The Swiss mountain resort of Zermatt has been named “Best Ski Resort” in the Alps for the second time in a row in an extensive online poll of winter sports fans.
The Best Ski Resort prize, awarded every two years, is based on the results of a survey of 49,000 winter sports fans carried out by Mountain Management Consulting and the University of Innsbruck in Austria. It claims to be the largest online survey in the Alps.
In all, 54 mountain resorts were examined according to 20 categories including resort size, snow safety, après-ski, fun and snow parks, comfort, accommodation, family offer and value for money.
Zermatt came top overall, ahead of Livigno in Italy and Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in Austria.
The chic Swiss resort was highly rated for piste quality, atmosphere, comfort and exclusivity, as well as accommodation and piste safety.
Other Swiss resorts also did well in the ranking: Saas-Fee (5th), Adelboden-Lenk (7th) and the Aletsch Arena (9th).
Zermatt, famous for the Matterhorn mountain, boasts 360 kilometres of slopes, links with the Italian resort of Cervinia and skiing 365 days a year. The traditional car-free village is located at an altitude of 1,620 metres and skiing goes up to 3,883 metres (Klein Matterhorn).
It has long been a popular choice for winter and summer mountain sports fans – but it is not cheap. Research carried out this year in Germany named Zermatt as the most expensive in the Alps.
A six-day peak season adult ski pass for the entire Zermatt-Aosta ski region stretching into Italy costs CHF463 ($470), compared with an average CHF295.50 in French resorts.
Following early snowfalls on the upper peaks, some resorts are gearing up to open this weekend. Verbier, Zermatt, Arosa-Lenzerheide, Saas-Fee, Glacier 3000 above Les Diablerets and Laax are all opening some of their runs.
According to the Swiss weather service MeteoNews, 15-70cm of fresh snow fell in the mountains between Thursday and Friday. But avalanche danger levels are “considerable” across much of the Alps.
swissinfo.ch with agencies