Snowy peaks in the sun are always breathtaking, but where are the best places to perch for the most incredible views? Here are our top spots for a stunning photo.
In lively and loveable Tignes, head up the Aiguille Percée run to reach the oh-so-photographed ‘eye of the needle’. Here, a jutting needle of rock has a hole through the middle that conveniently makes a fantastic natural photo frame. At the top you can take off your skis and make the short climb right up to the eye on foot. Look through from both angles and don’t forget to get in the frame yourself for a classic snap.
It may look intimidating from the top, and the nickname ‘The Swiss Wall’ does nothing to quell that, but the Chavanette run is immensely popular with seasoned skiers. On the French-Swiss border above Avoriaz, this huge, steep slope delivers views like no other before plummeting down into Switzerland. It’s earned its own classification as an Orange run, due to the 331m of thrilling vertical drop along the kilometre-long piste. If you want to look out over both Switzerland and France and snap a panoramic photo before taking a more sedate route down, the Chavanette chairlift is your friend. Pop into the O’Padcha restaurant, where a red line on the terrace tells you which country you’re in. Choose from hot drinks, warm and cold food, or Dutch Courage before the descent.
Covering an area of 10,000 hectares, Alpe d’Huez has a massive 249km of linked pistes to choose from. If we had to pick just one for a view, it would be the top of the Pic Blanc lift, which happens to be the highest point in the area at 3330m. Your gaze can take in Mont Blanc, Mont Cervin and Meije in one fell swoop, and on a clear day it’s said you can see a fifth of France. Post-picture, you can tackle La Sarenne, which is labelled black mainly due to being Europe’s longest ski run (16km). It rewards you with amazing views on either side.
At a cool 3,883m, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise in Zermatt is the highest cable car station in Europe. It lives up to expectations, with amazing views of the Matterhorn’s south side, a different angle to the ‘classic’ Matterhorn picture. The summit lift will take you to the viewing platform, with a 360º view of 38 Alpine giants, including Mont Blanc. There’s a Peak Shop and an eco-friendly restaurant, built in a zero-energy building, where you can fuel up and warm up with soups, pan-friend rösti and apple strudel.
Skiers and non-skiers can reach the top of Mont Fort from Verbier easily by lift. To the west you’ll see the Dents du Midi and Mont Blanc, to the south is the Grand Combin and in the east, the Weisshorn, Dent Blanche and the Matterhorn. Northwards, cast your gaze across the Rhone Valley to the Bernese Alps. At 3,330m it’s another high, steep descent – so steep in fact, it can’t be mechanically prepared. If you’d rather sample local delicacies than plunge straight down, the Igloo du Mont Fort offers sweet and savoury delights: the Swiss Rock Café Abricotine, made of cane sugar, espresso and whipped cream, or local Swiss cheese fondue.
Wait for one of the silver glass-bottomed gondolas for a bird’s eye view of forests below. The gondola carries you above Fitzsimmons Creek between Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain, the skiers from Whistler resort below shrinking to pocket-sized. The Peak 2 Peak has two Guinness World Records, one for its highest point of 436m. It’s popular in summer too, but the ski season casts the whole, epic view in a magical light. Stop to savour the moment at the Roundhouse Lodge with grills, sandwiches and salads, or the Raven’s Nest for fresh vegetarian and vegan fayre.