Do not reuse. Aletsch Arena for best ski resort report feature.
Flickr/Aletscharena

Discover Switzerland’s top-ranked ski resorts this winter

Of all Switzerland’s many first-class ski destinations, how do you pick the right one for you? First, see how they rate up in a new report

Written by
Time Out editors
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Skiing isn’t easy, but what’s even more difficult is selecting the right Alpine ski resort among the countless options. Switzerland is spoilt for choice when it comes to great places to hit the slopes, so how do you know which ones are worth your precious time, money and effort?

Arriving to clear a path through the snow is the ‘Best Ski Resort’ report, which surveys skiers to discover which resorts they rate highest. The latest report, put together by consulting firm Mountain Management, spoke to almost 46,000 guests in 55 Alpine ski resorts across five countries: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy and France. And the great news is that Switzerland emerged as joint highest along with Italy.

Top of the Swiss heap was Zermatt, whose impressive overall score of 8.51 was pipped only by Kronplatz in Italy. But it’s important to remember that each of the resorts scored differently in the various categories used to rate them.

So, here are the report’s five top-scoring Swiss resorts in order:

1. Zermatt (2nd overall) 8.51

2. Grächen (6th) 8.36

3. Arosa Lenzerheide (7th) 8.33

4. Aletsch Arena (8th) 8.32

5. Laax (joint 10th) 8.23

Essentially, your ideal resort depends on what you want from your ski trip. Experienced skiers lusting after vast swathes of slopes favoured Zermatt and Laax for Swiss options. Meanwhile, first-timers preferred Switzerland’s Arosa Lenzerheide, which features slopes for all abilities and ranks highly for après-ski and entertainment. And if fun times are a top priority, you could do a lot worse than Grächen, which took the entertainment top spot.

Accommodation was another key factor, a category in which two Swiss resorts made the overall top five – Aletsch Arena and Grächen – but if you’re more interested in scenery, the former could be the one for you. Aletsch Arena emerged as the top-scoring Swiss resort for ‘natural surroundings’, thanks to the nearby Great Aletsch Glacier.

Whether you want miles of piste, guaranteed snow, luxury hotels, stunning scenery or good times, it seems Switzerland’s ski resorts have you covered. Find out more about some of the report’s highest-rated Swiss spots below or read the full report at the Best Ski Resort website

Switzerland’s top-rated ski resorts

Great for snowsports fanatics: Arosa Lenzerheide

This popular resort is loved for its wide range of slopes to suit all abilities and ages, whether you’re a nervous first-timer, a veteran or somewhere in between. Excellent teaching facilities also helped push Arosa Lenzerheide into the ‘Best Ski Resort’ report’s top five for ski schools.

Take your pick from relaxed runs, scenic high-altitude routes, a high-speed track and – for the ski-demons out there – the Silvano Beltrametti, a challenging World Cup slope named after a local skiing legend.

Snowboarders will also be kept busy at Arosa Lenzerheide’s vast Snowpark, featuring jumps, boxes, rails and other gnarly stuff, all contributing to a top-five ranking for snowboard parks in the report.

Add in trails for cross-country skiing and hiking, plus a wide variety of cosy restaurants, and you have a resort that truly offers something for everyone, plus a little bit more.

Skiing through the first Alpine Unesco World Heritage Site sounds like a pretty dreamy thing to do – and it really is, as Aletsch Arena demonstrates. The region is full of viewing points for soaking up the incredible scenery, from the mighty Great Aletsch Glacier, the largest in the Alps, stretching over 23km, to the Valais mountains, the Jungfrau-Aletsch Unesco-approved landscape and the breath-taking Eggishorn viewing area at 2,869m above sea level – don’t worry, there’s a cable car to take you up.

Needless to say, Aletsch Arena has way more to offer than just amazing views. The spa pampering options available in Riederalp, Bettmeralp and Fiesch-Eggishorn helped earn it top spot in the report for ‘rest and relaxation’, while its lush, expertly maintained slopes afforded it first place for piste quality and preparation. Plus, there’s a fine range of accommodation available, including traditional mountain huts for an authentic experience.

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Great for families: Grächen

What if it’s the whole family going on a skiing adventure? Grächen has you well and truly covered, taking the top spot in the report’s ‘facilities for children and families’ category. These include four children’s parks catering for all ages, bespoke ski instruction to get the little ones started and a free crèche for ski-pass holders.

And there’s plenty of entertainment off the slopes for all visitors, too. Youngsters can enjoy a fairy-tale treasure hunt through Grächen or learn how to bake pizza, while adults can make the most of the top-notch eating and drinking options that helped Grächen into the report’s top five for restaurants and après-ski. For something a little different, there’s even a mobile restaurant housed on a snowcat – because why not?

Unsurprisingly given its wealth of features, Grächen also made it into the report’s top ten resorts overall, providing yet another reason to visit.

Attention, winter-sportsloving foodies! We’ve got the ultimate activity for you: a ski-food safari. Combine your two passions in this seriously delicious experience at Crans-Montana on March 23, where you can intersperse exploring the area’s 140km of superb slopes with munching on regional specialities at numerous gourmet spots.

If you prefer to keep your skiing and eating separate, investigate the region’s wealth of cafés and restaurants, including the two jewels in Crans-Montana’s gastronomic crown: the Michelin-starred L’Ours and LeMontBlanc restaurants.

To work up an appetite, explore Crans-Montana’s range of activities. On the leisure side there’s a lot to sample (aside from excellent skiing, of course), from badminton and bowling to indoor climbing and curling. And don’t forget the selection of lifestyle options, including a casino, shops galore, museums and wine tasting. Feeling adventurous? Try paragliding or heliskiing – all with the promise of those premium dining choices to keep you going.

Get away from it all in a fantastic winter hotel

  • Things to do

Switzerland has always celebrated the frostiest season, and winter hideaways are perfect spots to hunker down in and soak up the incredible Swiss scenery. But with so many incredible hotels to choose from, how do you find your ideal winter hideaway? Don’t worry, we’ve got your covered.

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