Europe’s Most Exceptional Ski Spots
Clustered in the dizzying, breathtaking heights of the Alps, Europe’s best ski resorts offer some of the most incredible skiing in the world. Whether you’re in it for the heart-dropping descents, the expansive backcountry skiing, the world famous views, or the glitzy, glamorous resort life, Europe’s best ski resorts are absolutely unforgettable.
Verbier, 1936 Bagnes, Switzerland
The charming Swiss village of Verbier is a breeding ground for fearless, thrill-seeking mountain bikers. Be warned, though: Even a rockstar mountain biker from Colorado or Utah will feel like he needs training wheels when he tackles these mountains. In town, local bike shops outfit cyclists with bikes and Transformer-like protective gear. A gondola whisks cyclists to the top of the mountain where they can tackle trails of varying degrees of difficulty in La Tzoumaz Bikepark. Less death-defying trails wind around the mountain past quirky sculptures such as a giant penguin and a huge skeleton of a wooly mammoth. Apparently, a mountain-biking battle wound is an essential Swiss souvenir. I took home a double-fractured finger after launching over my handlebars (A note: Men who get injured apparently get stitched up by a hot Swiss nurse. I got a scholarly Swiss doctor, but I also didn’t get a bill). For something a bit more low-key, rent an electric mountain bike and cruise around town past the fancy hotels (Verbier W opened in 2014) and charming homes. Just a touch of pressure on the pedal makes you feel like Lance Armstrong ascending the hills.
More so than most places, Switzerland offers serious skiers the chance to fly down unblemished mountainsides—especially in Mürren. The town is blessed with powder-packed bowls that maintain fresh snow for days after a big fall, drawing backcountry fanatics from all over the world. Take the cable car up the Schilthorn to find various opportunities for challenging off-piste skiing. Just to be sure to bring a guide along.
The Jungfrau is one of the main summits of the Bernese Alps, located between the southern canton of Bern and the northern canton of Valais, halfway between Interlaken and Fiesch. It’s the perfect place for the quintessential Swiss experience. The cows are actually moving their heads just to hear the bells ring. So many people take pictures of them, they must feel like movie stars. :)
St Moritz, Switzerland
In a country full of swanky resort towns, St. Moritz takes the crown with its wide array of five-star hotels, designer stores, and award-winning restaurants. The town is also home to such exciting activities as skijoring and ice cricket, which help to keep all the celebrity visitors entertained.
3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
Just as Rome has the Colosseum and Paris the Eiffel Tower, so Switzerland has the Matterhorn. Located above Zermatt, this 48,195-foot wonder attracts hordes of visitors, eager to see the morning sunlight beam off its four faces, ski its neighboring mountains, or even attempt to climb the beast itself. The Matterhorn, however, is not for the faint-hearted and has claimed the lives of more than 500 people since it was first scaled in 1865—an average of 12 per year. It’s also been replicated at Disneyland in California as a rollercoaster.