The Essential Skiing Guide: Switzerland
Sunday 07 November 2010
Most of Switzerland's resorts are traditional villages accessible by efficient rail and bus services from its airports.
They also offer the most spectacular scenery in world skiing. However, thanks to the success of winter sports here, most village resorts have grown beyond all recognition. Some, such as Grimentz, have remained largely unspoilt, while other bigger resorts have suffered from ugly concrete constructions.
Large lift-served verticals and high-altitude, snow-sure resorts are the norm in Switzerland. Zermatt operates Europe's highest ski lifts at nearly 3,900m (12,795ft) and is one of only two resorts worldwide that endeavours to open its snow slopes 365 days a year.
Switzerland has a reputation for being expensive, yet costs fluctuate above and below the price of comparable holidays in the eurozone according to the exchange rate of the Swiss franc. And the country offers the best value for family lift tickets because children don't pay until age nine in many resorts, or go for half price to the age of 16 or 18. Some other countries charge children from four years old, climbing to the full adult price by the age of 12 or 13.
Did you know?
The world's first winter sports holidays took place in St Moritz in 1864.
If you visit Davos from 26 to 30 January 2011 you might find yourself rubbing skis on the slopes with famous politicians during the annual World Economic Forum.
All Swiss ski resorts can be reached easily, and without stress, on services from Geneva and Zurich airports.
The Brits festival of UK snowsports and music is staged each spring in Laax, this season from 20 to 27 March with Pendulum headlining (britishsnowtour.com/the-brits).
St Moritz has polo matches and horse races to watch on its frozen lake, a toboggan run that's officially the world's biggest ice sculpture, and the quintessentially British Cresta Run, which is still gentlemen only.
Cross-border ski areas open up Austria from Samnaun, Italy from Zermatt, or France from Champéry.
Best resorts for novices
Arosa (00 41 81 387 7020; arosa.ch); Champéry (00 41 24 479 2020; champery.ch); Crans Montana (00 41 27 485 0404; crans-montana .ch); Engelberg (00 41 41 639 7777; Engelberg.ch); Saas Fee (00 41 27 958 1858; saas-fee.ch).
Grindelwald (00 41 854 1212; grindelwald.ch); Laax (00 41 81 927 7001; laax.com); Les Diablerets (00 41 27 4923358; Diablerets.ch); Samnaun (00 41 81 868 5858; samnaun.ch); St Moritz (00 41 81 837 3333; engadin.stmoritz.ch).
Adelboden (00 41 6738080; adelboden.ch); Davos (00 41 81 4152121; davos.ch); Disentis (00 41 81 920 4030; disentis-sedrun.ch); Verbier (00 41 27 775 3888; verbier- st-bernard.ch); Zermatt (00 41 27 966 8100; Zermatt.ch).
Grimentz (00 41 27 475 1493; grimentz.ch); Leukerbad (00 41 27 472 7171; leukerbad.ch); Nendaz (00 41 27 289 5589; nendaz.ch); Villars (00 41 24 495 3232; villars.ch); Wengen (00 41 33 855 1414; myjungfrau.ch).
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Film follows park rangers in the Congo
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
£30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...
£13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...