15th November 2022
A new survey rates the major ones & make a fascinating read. What’s your favourite resort & why? NEW
The study from Forbes Advisor analysed the quality, cost and accessibility of more than 6,000 ski resorts and ski areas across thew world.
It has come up with what it claims to be the top 50 greatest winter sports destinations in the world.
Resorts were scored on 14 different factors including:
- Length and variety of slopes
- Reviews from skiers and snowboarders
- Quality of the apres-ski
- Price & value for money
- Length of slopes by difficulty
- Number of ski lifts
- Ski pass price (Main season adult day pass)
- Ski review score
They were scored with a maximum mark being 100.
Further details on the methods used by Forbes to compile the list can be found at the end of this article.
Here are the results:
Top Ten best ski resorts in the world
1. Les Trois Vallées (France) – 84.42
2. Les Portes du Soleil (Switzerland/France) – 76.71
3. Les Quatre Vallées (Switzerland) – 66.88
4. Ski Arlberg (Austria) – 66.05
5. Zermatt (Switzerland) – 64.50
6. Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm (Austria) – 61.70
7. Silvretta Arena Samnaun/Ischgl (Austria/Switzerland) – 61.70
8. SkiWelt (Austria) – 60.64
9. Vail (USA) – 60.39
10. Val d’Isere (France) – 59.87
Here are the ones that make up 11-20: Via Lattea (Italy) , Serre Chevalier (France), Val Gardena (Italy), Whistler (Canada), Soelden (Austria), Kitzbuhel (Austria), Niseko (Japan), Arosa/Lenzerheide (Switzerland), Les Arcs (France) and Mayrehofen (Austria).
Here at PlanetSKI we have skied all of them many, many times over, except one.
Niseko in Japan, but we have visited in the summer and intend to visit in winter as soon as possible.
Les3Vallees in France topped the ski index with a score of 84.42 out of a possible 100 points.
It is the largest linked ski area in the world.
It has 600km of slopes across eight resorts, including well-known names like Val Thorens, Courchevel, and Meribel.
Due to its sheer size, the variety of skiing offered by Les Trois Vallées is pretty much unmatched anywhere in the world, making what Forbes says is “an excellent destination for skiers of all abilities”.
We have recently written about what is new for this coming season in Les3Vallees and the first resort in the area to open – Val Thorens:
In second place with 76.71 points, Les Portes du Soleil is another large ski area that sits on the French-Swiss border.
See here for our article about what is new in Morzine in Les Portes du Soleil:
Rounding out the top three is Switzerland’s Les Four Vallées, with its main resort of Verbier.
Again at PlanetSKI we have looked at what is new for the coming season in Verbier:
See the full Top 50 best ski resorts in the world, here.
And what about over in the USA and Canada?
Although the top 10 worldwide largely consists of European destinations, North American resorts accounted for more than a fifth (22%) of the wider top 50.
Top 10 best ski resorts in North America
1. Vail (Colorado) – 60.39
2. Whistler Blackcomb (Canada) – 56.34
3. Lake Louise (Canada) – 52.78
4. Aspen Snowmass (Colorado) – 52.61
5. Park City (Utah) – 48.94
6. Breckenridge (Colorado) – 46.51
7. Palisades Tahoe (California) – 46.48
8. Beaver Creek (Colorado) – 45.24
9. Big Sky Resort (Montana) – 45.06
10. Mammoth Mountain (California) – 44.65
One of the biggest resorts in the US, Vail took the top spot as the best ski resort in North America and 9th in the world.
“Despite being one of the more expensive destinations, Vail offers fantastic ski and snowboard opportunities, along with incredible views of the Colorado Rockies,” claimed Forbes.
Also included is Park City in Utah.
And what about resorts for beginners?
Best resorts for new skiers
1. Les Trois Vallées, Savoie, France – 312 km of blue slopes
Ski Index Score – 84.42 out of 100
With 600 km of pistes spread across 8 resorts, more than half (52%) is made up of blue pistes.
Les Trois Vallées is an excellent destination for new and less experienced skiers to hone their skills while providing plenty of variety.
“If you’re hitting the slopes for the first time, or if you’d just prefer to have plenty of smooth slopes to get your snow legs back under you, Les Trois Vallées has some 312km of blue slopes to get you started,” states Forbes.
2. Les Portes du Soleil, Haute-Savoie/Valais, France/Switzerland – 310 km of blue slopes
Ski Index Score – 76.71 out of 100
Located just an hour and a half from Geneva, Les Portes du Soleil’s 310 km of blue slopes make it one of the most accessible ski areas for beginners.
3. Val d’Isère, Savoie, France – 170 km of blue slopes
Ski Index Score – 59.87 out of 100
Val d’Isère had traditionally catered more towards intermediate and advanced skiers, however, the development of the Solaise sector saw the addition of terrain better suited for beginners and families.
You can find more information, including the best destinations for advanced skiers, snowboarders, and the resorts with the best apres-ski scenes lower down this article.
“To help people prioritise their bucket list, we looked at key factors such as the length and variety of slopes, reviews, apres scene, and average costs to create a definitive ranking of the world’s best winter sports destinations,” said travel insurance expert at Forbes Advisor, Laura Howard.
“Whether you’re an experienced skier or a relative newbie, accidents happen and even the best skiers take a tumble from time to time.
“So, before you hit the slopes, make sure your travel insurance policy has adequate winter sports cover, especially if you plan to go off-piste as this probably won’t be covered by most standard travel insurance policies, meaning that you could end up having to foot the bill should you need rescuing.”
Here at PlanetSKI we are considering our position.
Lets be quite clear, there is no such place as “the best ski resort”.
Or even a list of 10.
Or 20 or 50.
One person’s best ski resort falls far short of what another may want.
Ours happens to be Zermatt, for a multitude of personal reasons, but we would advise most to go elsewhere.
Axamer Lizum in the Tirol makes our Top Ten for a variety of reasons.
Most have never heard of the place.
We’ll be adding out thoughts later as we consider matters.
Chamonix doesn’t seem to have made the lists.
Do check back for the views of PlanetSKI.
Now while we are on the subject of lists, what do you make of these other one that Forbes has listed?
Feel free to comment and share your view on the PlanetSKI Facebook page.
Best Resorts For Advanced Skiers
1. Big Sky, Montana, USA – 126 km of black slopes
2. Snowmass, Colorado, USA – 111 km of black slopes
3. Les Quatre Vallées, Val d’Hérens, Switzerland – 103 km of black slopes
Best resorts for snowboarding
1. Vail, Colorado, USA
2. Serre Chevalier, Hautes-Alpes, France
3. Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler, Canada
Best Resorts For Après-Ski
1. Les Trois Vallées, Savoie, France
2. Ski Arlberg, Vorarlberg, Austria
3. Silvretta Arena, Austria/Switzerland
Best countries for Skiing
Ski destinations were ranked on the quality, cost and accessibility of their skiing and snowboarding experience, as well as social factors like their apres ski scene and Instagram worthiness.
Resorts were scored on their relative performance in the below categories using a min-max normalisation formula.
Results were added up to create an overall index score with a maximum possible score of 100.
Prices: Sources skiresortinfo and sno.co.uk.
Number of Instagram hashtags – correct as of 03/10/2022. The number of hashtagged posts for ski areas and resorts.
Average annual snowfall (cm) – Source: Onthesnow.co.uk
Snowboard review score: Source: worldsnowboardguide.com. As resorts were scored on a scale of 0-10, we divided the score by two for consistency.
Where only text reviews were available and no score was given, resorts received 0 points.
Quality of accommodation: Average customer review score sourced from Booking.com Review score divided by 2 for consistency.
Hashtags and slope difficulty were given half-weighting as while Insta-worthiness and the length of slope by difficulty might be important to some, they may be less of a consideration for others.
Currency conversions correct as of mid-October 2022.
See here for more: World’s Best Ski Resorts.