The Best Ski Resort In The World?

It seems that the start to the 2012-13 season has been one of the busiest in a long time, with demand over the Christmas and New Year weeks pushing the most popular resorts to capacity.

This got me thinking about what makes these resorts more popular, what keeps many people coming back year after year instead of exploring other lesser know resorts?

It’s a fairly emotive and subjective thing to decide which is ‘the best ski resort’. I’m sure we all have our opinions on the matter, and it’ll be shaped by various criteria – where you enjoyed the most (which possibly could have more to do with the après than the actual riding), what the snow conditions were like when you were there (one of my favourites is a tiny resort simply because when I was there it was a powder heaven which no one else in resort seemed to want to disturb!) and for others it seems to be purely based on reputation.

After trawling the internet it was easy to find numerous lists of the top 10 resorts and funnily enough – none of them quite agree!
Obviously certain resorts seem to pop up on more than one list which should be an indication that it is pretty good.

What also stands out is that there is possibly a bias (maybe subconsciously by the author, maybe targeted towards the expected audience) towards a certain type of resort.

So, we though we’d bring you a selection of these lists (who honestly doesn’t like a good list) and we invite your feedback on resorts that may have been overlooked, or your own top 10 resorts. So, here goes…..

First up is the Top 10 Resorts in Europe taken from the website
1. Meribel
2. Morzine
3. Chamonix
4. Verbier
5. Val D’Isere
6. La Plagne
7. Kitzbuhel
8. Courchevel
9. Zermatt
10. St Anton
Same criteria, this time from the Outside Online website
  1. Chamonix
  2. La Grave
  3. St Anton
  4. Kitzbuhel
  5. Verbier
  6. Murren
  7. Zermatt
  8. Bernese Oberland
  9. Alagna
  10. Andermatt
Looking at it perhaps from a different perspective (and expanding it to the whole world, although I think with a little bit of an American bias!) is National Geographic
  1. Girdwood, Alaska
  2. Fernie, BC
  3. Zermatt
  4. Bozeman, Montana
  5. Chamonix
  6. Cortina D’Ampezzo
  7. Whitefish, Montana
  8. Crested Butte, Colorado
  9. Aspen, Colorado
  10. Niseko, Japan
Tripadvisor has compiled a list based on feedback from the site users for the best skiing vacations in Europe
  1. Interlaken
  2. Zermatt
  3. Chamonix
  4. Lapland
  5. Zell Am See
  6. Garmisch-Partenkirchen
  7. Kitzbuhel
  8. St Moritz
  9. Courchevel
  10. Val D’Isere
  1.        Avoriaz (because we’re not completely impartial and wanted to show where it came in!)
So there’s a selection purely based on people’s over all opinions and one thing that stands out on most of those lists is that they are generally big, popular and well known resorts.
But what about the smaller resorts?
The Guardian compiled a list of ‘The Top 10 Cheap Ski Resorts in the Shadow of Giants’
  1. Soll
  2. Montgenevre
  3. La Tzoumaz
  4. Avajan
  5. St Martin De Belleville
  6. Hochfugen
  7. Les Houches
  8. Andermatt
  9. Jay Peak (USA)
  10. Ogden (USA)
You might have to do a bit of research to locate one or two of those!
Finally, back to Tripadvisor, who put together two lists using various criteria (cost of accommodation, cost of a lift pass, ski hire, a meal and a beer) to create the top 10 best value and most expensive resorts in Europe.

Top 10 most expensive European ski resorts according to Tripadvisor
1.             Meribel, France
2.             Courchevel, France
3.             St. Moritz, Switzerland
4.             Verbier, Switzerland
5.             Gstaad, Switzerland
6.             Zermatt, Switzerland
7.             Klosters, Switzerland
8.             Ischgl, Austria
9.             Val D’Isere, France
10.           St. Anton, Austria
I guess a list dominated by the resorts you might have expected!
But for the best value resorts as below, you might be surprised by a few of them….

Top 10 best value European ski resorts according to Tripadvisor
1.             Mt Etna, Italy
2.             Bansko, Bulgaria
3.             Astún, Spain
4.             Berchtesgaden, Germany
5.             Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
6.             Spitzingsee, Germany
7.             Candanchú, Spain
8.             Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
9.             Oberstdorf, Germany
10.           Serre-Chevalier, France

I’d love to say that Ski-Lifts offer transfers to all of these resorts – but we don’t! It pains me to say it but there were even a few on there I hadn’t even heard of and some (Mount Etna for example) that I can’t imagine drags in that many people for a ski holiday. However, we do offer transfers to most of them, so take the chance to travel with us and get out and explore some of them.

The Ski-Lifts Team