As the snow line begins to come in all around Switzerland, we can’t help but find ourselves getting excited about the nearing ski season. Luckily, at Leysin American School we get to make the most of ski season each year with weekly trips to some of the most sought-after resorts around the world. From the chalet-lined slopes of Verbier to the peak-studded skyline of Leysin, here are some of our favourite ski destinations in Switzerland:
This one likely doesn’t come as a surprise, but there is good reason for Zermatt’s world renown. From the wide pistes to the phenomenal slope-side restaurant options, to the world-famous Matterhorn overlooking the resort, this stunning, car-free mountain town has everything you could ask for in a ski trip. The seemingly limitless pistes cater nicely to beginner and advanced skiers and snowboarders alike, and, if you plan out your day right, you might even find yourself crossing into Italy for a few runs! With a year-round holiday-like charm, Zermatt is a destination you do not want to miss.
The chalet-lined slopes of Verbier give this resort a classic Swiss alpine feel. A mix of fresh powder and groomed runs make it the perfect spot for budding skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts who want to put their abilities to the test. The wide variety of intermediate and expert slopes of Verbier also make this location a hotspot for international freestyle competitions—so, whether you’re into spectating or sport, there is an activity for everyone!
Skiers get most of the recognition for alpine sport in Switzerland, but don’t be fooled—there is a great snowboarding scene as well. No location captures the Swiss snowboarding spirit quite like Laax does. Laax shares terrain with two other nearby towns—Flims and Falera—and together they offer over 200 kilometres of pistes, four snowparks, and the longest halfpipe in the world, making it a brilliant playground for snowboarders (and skiers too!). If you stop by at the right time of winter, you may even get to spot some of the world’s most elite snowboarders competing for global recognition in the Laax Open.
4. St. Moritz
St. Moritz is a delightful small town with so much to discover. Two-time host of the Winter Olympics, St. Moritz has many enjoyable pistes to descend. Just when you think you’ve gotten the full lay of the land, a new twist or turn will bring you to a new section of the resort. St. Moritz offers trails for different levels of skiers and snowboarders. After a long day out on the slopes, be sure to check out the charming old town and take a walk around the beautiful, frozen lake!
Saas-Fee offers stellar slopes with shorter lines than your typical tourist hotspot. Visitors to Saas-Fee enjoy stunning views at every turn—the most beautiful of which is perhaps the Fee Glacier. The glacier isn’t just for admiring, however—the particularly adventurous can embark on guided ski-touring adventures so they can truly make the most of Saas-Fee’s incredible terrain. The fun doesn’t end after the sun goes down, either. If you haven’t had enough of the slopes by the end of the day, you can return to the pistes after a fondue dinner to glide down the moonlit slopes by sled. Just be sure to bring your glove warmers—Saas-Fee is known to get chilly!
We would be remiss not to include Leysin on our list of top ski destinations. Host to the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, Leysin American School’s home mountain boasts 60 kilometres of groomed pistes to discover and a stunning skyline composed of alpine peaks and Lake Geneva. The local ski school offers top-tier instructors who work with students of all levels to help them achieve their snowboard or ski goals. In addition to groomed pistes, Leysin also has a snowpark with a halfpipe and cross-country ski tracks in the lower village. To break up a full day on the mountain, skiers can choose from several cozy mountain huts or the impressive revolving Kuklos restaurant for a slope-side meal or hot chocolate.
Needless to say, we love ski season here in Switzerland... check out this video one of our students made!