Are you looking for the highest ski resorts in Europe? When it comes to choosing a ski resort, our advice is always the same: the higher the resort the better. Journey further up the mountain and you will be rewarded with exceptionally scenic views of the surrounding towering peaks and glaciers. We have hand-picked some of the highest ski resorts in Europe with world-class skiing. A must-visit for any skier who is eager not to miss a moment.
1. Val Thorens, France
Standing tall at 2,300m, Val Thorens is officially the highest ski resort in Europe. The area reaches up to 3,230m at the peak of its skiable glaciers, Péclet and Thorens. This prime location was no accident. Val Thorens was purpose-built to ensure it occupied the ultimate location in the Three Valleys ski area. There’s an abundance of ski-in ski-out accommodation making it easy access to the snowy slopes. Most other French ski resorts sit at an altitude of under 2,000m. Staying in Val Thorens ski resort you can wake up each morning to the sunrise dancing across the surrounding summits, before clipping into your skis and setting off from your doorstep to enjoy the powder.
The Three Valleys is a phenomenal winter playground that is second to none. It’s the world’s largest ski area and is comprised of a huge choice of runs for every type of skier. Beginners and intermediates can try the gentle, sunny terrain on the Maurienne side. Whilst more advanced skiers can take on the off-piste around the Lac du Lou area, or even try the 150km of scenic cross-country routes.
2. Tignes, France
Tignes is one of France’s most famous ski resorts, thanks to its link with the renowned Val d’Isère ski resort. Skiers can enjoy all the après and fine dining they could dream of from their snowy base which sits at a snow-sure 2,100m. The ski terrain reaches 3,456m at its peak at the Grande Motte glacier. This can remain open for 11 months of the year thanks to its guarantee of impressive snow. Investing in a full area lift pass offers access to Val d’Isère’s Pisaillas glacier too, which also peaks at over 3,000m.
After a rewarding day on the mountain, skiers can enjoy the ultimate convenience when it comes to returning home. A large proportion of the ski resort’s accommodation offers ski-in ski-out access. When it comes to an unbeatable high-altitude and overall experience Tignes ski resort has thought of everything. Enjoy a huge choice of gourmet dining options dotted around its slopes. Try Le Panoramic restaurant, situated at 3,032m on the Grande Motte glacier and kitted out with cosy sheepskin rugs.
3. Val d’Isère, France
Val d’Isère is undoubtedly one of the highest ski resorts in the world with some of the best high altitude skiing on offer. It’s linked to neighbouring Tignes ski resort. The shared Espace Killy ski area has over 300km of marked piste runs and unlimited off-piste skiing. The snow coverage tends to be some of the best in Europe and conditions normally facilitate skiing right to the end of the season. Col Pers is one of our favourite off-piste runs for experienced skiers, from the Pisaillas glacier down to Le Forne. The nursery slope is right by the centre of town and is a good place to start for beginners. Val d’Isère is a top ski destination with a vibrant and lively atmosphere centred on the wide main street that runs the length of the town.
4. La Plagne, France
La Plagne has six high-altitude ski resorts. Belle-Plagne (2,050m) and Plagne 1800 are the most popular. Comprised of 11 characterful villages, La Plagne offers a wide choice of accommodation that ranges from the brilliant all-inclusive Club Med Hotel in La Plagne 2100 to a huge range of self-catered apartments and catered chalets. If you are new to the slopes, visit the nursery slopes in Bellecote. Alternatively, visit one of the free lifts in each village.
Intermediate skiers can choose a local La Plagne ski resort only lift pass, which gives access to a fantastic 100km of skiing. Those looking for more of a challenge will enjoy a full Paradiski ski area pass, offering 425km of skiing across the third largest ski area in the world. As well as offering a great choice of ski schools, La Plagne has some great extra-curricular activities. Take on the iconic Funslope – the longest snow-cross course in Europe, comprised of jumps and curves, or try out the 1,500m long Olympic bobsleigh run that you can shoot down at up to 80kph in a four-seater bob raft.
5. Zermatt, Switzerland
Some of the highest skiing in Europe can be found in the iconic ski resort of Zermatt. Home to the Matterhorn glacier ride – the world’s highest aerial cableway; and the highest viewing platform in the Alps at a towering 3,883m. This sophisticated Swiss ski resort’s collection of titles are enough to tempt any discerning skier who is looking for a world-class week in the mountains. The snowfall record is so good that the ski resort can even permit summertime skiing on its highest glacier runs. This is followed by a top-up from Zermatt’s ‘Snowmaker’ for 14 days each year in the early Autumn. A new kind of snowmaking system that produces the highest quality artificial snow possible.
When winter comes around the snow conditions are reliable enough that any further help from the snow canons is rarely needed. The south-facing runs are greeted by an average of over 3 metres of snow annually. We recommend enjoying these offerings on the Klein Matterhorn. An exhilarating 21km run that can be descended in one swoop from 3,820m all the way down into resort.
6. Cervinia, Italy
Cervinia is the highest ski resort in Italy located at over 2,000m in the peaks of the Alps. Its slopes proudly offer up the highest skiing in Europe across its well-linked terrain that merges with the neighbouring Zermatt. This ski resort is the perfect choice if you are looking for all the benefits of a world-class, high-altitude European ski resort. It’s purpose-built to offer prime access to the mountain. Guests can enjoy spectacular, sun-drenched vistas of the surrounding glacial mountains and, of course, the iconic peak of the Matterhorn. The local ski area offers a wide range of beginner and intermediate slopes. There’s a modern, high-speed gondola available to whisk skiers over to Zermatt in under 10 minutes, where more challenging terrain awaits.
7. Sölden, Austria
One of the highest ski resorts in Austria, Sölden offers its skiers an incredibly long season that can start as early as September and stretch all the way into May. The two towering glaciers of Tiefenbach and Rettenbach are to thank for the resort’s snow-sure slopes. With a network of high-altitude blues and reds for skiers to weave their way down there’s plenty to enjoy. The ski resort has invested in an extensive and efficient well-linked lift system, which makes it quick and easy to get your fill of glacial ski terrain.Sölden’s landscape is instantly recognisable for its ‘Big 3’ mountains, Gaislachkogl, Tiefenbachkogl and Schwarze Schneide. Enjoy peaks at over 3,000m and spectacular views of the Italian Dolomites on a clear day. The elevated scenery is so remarkable that Sölden ski resort was chosen to feature in the James Bond film ‘Spectre’. Film buffs will enjoy a visit to the 007 ELEMENTS cinematic installation that is situated at 3,050m on the Gaislachkogl mountain.
8. Lech, Austria
Lech is one of the highest ski resorts in Austria with superb skiing. Once a traditional farming village, Lech rose to fame as a world-class ski resort through the clientele it has attracted over the years including Princess Diana. This chocolate box Alpine village promises an indulgent week’s skiing in the Alps, whilst retaining its authentic Austrian atmosphere.
Cruise with ease down the well-groomed pistes. You’ll enjoy peaceful lift queues thanks to the ski resort’s cap on the number of ski passes sold per day. When it comes to après ski, Lech carries out proceedings in style, with a choice of exclusive bars and eateries. Sample one of 60 single malt whiskies a the Fux Lounge Bar. Alternatively, take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride on a cultural tour of the valley.
9. Courmayeur, Italy
Courmayeur is based in the Aosta Valley ski area has some great high altitude skiing. It has a superb choice of snow-sure runs reaching up to 2,755m. Visit the cobbled town complete with boutique shops and lots of Italian sophistication and charm. The cosy, winding streets are a hotspot for European fine dining; overflowing with gourmet eateries that serve up rustic local fare or Michelin-starred plates.
Courmayeur ski resort has attracted the likes of Tom Kerridge, Heston Blumenthal and Marcus Wareing. All whom have come together to host a range of dining experiences. For a truly authentic and luxurious dining choice on the slopes, we recommend a visit to Maison Vieille. Your charming Tuscan host Giacamo will greet you with fine Tuscan wines. Enjoy wild boar, fresh tagliatelle and suckling pig fresh from the wood-fired oven.
10. Engelberg, Switzerland
Engelberg ski resort is one of our top high altitude ski resorts and rightly so. If you like to pack your weekends full of action and adventure, look no further than this hidden gem. Its name translates as ‘Mountain of the Angels’. A title that the ski resort does not fall short of. The ski resort has access to some of the world’s best freeride runs across skiing terrain that reaches up to 3,020m at the peaks of the Titlis glacier. The best part is that all of this lies just a mere 90 minutes from Zürich airport.
As a high-altitude ski resort with an array of north-facing pistes, Engelberg enjoys an enviable snow record. Powder-loving skiers return season after season for epic descents on world-famous off-piste routes such as the legendary Laub and Steinberg. There are a good number of gentle runs for intermediates, served by state-of-the-art lifts run with classic Swiss efficiency. In the evening visit the Panorama restaurant, situated in a breath-taking location at the tip of the Titlis glacier. We recommend the delicious fondue after a day’s skiing.
To find out more about the highest ski resorts in Europe, please call our ski experts on 0207 471 7700.