Photo: Robert Boesch
We appreciate it can be tricky to juggle a group of friends or family with keen skiers and non-skiers in the mix. So to make things easier we've compiled a list of our top five resorts for exhilarating & challenging skiing as well as interesting & unusual activities for those in your group who won’t be hitting the slopes!
Set within the enormous ski area of The 3 Valleys, the skiing on offer is expansive & world renown. However, if flying down slopes isn't for you, there are some unusual alternatives. For culinary enthusiasts, Le Chabichou Hotel’s 2 Michelin starred restaurant offers cooking lessons for adults and children – an amazing opportunity to learn from Michelin level chefs & to experience the thrill of a professional kitchen. A more suitable option for grown ups and children would be to try the range of water-sports and wellness options at Aquamotion; the largest water center in the Alps (10,500sqm) boasting 11 swimming pools, including plunge pools, a wave surf zone, river rapids, water slides and even a climbing wall!
With skiing on offer 365 days a year and incredibly dramatic scenery, well-travelled skiers often refer to Zermatt as a must-visit resort! Yet this quintessential Alpine resort also offers plenty of stimulating non-ski activities. To begin with, just walking through the village and nature trails is rather splendid in itself. Then there are cultural opportunities to take advantage of, particularly regarding tales of the Matterhorn and most prominently the story of the first successful ascent of the Matterhorn by Edward Whymper in 1865 at the Matterhorn Museum. For those looking for a more adrenaline-fuelled activity you can practice your shooting skills at the world’s highest clay pigeon shoot (1867m). Or if you are looking for a romantic way to explore the area, take a horse and carriage ride around the town, snuggling up with fur rugs while you are lulled by the sound of tinkling bells, perhaps ending in a treatment or two at the Mont Cervin spa.
Located within a world-renowned ski area with endless pistes and varied terrain, skiers could be happy here for weeks. Yet there are many other active & adrenaline fueled activities on offer that don’t involve strapping on a pair of skis. For example, with Evolution 2 you can whizz up to see the majestic Mont Blanc in a helicopter, dive into the magical underwater world of the frozen-over Lac Tignes, or try your hand at ice climbing and dog sledding. And once the ski lifts shut and you are all reunited as a group you can spend the evening sampling local Savoie food in a yurt at a secret woodland location under the stars with moonlit sledging back into the town.
A major resort within the expansive Porte du Soleil ski area, Morzine is both a pretty and very lively resort! The sports complex Parc des Dereches includes 3 swimming pools, Turkish baths, a spa and an ice rink to relax and entertain all ages, and is located in the heart of the resort. If you want a different style of pool activity Aquariaz is a unique water park with natural tropical vegetation surrounded by mountains, with a river, a slidewinder (a kind of aquatic halfpipe), a water playhouse, a paddling pool, a large pool with climbing walls, massage benches and an open-air spa heated to 34 degrees! Bliss for all! And of course, given Morzine’s location there are plenty of picturesque villages nearby for day trips such as Chatel or Les Gets.
Photo: Andy Mettler
As you would expect in the ever-glamorous St Moritz, there is an abundance of chic and unique activities to amuse and enthrall. Spectate at the world’s only high goal snow polo tournament - tickets are free however you can book VIP tickets to ensure a more spacious area and a leisurely lunch prepared by Swiss chef Reto Mathis. Or for another adrenalin-fuelled spectator sport, St Moritz hosts the only skijoring race in the world. Alternatively, peace and tranquility can be found exploring the pristine snow and quiet forests on snowshoes or relaxing in one of the many spas St Moritz has to offer. Not only this but given the location and altitude of St Moritz, it offers the rare combination of reliable snow conditions and – on average - 300 days of sunshine a year, meaning skiers and non-skiers both get the weather they want!