Switzerland Winter Holidays
The Alps are at their most mind-blowing in Switzerland and the scenery is absolutely stunning. If you like chocolate-box chalets and charming 19th-Century style hotels, high-end restaurants and bustling cafes all dotted amidst bucolic pastureland and snow-cloaked peaks, you’ll feel completely at home here. And if you’re partial to world-class cheese and chocolates, sipping fine wine and whiling away a few hours browsing in chic boutiques, Switzerland’s pull is even more magnetic. But don’t forget the skiing ̶ you’ll find a fantastic mix of ski areas and resorts here offering high altitude, snow-sure groomed pistes and powdery off-piste havens for free riders, and queue-free lifts that run like clockwork. Many resorts are car-free and all of them are clean, serene, scenic and offer excellent facilities and amenities for families, as well as a varied mix of apres-ski entertainment. You might choose to explore the majestic Jungfrau region with it’s terrific traditional villages like Wengen, Murren and Grindelwald, or Zermatt with its prime location in the shadow of the Matterhorn, lively après scene and Europe’s highest ski lifts. Alternatively, there’s gorgeous glacier skiing at Saas Fee or plush resorts like Davos, Klosters or St Moritz ̶ wherever you holiday here, you’re sure to have a wonderful time as the hospitality in Switzerland is second-to-none. When you want a ski holiday in Switzerland with more customised components than a Swiss Army Knife, choose Erna Low every time!
Best Ski Resorts in Switzerland
Best Swiss ski resorts for snow quality
With so many high-altitude ski resorts in Switzerland, snow reliability isn’t really a problem, but if you want to be double-sure you’ll be delighted by quality powder, the resorts below are particularly snow-sure.
Zermatt is the highest ski terrain in Europe and boasts an astounding array of 4000m-plus peaks and surrounding glaciers, therefore you’ll find snow here every day of the year. The Gornergrat and Rothorn areas host the lion’s share of the slopes, skiing at both areas reaches over 3000m and north-facing runs hold their snow well, while the Theodul Glacier offers blue and red runs which descend from a lofty 3883m. In the hugely unlikely event that mother nature doesn’t deliver, there are world-class snowmaking facilities to provide extra cover.
Saas Fee has a prime position in a picturesque, powdery bowl, encircled by no less than thirteen peaks reaching 4000m-plus, the highest of which is the 4545m Dom Mountain, which is the second-highest in Switzerland and third-highest in the entire Alps. The gargantuan Fee Glacier sits between the Dom and Allalin mountains and offers thrilling pistes that drop down from a heady 3600m, with snow depths on the upper slopes reaching 2-4 metres. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the other slopes are above 2000m, so during the regular ski season you’ll rarely find any of the slopes closed, with summer skiing even available in August!
Les Diablerets is blessed by Glacier 3000 in its upper reaches, and its 25km of pistes and 10 lifts (shared with sister resort Gstaad) are open during an extended season from October straight through until May. An excellent network of wide, sweeping blue runs criss-cross the plateau just under the top of the 3016m Dôme, there’s a superb terrain park integrated into the landscape for snowboarders and freestyle skiers, a vertiginous black run that snakes through the Combe d’Audon Valley and endless off-piste to explore (hire a mountain guide to stay safe). Finally, the view from the top of the mountain here is truly otherworldly and spans over twenty 4000m-plus peaks, including the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc.
Best Swiss ski resorts for families
Fancy sampling some Swiss hospitality with your kids? You’re in luck because there are several ski resorts in Switzerland which are particularly family-focused. Here are just a few:
Klosters might be a favourite spot for VIPs from around the world, but this is also a beautiful resort which has its feet planted firmly in the snow and welcomes all types of families with its signature Swiss hospitality. If you’re holidaying with kids of all ages, Madrisa Land is the jewel in the crown here ̶ this idyllic Alpine adventure park 1900m above sea level has magic carpets, snow bikes, fun riders and more, while visually impaired guests and those with limited mobility are also catered for with adapted facilities that make the mountain accessible and inclusive. Full day care facilities mean that while children are fully entertained, parents can explore their own 320km playground packed with outstanding off-piste, sweeping blues and steep reds.
Davos is a little larger than neighbouring Klosters and has a wealth of activities for young visitors. Off-slope attractions here include the Escape adventure area, nine toboggan runs and the largest natural ice rink in Switzerland, while the Kinderland kids club offers childcare that keeps kids safe and stimulated indoors and out, with fun outdoor obstacles and jumps in the snow and inflatables and trampolines indoors. Meanwhile, the Jatzpark in Jakobshorn above the resort is a hotspot for freestyle skiers and snowboarders, therefore it’s a magical place to inspire teenage riders and high-quality lessons are available from local pros.
Arosa is a terrific tree-lined resort with super scenery that’s not linked to the Lenzerheide mountain resort. There’s a vast 225km skiable area here, with over 100km of blue piste perfect for families who want to ski together and cruisy blues like the Platterhorn are a real pleasure. Young freestylers adore the funslope at Lenzerheide with its exciting tunnel, small rails and big spinning stone, while the Arosa Tschuggen Snow Park is a magnet for teen freestylers. Children as young as four are capably cared for by the Swiss Ski & Snowboard School Arosa and slightly older children enjoy the more advanced Junior Club offered by this highly-rated organisation. While the kids are careering around the slopes you and your partner can also relax and unwind at the plush Tschuggen Bergoase spa, which is a favourite haunt of visiting royalty.
Best Swiss ski resorts for groups of skiers & snowboarders
Need to source resorts in Switzerland where your skiing and snowboarding group can entertain itself on a variety of runs, terrain parks and off-piste areas during the day and in bars, restaurants and clubs of an evening? Here are a few fab resorts that hit all the right notes:
Verbier is a vibrant Swiss ski resort with apres-ski that’s wild and slopes which are wonderful, making it ideal for pleasure-seeking powderhounds. There’s a good variety of terrain here for skiers and riders of all levels ̶ advanced skiers are in their element on black mogul runs like the Col de Chassoure and there’s tricky off-piste aplenty at Mont Fort, intermediates have a plethora of red and blues to choose and there are three great nursery areas and several British-run ski schools for beginners. For your soiree sessions, don’t miss Le Farinet with its foaming pitchers of beer and retractable ceiling!
St Moritz is steeped in ski culture as one of the world’s original resorts, and the slopes and apres scenes are complemented by cultural attractions like galleries and museums, as well as high-end shops and spa facilities. The scenery is divine, with fantastic frozen lakes and forests to explore if you fancy a bracing hike to blow away the cobwebs, while skiers and snowboarders have lots of varied terrain to explore. Corvatsch boasts some brilliant high-altitude red runs, Diavolezza has dynamic off-piste including a dazzling 10km glacier route, and Corviglia has a little something for everyone, including a few wonderful World Cup downhill runs. Apres-ski here tends towards the high end of the market, with renowned restaurants like Ecco on Snow satisfying foodies and drinks venues like Alpine Hutte welcoming guests with panoramic views of the Engadin valley.
Grindelwald is a buzzing resort that’s the best place for groups in the Jungfrau area, with a highly efficient train system which makes exploring high altitude havens like Jungfraujoch, Kleine Schiedegg, and lower regions like Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken easy, unlocking an eclectic mix of ski areas and cultural attractions. The local area caters for all levels, with ‘Slow Slopes’ designed for beginners, lots of blues and reds for intermediates, and World Cup runs and vertiginous off-piste for adventurous experts. There are also awesome alternative activities like the vast 15km Faulhorn sledge run, and the apres scene is cracking, with brilliant bars like Avocado, Espresso bar, the Bus Stop Bar and Mescalero Club. It’s evident that whatever type of skiing or snowboarding break you’ve got planned, Swiss resorts can satisfy the needs of any type of travel group!
Ski Areas in Switzerland
There are several ski areas in Switzerland which comprise vast skiable areas across diverse lift-linked resorts, thereby maximising the value of your ski package holiday both in terms of accessing variable powdery terrain and sampling different apres-ski delights. Here are a couple of classic Swiss ski areas to look out for:
The Four Valleys are Switzerland’s largest ski area, comprising six main resorts, a massive 412km of downhill skiing and 205 pistes connected efficiently by 92 ski lifts. Buy one ski pass here and you can look forward to making the most of the slopes around first-rate resorts like Nendaz, Verbier, Thyon, Bruson, La Tzoumaz and Veysonnaz, with slopes ranging from 1250m right up to a heady 3330m at the summit of Mont Fort. Snow conditions here are superb and advanced skiers are satisfied by brilliant technical black runs and exciting off-piste opportunities, while there are plenty of red and blue runs to suit intermediates and novices are supported by superb ski schools and excellent bursary slopes. Expect class at every resort here, but Nendaz tends to be the most affordable, Thyon’s serenity suits families and Bruson is a favourite for freeriders. Meanwhile, Veysonnaz retains the charm of an authentic Swiss village and Verbier is the most rounded resort, with a range of slopes for all abilities, lively après and sublime scenery.
Matterhorn Ski Paradise is an expansive cross-border ski area that links 200km of ski trails for all abilities that reach up to 3889m on the Matterhorn Glacier at Zermatt on the Swiss side with a 160km skiable area on the Italian side, which includes the resorts of Cervinia and Valtournenche in the Aosta Valley. Cervinia is set in a powdery bowl with some brilliant cruisy blue runs for intermediate skiers and while you’re hitting the slopes here, you’re surrounded by some of Europe’s most awe-inspiring peaks ̶ as well as the 4478m Matterhorn, there’s the 4634m Monte Rosa, 4506m Weisshorn and the Dent Blanche, which peaks at 4357m. In terms of après, this is a gourmet’s paradise, with plentiful inspirational Italian eateries around Monte Cervino and an array of lip-smacking mountain restaurants serving haute cuisine and hearty Alpine favourites in Zermatt.
Seasonal Snow Conditions in Switzerland
With so many resorts located at altitudes above 2000m and even 3000m as well as lots of glacier skiing, Switzerland is one of the world’s most snow-sure nations and many resorts enjoy very long regular seasons as well as offering t-shirt skiing in the middle of summer. Take a look at Verbier’s records as an example of what to expect in ski areas like the Four Valleys:
In the most recent season, Verbier had 34 total snowfall days, a total snowfall of 237cm, average summit depth of 91cm, maximum summit depth of 163cm, average base depth of 19cm, maximum base depth of 37cm and biggest snowfall of 24cm.
Apres-ski is as important to some snowsports enthusiasts as on-slope action and Switzerland doesn’t disappoint when it comes to nocturnal entertainment. Here are a few hotspots you shouldn’t miss:
Verbier almost has too many après joints to choose from ̶ you can entertain yourself with the endless free-slowing beer of Le Farinet, enjoy bouncing beats at Ice Cube at the side of the piste below the Ruinettes chair, enjoy cocktails in a Mongolian yurt at 1936 or throw some shapes at Farm Club. Whew!
Zermatt also has it’s fair share of sizzling apres-ski venues and you’ll never be bored if you’re based here. If you fancy refreshments on the Fruri run home at the end of your session, stop at the Hennu Stall for some tasty glühwein or a metre-long ski shot, while the Papperla pub put on live music and always has a friendly ambience. If you really want to party, you’ll find it hard to resist dancing to the retro floor-fillers at Loft Club, while you can let your hair down until the wee small hours at the Broken Bar disco.
Ski Accommodation in Switzerland
You’ll find all sorts of accommodation in Switzerland, so there’s something to suit guests of all tastes and requirements, with an unwavering focus on quality and customer care wherever you choose to lay your head.
Switzerland ski apartments
Ski apartments in Switzerland are often ski-in/ski-out and feature comfortable suites, while more luxurious complexes include in-house spas and restaurants, but you can also self-cater if that’s a preference. If you like a holiday where you can feel independent, an apartment might be the best option.
Switzerland ski hotels
Ski hotels in Switzerland are often more traditional in their architecture, with many having Victorian-style facades. However, you can expect rooms with all the latest mod cons, comfy beds and luxe communal areas, while facilities and amenities are of the utmost quality, with luxury spa facilities and fine dining restaurants.
Ski Flights & Transfers in Switzerland
Ski flights and transfers to Switzerland are easy to organise with Erna Low and we can arrange private or group transfers.
The main airport is Geneva (GVA) but you can also fly to Basel (BSL) and Zurich (ZRH) as well as several airports close to the border in neighbouring nations.
Ski Passes & Other Extras in Switzerland
Pre-booking your ski passes and ski equipment hire is always advisable and with great connections across Switzerland, Erna Low can find you fantastic deals on both and conveniently integrate the cost into your Swiss ski package holiday. If you’re interested in ski gear hire, ski passes or any other extras, please let us know. With Erna Low, the magic of Switzerland is only a few clicks away ̶ we can’t wait to welcome you to one of the world’s most mesmerising ski areas!