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 top 12 biggest ski areas. To view the previous 6 resorts, please click here.
6. Milky way, Italy & France
Good for: Partying in Sauze d’Oulx, chilling in Claviere, views above Sestriere, interesting runs, cross-border possibilities, varied resorts
Named after the galaxy, this resort proposes 400 km of runs spreading over Italy and France. The highest lift reaches almost to the summit of Mt. Motta at 2,823 meters with spectacular views above Sestriere, a fixture on the World Cup downhill circuit.
A celestial chart — aka ski lift map — is essential to navigate the Milky Way.
5. 4 Vallees, Switzerland
Good for: Moneybags, Verbier chic, views from Mont Fort, off-piste experts, quiet corners.
This ski resort is the biggest of Switzerland with 412 km of piste. It gathers multiple smaller resorts but has the well-known, for its exciting apres-ski vibe, Verbier at its heart. The high point of the lift system is Mont Fort at 3,330 meters with its far-reaching views of the Matterhorn, the Grand Combin and Mont Blanc.
For those who are off-piste addict, you can find descents of up to 2,500m vertical down to the valley floor.
4. Paradiski, France
Good for: Family-friendly, beginners and intermediates, ski-in/ski-out, unheralded expert terrain.
It is in 2003 that giants Les Arcs and La plagne have been merged into a massive interlinked area called Paradiski, which took instantly the 5th place in the biggest ski areas ranking. These two resorts offers 425 km of skiable terrains with 160 lifts.
3. Sella Ronda, Italy
Good for: Spectacular Dolomite scenery, clear circuit, exploring valley offshoots, World War I history, food.
There’s an unofficial entry at number three as the ski region around Italy’s Sella Ronda is never promoted as a region in its own right. It’s part of the giant Dolomiti Superski region, which promotes its 1200 km of trails, but many of those are fragmented. However Sella Ronda offers 26 km of skiing and the whole region was estimated at 500km of linked piste.
2. Portes du Soleil, France & Switzerland
Good for: Ski safari, international travel, a variety of resorts, snowboard friendly.
One of the claimants to the title ‘biggest ski area in the world’, the Portes du Soleil has 650km of piste, 50km more than the 3 Valleys, BUT for purists there are small breaks in the circuit. This region extends over 12 resorts (two third in France) between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
Famous names include family-friendly Châtel, Morzine, Avoriaz and the traditional Swiss resort of Champéry.
1. Les 3 Vallees, France
Good for: Mileage hunters, velvety slopes, guaranteed snow, gourmets, luxury, Europe’s highest resort.
The gigantic 3 Vallees is the undisputed number-one with 600 kilometers of runs spread between the three main resorts : Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens. The area covers 105 square kilometers — that’s as big as Paris — with 328 runs, 166 high-performance lifts and 2,200 snowmaking machines covering 49% of the pistes.
Les 3 Vallees is also the perfect place for people raving about gourmets restaurants : this ski resort offers 18 Michelin stars across 12 restaurants, incluiding the three-starred La Bouitte in St Martin de Belleville.
Extra : The three Valleys iPhone app allows you to plan your itineraries around the whole of the ski area. You just need to specify your ability, start and finish location, and the duration you want to ski. You can even tell it to keep you on groomed runs only, or take you a scenic route!