Discover the European highest ski resorts from each corner of the continent. The best early and late season spots that offer snow-sure slopes and plenty more to keep you entertained.
Nowadays, snow sure ski resorts are a hot commodity and are often the busiest, word has got out that the highest resorts have the most guaranteed snow. Although, it seems people flock to the resorts of Tignes and Val Thorens because their villages are above 2000m, but the secret is that these are not actually the highest resorts in Europe.
We want to get away from the crowds but still have guaranteed pow, so we put together a list of the top 5 ski resorts with the highest pistes. Even though the villages may be at around 1300m, their summits and highest slopes are all above the woozy, nose bleeding heights of 3500m. So take a read of the top 5 resorts, and don’t let the worrying effects of rising global temperatures ruin your winter getaway for your ski holidays.
Before hitting Europe's loftiest pistes, make sure you're fully prepared. Visit Ridestore to explore a range of the latest men's ski jackets and ski pants. With fan-favourites from brands like Dope Snow and Montec, you're sure to find gear that combines style and functionality, perfect for your snow-filled adventures.
Like most resorts in the Alps, they can be easily accessed by car if you are driving from mainland Europe. Driving to the Alps can be an epic road trip and give you the freedom of having your own car. You can drive to most destinations in the Alps within 10 hours, if coming from Western Europe.
Getting a train is an option, but can require a lot of changes and most likely a bus or taxi to actually get to the village. But if you are heading to Zermatt or Chamonix, you can get a train straight to the centre of the ski resort.
If flying, Geneva airport is often the best access to the Alps and is a major international airport. Geneva is ideal if you are staying in a French, Italian or Swiss ski resort as the transfer options are endless, but keep in mind it’s not always the closest airport. Always check prices from Chambery, Lyon or Grenoble if you are heading to a French resort, because it can reduce the transfer time to under 2 hours – anything to ensure you can get those skis or boards on quicker!
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Isère, France
Closest airport is Grenoble which is only about an hour and a half away by car and you can use Grenoble’s train station to access L2A from various places around Europe.
Ski-Able Terrain: 200km 46 ski lifts
Elevation: 1,280 and 3,523 m.
At number five we have Les Deux Alpes, which is an awesome and popular ski resort in France, famous for its snow-sure conditions and high altitude skiing. The ski resort is home to the largest skiable glacier in Europe which ensures for good quality snow all year round. The high altitude and glacier make for an impressive and varied terrain for the advanced and backcountry riders to play on. In Les Deux Alpes, it is pretty much guaranteed that you will have an unforgettable trip, making the most of the endless opportunities it has to offer.
The ski resort itself is large and vibrant which means that you can have as much fun off the slopes as on you can on. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and apres-ski parties, so you can burn off any last remaining energy.
End a big day on the mountain with some beers and table dancing at The Pano bar.
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Hautes Alpes, France
The nearest airport is Grenoble around 1 hour and 50 minutes away, but it is also easily accessible from Chambery and Lyon all within 2 and a half hours.
Ski-Able Terrain: 3km 3 ski lifts (19km of unmarked pistes)
Elevation: Village 1525m 1,470 and 3,534 m.
This our hidden gem: La Grave is not like many other ski resorts in the Alps, it is unique in so many ways and this is what makes it a draw for those who know about the place. La Grave is a the worst-kept secret for the expert riders and thrill-seekers looking for freeride and backcountry bliss. To say it has one of the highest summits in the Alps (3543m), it is difficult to see how La Grave has stayed low key. There is only 3km of marked piste, with 1 main gondola from the village to the summit and the rest is unmarked, unpatrolled off-piste. There are couloirs and powder fields to play on and the freedom to choose any route to the bottom.
The ski resort itself is small and quaint but not as vibrant as many other French resorts. Instead, it’s the perfect destination to relax, fuel up and get an early night to make the most of the mountain.
For the ultimate unfiltered riding experience, go to the summit and ski the 1 marked run all the way to the village with a descent of 2150m!
Saas Valley, Valais, Switzerland
Sion airport is the closest and is only 90 minutes away, but also easily accessed from Geneva too. You can get a train to Visp and a bus to the resort village.
Ski-Able Terrain: 100km 23 ski lifts
Elevation: Village- 1800m 1800 m – 3573 m
At number three we head to Switzerland: The fancy Saas-Fee is one of the highest ski resorts in the Alps and is loved for its snow-sure conditions and glacier skiing. With pistes focussed above the treeline at 2500m, you will be sure to get some incredible views and quality snow. There is a funicular which takes you to the ski resort summit at a whopping 3500m, where you will be surrounded by a whole collection of impressive peaks.
Back down in the town, Saas-Fee village is a glamorous car-free charming resort. It is a traditional swiss-alpine village, with an impressive selection of high-end restaurants and fancy hotels. Like many of the Swiss ski resorts, you will need to prepare for the prices, but the awesome slopes and unbelievable surroundings make it worth it.
The worlds highest revolving restaurant Allalin is famed for its amazing food and even better views.
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Savoie Mont Blanc, France
Geneva airport is 68km away, Chamonix is very accessible with a railway station in the village and only a couple of hours from the airport. There are also local buses to get between the villages.
Ski-Able Terrain: 152km 49 ski lifts
Elevation: Village- 1040m 1040 m – 3842 m
Chamonix is sat on the French side of the Mont Blanc mountain, which peaks at soaring heights. Chamonix is made up of four different ski areas, although you can’t properly ski between, there is easy bus access. Pick a different ski area each day of your trip and be sure to not ski the same run twice! The pistes have a huge vertical range, so you can ski between the trees in the morning and head up the glacier in the afternoon.
To reach the highest point, you must get the two-stage cable car to Aiguille Du Midi at 3842m, which gives you access to incredible views of Mont Blanc and the glacier skiing on the Valle Blanche. This is famed to be some of the best freeride in Europe, with awesome views and snowsure conditions for deep powder skiing all season long.
Hire a local guide to safely do the famous Valle Blanche and find the best untouched routes.
The nearest airport to Zermatt ski resort is Sion and Geneva. You can easily take a transfer bus, hire a car or get a train to the point where can take a car up to. As the ski resort is car-free, you have to get the mountain cog railway via Tasch to the village centre.
Ski-Able Terrain: 322km 51 ski lifts
Elevation: Village- 1608m 1562 m – 3899 m
At number one, the highest ski resort in Europe, we have the magical resort of Zermatt. Its charms lure people from all over the world. The village itself is a car-free picture-postcard heaven which is the perfect place to recoup after an intense day on the mountain. You are also surrounded by incredible views of the famous Matterhorn.
Up on the mountain, you have an awesome amount of ski slopes to go after, that caters to everyone, but the experts and thrill seekers will have the most fun here. Due to its elevation, the off-piste and backcountry potential is endless, with fresh powder being dumped regularly. It is also home to the highest cable car in Europe, which brings you to the Theodul glacier, where you take in the view and clip in your skis or board at a head rushing 3883m.
Take the Gornergrat mountain railway to the viewing platform at 3089m.
How does altitude affect skiing conditions?
Higher altitudes generally ensure more reliable snow conditions and provide stunning views. However, it's also important to remember that higher altitude can mean more severe weather conditions and thinner air, requiring proper gear and some physical adjustment.
What level of skier should consider these high-altitude resorts?
While these high-altitude resorts cater to all levels of skiers and snowboarders, some terrains are most suitable for intermediate to advanced skiers due to their steepness and complexity. It would be ideal to research specific slopes at each resort or try out a variety of resorts to find the best fit for your skill level.
We hope you feel energised and positive about booking your next ski holidays with the crew, knowing that there are still snowsure ski resorts out there. You don’t have to head to the same places each year to have guaranteed snow, but instead, mix it up and try less hectic resorts like La Grave and still get amazing snow all season long.
The beauty of these ski resorts is due to their altitude and unique terrain, they are also hubs for awesome freeride and backcountry riding. You can be certain that even in the warmer months or when other resorts have had little snow, that there will still be good quality conditions above 3500m and you may even get leftover powder to glide through, whilst other resorts have no fresh snow left.
Don’t waste your time chasing snowmaking machines, head high and get fresh powder and tracks all season long.