terrain, which has the added advantage of them being open all year round. We've put together an informative list of a number of high altitude ski resorts in a couple of European countries as one can find several high-quality options within this area. Before making a decision, we always recommend that doing a little bit of research into what is available cant hurt too much. Happy reading!

Val Thorens, Three Valleys, France

With a ski area that peaks at an altitude of 3,230 metres, Val Thorens is officially recognised as the highest ski resort in Europe. It is one of 3 main ski resorts ( and 5 smaller resorts) that makes up the popular Three Valleys ski area in the Tarentaise Valley located in the Savoie department in Southern France. Sitting at a resort level of 2,300 metres altitude, more than 90 percent of its pistes are located between 2,000 metres and 3,200 metres. This height guarantees some of the best snow conditions in Europe over the course of the ski season. Its high altitude also sees it receive heavy snowfall which is kept fresh for longer periods of time due to the majority of its pistes being north facing. There are 319 pistes spread across 600 kilometres of pistes which are serviced by more than 200 lifts. Owing to its high altitude, the ski season starts earlier than many other resorts and lasts until May, with the glaciers sometimes offering year round skiing! Val Thorens was built for purpose and its location was particularly chosen to ensure it sat in the ideal location within the Three Valleys ski area that provides access to the glaciers and its high altitude pistes. What also makes Val Thorens a very sought-after resort is that it caters to all ski levels from beginners to advanced and it is also ideal for families as well as student groups. The pistes are fairly evenly distributed among the skill levels with 132 blues, 106 reds, 51 greens and 32 blacks. Advanced skiers always return here for their adrenaline fix with some of the ski runs ranking amongst the top-rated runs in Europe; in particular, the Pointe du Bouchet starts at the highest point of the Three Valleys at 3,420 metres and is a 3-kilometre run ( depending on if you choose the Fred Covili red run or the Vallons blue). There are several advanced runs on the glacier for advanced skiers while beginners can find nursery slopes at the resort or gentle blues on the Mauriennaise ski area. Visitors to Val Thorens can also expect powder snowfields, perfectly groomed runs and a good amount of off-piste opportunities. Add all that to the exceptional panoramic views when you’re high up on the slopes, most notably os the surrounding mountain range of Switzerland and Italy in the distance! The pistes are not the only thing to look forward to on the slopes at Val Thorens. Some of the biggest and most famous apres-ski parties take place high up above the resort; most notably La Folie Douce terrace parties which happen at 2,600 metres altitude. Val Thorens operates a ski-in and ski-out system making it possible to ski all the way down to the resort and straight to your accommodation areas. The resort is also fully pedestrian which is especially convenient if you are visiting with family and small children. Restaurants, shops and bars are all within walking distance of the resort centre. When it comes to high altitude resorts, Val Thorens certainly possess the full package.

Cervinia, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Italy

The resort of Cervinia sits at an impressive altitude of 2,050 metres with its pistes rising up to 3,883 metres above sea level. Initially called Breuil when the resort was first opened in 1936, it was quickly renamed Cervinia, by the authorities, in tribute to Monte Cervino ( internationally known as the Matterhorn) which towers over the ski area and forms part of the ski area. The ski area in and around Cervinia is ideal for high altitude skiing. It ranges between 1,535 and 3,883 metres, guaranteeing snow from top to bottom all season, especially in the areas from and above the resort level at 2,050 metres. Due to its altitude, Cervinia has one of the best and most consistent snow records in the Alps; a result of which sees the skiing season starts very early from mid-October and lasts until May, with the winter season encroaching on both the spring and autumn seasons. Cervinia is connected to the ski resort of Valtournenche and the Swiss resort of Zermatt only 7 kilometres away, and whose pistes can be accessed on the International ski pass. The resort of Cervinia is the ideal destination for high altitude skiing with most of the pistes in the ski terrain situated above 2,000 metres. The pistes here are mostly long, well-groomed runs high above the treeline ( not including Zermatt as) and featuring some spectacular views of the Matterhorn glacier paradise. There are also two excellent snowparks at Cervinia; one of which is known as the Gravity Park and is located just beneath Plateau Rosa at just 3,000 metres altitude. The second snowpark is known as Indian Park and is located in the Fornet-Bontadini at just over 2,500 metres. There is up to 350 kilometres of ski terrain spread out over 160 pistes which are serviced by a network of 53 lifts. The pistes in Cervinia and Valtournenche largely cater to intermediates and beginners. Most of the pistes are easy blues and reds and there are two nursery slopes at the resort, specifically for beginners. Advanced skiers will have to take the lift across the border to Zermatt via the Kleine Matterhorn higher up on the glacier, for some adrenaline action on the steep blacks and a few challenging red runs. There are also off-piste opportunities but endeavour to hire a local guide and check the forecast as weather conditions change very quickly in higher altitudes. There is more to Cervinia than its high altitude and great snow conditions. It’s a lovely resort to visit with the family and although it may seem quiet during the week, the resort comes alive at the weekend and with an impressively vibrant après ski for a resort of that size. Its also ideal with kids too. There are a couple of nursery slopes and children areas with English speaking ski instructors at the resort.

Saas-Fee, Switzerland

If you are visiting Saas-Fee for the high-altitude Alpine skiing, there’s very little to not be enamoured by at the resort. With the majority of the skiing taking place between altitudes of 2500 and 3500 metres, you can guarantee great conditions at any time of year, especially when it has one of Europe’s largest glaciers to provide for your skiing needs. If the 100-kilometre ski area was not enough, the ski areas of Saas-Grund and Saas-Almagell which are connected to Saas-Fee, carry the total ski area to 150 kilometres. Saas-Fee best suits beginners and intermediate skiers with beginners finding some really wide and easy blues just above Saas Grund on Kreuzboden at 2,400 metres but the majority of beginners to Saas-Fee will find their feet on the long blues coming down from Felskin at 3,000 metres. There are also large beginner zones and nursery slopes at the resort level. The confident beginners and intermediates can stay on Felkin and challenge themselves to the reds all the way down to Morenia at 2,500 metres. There is also long red run from Langfluh at 2,870 metres all the way down to the Saas-Fee centre. Challenge seeking intermediates and more advanced skiers can take on the railway link up to Mittelallalin at 3,500 metres for steeper reds. The resort is also serviced by an amazing lift network consisting of gondola’s, cable cars and chair lifts which not only grant skiers to pistes but also to a number of high-altitude restaurants and bars which has some of the most stunning views of the ski area and surrounding mountains. There is so much more to Saas-Fee than high altitude skiing and endless powder runs. For example, the revolving restaurant at Mittelallalin is an amazing feat of architecture. Sitting at 3,500 metres, the restaurant revolves 360 degrees on its axis per hour, almost giving new meaning to the term ‘panoramic’. Not only do you have high-altitude skiing at Saas-Fee but you get resturants back at resort level may not have impressive revolving architecture but they do have delicious local delicacies as well as continental dishes on their menu. The accommodation at Saas-Fee ranges from 3 to 5-star ratings across apartment styled chalets and hotels. The après ski scene is lively and starts early every day and carries on right through the night. To unwind and enjoy some time off from the slopes, Saas-Fee has a modern multipurpose sports and leisure centre that comes complete with an indoor swimming pool, kids pool, steam room and sauna.

Tignes, L‘Espace Killy, France

Tignes is one of France’s best destinations for high-altitude skiing, due to the perfect combination of its excellent snow record, north-facing pistes and its high altitude slopes. Located in the L’Espace Killy ski area along with neighbouring Val d’Isere, the terrain offers some of the best skiing conditions in Europe. Named after Jean Claude Killy, an Olympic skiing champion, the area also bears the reputation of being a destination for snowsports enthusiasts. The Espace Killy ski area ranges between altitudes of 1,550 and 3,656 metres altitude and has two glaciers which keep the ski area open for most parts of the year and even when the ski season is officially closed. The glacier at Tignes is the Grande Motte glacier which peaks at an altitude of 3,456 metres. The ski terrain covers up to 300 kilometres of well-groomed, snow-sure pistes which can be accessed by a network of up to 90 ski lifts. There are a total of 154 pistes and two snowparks across the L’Espace Killy ski area. The slopes at Tignes are suitable to all skill ability levels and skiers of various abilities will have a good selection of choices from amongst the different runs. Freeriders will find lots of powdery snow around La Grande Balme and La Petit Balme in the southern part of the ski area. There are also great off-piste opportunities as well.

Sitting at an impressive altitude of 2100 metres the resort is a purpose built village of little hamlets and smaller villages that sit at varying altitudes but all operate a very convenient piste-to-door ski system, with the resort classed as pedestrianized zone ( with the exception of the shuttle bus that ferries people across the various villages at Tignes). There is a host of non-ski activities to indulge in at Tignes. The Lagon Aqua centre has indoor swimming pools for adults and children (as well as water slides for the children). The leisure centre also has a climbing wall, spa and wellness centre. Tignes also has a bowling alley, ice skating rink and 3-kilometre tobogganing slope ( tobogganing in particular, is usually a big hit with the kids). Tigne also has a very vibrant après ski scene. Skiing is not the only high-altitude event taking place at Tignes with the world renowned Folie Douce party kicking off the every day on the slopes at 3 pm. Back down on the resort level, there are a lot of bars, lounges and restaurants that cater to all visitor types alike.
Whether you choose Tignes or opt for Val d’Isere, both resorts in the L’Espace Killy offer very similar high altitude skiing experiences. Contact us for any additional information.

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After taking you through some of the best and most notable high altitude ski resorts in Europe, we hope to have nade your decision making process a little bit easier. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further enquiries regarding high altitude ski resorts. Our contact team is available to provide you with any additional information on the above mentioned resorts or any other resorts you wish to enquire about.

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