When the time has come to choose your next ski holiday destination, we are always wondering how much skiing is possible?
For the majority of us, we can make it with 50km of slopes, but nowadays, some ski resorts have grown so much, that you can pick a whole ski region, and be sure not to ski twice on the same piste!
Here’s our pick of the 12 top biggest ski areas . . .
12. Park City, Utah
Good for: Convenience from Salt Lake City, tree-lined skiing, historic Main Street.
In 2015, Utah’s Park City (which hosted events during 2002 winter Olympics) and Canyons Resort were combined to create the largest ski area in the United States. The link between the two areas is the Quicksilver Gondola crossing Pinecone Ridge, creating a 7,300-acre playground with more than 300 trails and 41 lifts in the Wasatch mountains.
Schrahe has measured the ski area at 265 kilometers of runs, with a vertical rise of 975 meters to a high point at the top of Jupiter Bowl (3,055 meters). Only 8% of terrain is rated as beginner.
11. Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
Good for: Big snowfall, Canadian efficiency, polite lifties.
The Whistler Blackcomb ski resort (north of Vancouver) is the biggest of North America and Canada, and it is also the world’s most visited resorts.
It claims a skiable area of 8,171 acres with 37 lifts and more than 200 trails across a variety of glade skiing, open bowls and three glaciers. Schrahe has measured a skiable extent of 253 kilometers, which includes a certain amount of avalanche-controlled but ungroomed inbounds terrain, unlike European resorts, which only measure trails.
10. Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes, France
Good for: Short transfer from Grenoble, purpose-built convenience, runs for all standards, glacier skiing.
Today, the Alpe d’Huez offers 250km of piste and 200km for les deux Alpes. These two resorts are not directly linked, you need one hour drive to go to one to another, but a 60 million euros gondola will allows skiers to connect between the two areas. With this merge, the skiable terrain will be doubled and the huge resort will be a part of the top 5 biggest ski resort over the world.
9. Val d’Isere and Tignes, France
Good for: Intermediates and experts, extensive off-piste, glacier skiing, nightlife, mileage.
The espace Killy (named after tripe Olympic champion Jean-Claude Killy) gathers Val d’Isere and Tignes into one giant resort with 300 km of runs. Regarded by many as one of the most exciting ski areas in the world thanks to its famous steep terrain including the Olympic Downhill run on the Bellevarde face, masses of off piste opportunities and also having one of the planet’s biggest lift-served verticals of more than 2,000m.
You can also find the renowned mountain bar “La folie Douce” where you can mix the pleasure of a generous cuisine with the joys of clubbing.
8. Arlberg ski area, Austria
Good for: Austrian après-ski, reliable snow, off-piste adventures, royalty spotting in Lech.
This year, the installation of a new lift has permitted to make the Arlberg, the Austria’s largest connected Area. It provides 305km of connected piste and 87 lifts.
7. Matterhorn Ski Paradise, Switzerland/Italy
Good for: Matterhorn gazing, mountain restaurants, alpine history, snow quality, Italian-Swiss mash-up.
This paradise has the europe’s highest ski lift that take you up from Zermatt to the Matterhorn glacier at 3,883m. It also offers you 360 km of piste straddling the Italian-Swiss border. All this playground is surrounded by some of the Alps’ highest peaks, including Monte Rosa (4,634 meters), the Weisshorn (4,506 meters) and the Dent Blanche (4, 357 meters). The area includes incredible runs for all standards, with the world’s second biggest lift-served vertical drop (2,379m), and an epic 20km descent down to Valtournenche. This ski region is also a part of the private circle of the 365 days skiing resorts (depending on the weather) with its 21km of glaciated terrain !
For the second part of this list, please click here.