3 Swiss Ski Resorts To Visit This Season
3 Swiss Ski Resorts To Visit This Season

3 Swiss Ski Resorts To Visit This Season

With dramatic peaks, low-altitude mountains and charming villages, Switzerland is home to some of the best ski resorts in Europe – and there’s still time to hit the slopes this season. Whether you’re planning a weekend with friends or a longer family trip, here are three resorts to consider – complete with expert tips for a great holiday.
By Sherri Andrew


For Intermediate Skiers


The Resort…

One of Europe’s highest ski resorts lies at the foot of one of the most famous mountains in the Swiss Alps, the Matterhorn. The region has 54 mountain railways and lifts (including the highest cable car in the Alps at 3,883m), as well as 360km of pistes to suit all abilities. Seasoned skiers should take advantage of the more challenging slopes that offer magnificent alpine views. There are three main skiing areas – Sunnegga-Rothorn, Gornergrat-Stockhorn and Schwarzsee – as well as Snowpark Zermatt where Olympic skiers show off their skills. 

Zermatt is the only European ski resort that’s open all year round and where you’re pretty much guaranteed snow. Thanks to its unique position in the Alps, it also benefits from around 300 days of sunshine each year, so you can expect excellent conditions. Across the village, you’ll find over 100 restaurants, including four Michelin-starred outposts and traditional fondue spots, as well as some of the country’s top alpine hotels and chalets.

The Expert Says…

“Zermatt ticks all the boxes with its pedestrian-free roads, world-class pistes and grand hotels. Although it has slopes for beginners, the resort is best suited to intermediates and experts thanks to its challenging runs and off-piste areas. The conditions are excellent – during winter, the mountains are above the grey clouds you get in low-lying countries so there’s plenty of sunshine. It’s also close to Cervinia in Italy, so you could ski across two resorts and countries for a longer trip. For the best of everything, including skiing, mid-March to mid-April is the time to visit. 

“It's a great choice for family holidays, too. Kids can get to grips on the child-friendly slopes while adults zoom across the red runs. Elsewhere, kids can enjoy ice skating and tobogganing, while non-skiers can head out on winter hiking and snow-shoeing trails. There are some great additives for thrill seekers, like helicopter tours of the Matterhorn and tandem paragliding flights, while those after a more leisurely experience can relax in one of the numerous spas and indoor swimming pools across the resort’s hotels, or book yoga and tennis lessons.  

Penthouse Zermatt Lodge
Penthouse Zermatt Lodge

“The après-ski scene is really fun. Zermatt is a hub for live music with bands playing in spots like Fluhalp (on the mountain),  at the end of one of the ski runs,  and Club Mamacita. Famous après-ski spots include Hennu Stall on one of the runs home, and the stylish Harry's Bar. If you want to go ‘out out’, The Hotel Post has numerous dance and nightclub areas. Restaurant-wise, some of our favourites in the village include Diner's Club for a romantic spot, L'Atelier Grandsire for fine dining and Chez Heini for bistro classics. Over on the slopes, Findlerhof, Chez Vrony and Blatten all come highly recommended.

“We tend to host everyone from couples to extended families, welcoming travellers from all over the world (including famous faces, though Zermatt is known for its discretion). There are several types of property to choose from, but our most popular chalets include  which has five bedrooms as well as a sauna and hot tub on the balcony. The centrally located Heinz Julen Loft is another top choice thanks to its Manhattan loft-style design, as is Chalet Gemini, a free-standing chalet spread across three flours with five bedrooms and a huge south-facing terrace.”

  • Donald Scott, CEO at Mountain Exposure

How To Get There: It’s around 3 hours by car or train from Geneva Airport.

Visit MountainExposure.com


For Quiet Slopes


The Resort…

Grindelwald exudes traditional Swiss charm. The mountain town is overlooked by the towering north face of the Eiger mountain, with more than 224km of pistes, connected by a modern high-speed lift network. There are slopes suited to all abilities, but intermediates will have the most fun, as there are numerous red slopes and opportunities for off-piste skiing. Confident skiers could also explore the resort with a guide – imagine racing down the world-famous Lauberhorn, which descends into Wengen, covering almost 4.5km. 

The Expert Says…

“For grand mountain scenery and off-slope activities, Grindelwald has it all. Relatively unknown to British travellers, it offers the best of both worlds, with world-class slopes, a characterful town and access to the highest railway in the Alps. Typically, there’s reliable snow as the altitude reaches a healthy 2,970m, ensuring decent skiing throughout the season – the snow cannons do a good job of safeguarding the base layer for the entirety of winter. That said, if the weather isn’t great, visitors are spoiled with off-slope activities.

“Grindelwald is perfect for families, with something for everyone; kids can take lessons in the Bodmi learning area, while adults can whizz down the Kleine Scheidegg run. If there’s someone in your group who doesn’t ski, that’s covered too – a trip on the unique Jungfrau Railway is a must. Set at 3,454m above sea level, the journey around the mountains takes about 45 minutes and is a real adventure. At the summit, expect dazzling scenery, great restaurants, an ice sculpture experience, and even the world’s highest Lindt shop. Down near the village there’s ice skating, heated swimming pools, husky sledding, paragliding, a cinema, a bowling alley and the longest sledging run in Europe, stretching more than 13km.

Bergwelt Grindelwald
Bergwelt Grindelwald

“In town, expect traditional Swiss restaurants serving fondue and raclette, as well as international spots for more adventurous eaters. The centrally located Alte Post is a great restaurant with reasonably priced dishes (note that it’s closed on Wednesdays), while Espresso Bar at Hotel Spine is a nice spot for drinks. For live music, Hotel Eiger’s Gepsi Bar offers a different vibe where you can listen to a live band in a relaxed setting.

“Accommodation-wise, one of our favourite hotels is Bergwelt Grindelwald, the ultimate five-star escape. The hotel is yards away from the Firstbahn gondola and the Kleine Scheideggbahn Cog Train. Top-class facilities include a superb wellness centre, a gourmet restaurant and a cosy bar. Sunstar Hotel Grindelwald is another a favourite among our clients for its sustainability rating. The hotel chain is the first in the country to go carbon neutral, while the restaurants serve locally sourced food. Guests also have the option to donate directly to climate protection, which Sunstar will not only match, but double. Hotel Eiger is a great family option. The property is a short walk from the mountain train station which has access to the Jungfrau ski region. 

“The best time to visit Grindelwald is in February and March when the main base layer is intact but there are slightly warmer and longer days before the arrival of spring. March tends to be a quieter month, so it’s a great time to make the most of the short lift queues and sunnier days.”

  • Ian McIlrath, MD at Ski Solutions

How To Get There: Approx. two and a half hours by car from Zurich airport. 

Visit SkiSolutions.com


For Families


The Resort…

A great option for all skiing levels and families, Saas-Fee is a picturesque resort near the Italian border, surrounded by more 4,000m peaks than anywhere else in the Alps. it’s in the neighbouring valley to Zermatt (though the two aren’t linked), and like Zermatt it’s a traffic-free village with old-world charm. Ski facilities aren’t as modern as some of the other resorts in the country, but the main appeal is its laid-back feel – the slopes are generally less crowded, and you won’t struggle to get dinner reservations at the restaurants. Thanks to Saas-Fee's glacier, the Allalin, there’s plenty of snowfall each winter, with varied slopes for intermediates and a large nursery slope area for beginners.

The Expert Says…

“Saas-Fee is one of the most spectacular regions in the Alps. The cable railway train to the 3,500m slopes could be quicker, but once you’re there, it’s like stepping out into Narnia. The picturesque resort is a great option if you want the full experience without the crowds. The village is quiet but beautiful and it’s incredibly snow-sure. Things kick off in early December and the lifts run until the end of April. 

“One of the most popular hotels we work with is Walliserhof Grand-Hotel & Spa which is perfect for a luxury holiday. It has three restaurants, a spa with a pool and hot tub, and modern rooms with all the home comforts you could need. Then there’s Amber Ski-In/Out Hotel & Spa which has more of a cosy, traditional alpine feel. Located directly on the slopes, it’s a popular choice for families and couples, and it even has a small spa with mountain views. Lastly, Hotel Christiania is an affordable option. Less than a five-minute walk from the ski lifts, rooms and apartments are spacious and homely.

“Skiing aside, Saas-Fee has plenty of family activities. Kids can try snowtubing, tobogganing, sledging (and night sledging) and riding across valleys on snowmobiles. There’s also a pool at the Aqua Allalin ice cave, and a mini gorge for abseiling. Elsewhere, non-skiers can choose from four ice rinks across the region, offering skating, ice hockey, curling or ice stock sport (also known as Bavarian curling). Best of all, the main resort has a dedicated no-ski mountain for sledding and walking.

Foodies will be well fed. There are dozens of great restaurants in town serving Swiss and Italian cuisine. Restaurant Zer SchluchtSchaeferstube Saas-Fee and Waldhus Bodmen are some of our favourites, while Black Bull Snowbar, The Capra and Steinbock Bar are great après-ski spots. 

“One thing to keep in mind is that the resort can be extremely cold, especially during December and January, when thermals are definitely advised. The slopes warm up from mid-February onwards, which is the best time to visit if you’re looking for off-piste and spring conditions, when the sun has had a chance to soften the snow.”

  • Marcus Blunt, co-founder of Heidi

How To Get There: Most travellers fly to Geneva before taking a three-hour transfer to the resort. You can also fly into Sion, Zurich, Bern, Basel or Milan.

Visit Heidi.com


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