ES Operates in six of the the world’s best and most well-known ski resorts: Verbier, Zermatt, St Moritz, Nendaz, Chamonix and Val D’Isère. But which ski resort is right for you?
Update October 2019: ES now operates in Val D’Isère. Connected to Tignes, Val D’Isère shares over 300km of slopes with something to suit everyone… Here is our new Val D’Isère Page.
- Romantic Weekend
- Corporate Weekend
- On a Budget
- Classic Hotels
- Modern Hotel wonders
- Cheap Eats
- Late Season Skiing
Verbier – For families learning to ski, the sunny slopes of Verbier are an excellent choice. The main ski area is fairly concentrated meaning it is easy to meet up for lunch or a coffee break. The progression of the terrain can be a little challenging for some first time skiers, so perhaps a better choice for the sporty family!
Zermatt – With its car free streets and range of off-snow activities, Zermatt is a great choice for families who perhaps aren’t only interested in the skiing. Its wide open, gentle pistes are perfect for working on turns and building confidence. The expansive ski area, does mean meeting up for lunch can take a bit of organising, however many of the mountain restaurants can be accessed via cable cars and trains, so a nice option for any non-skiers in the group.
Chamonix – A bit too hard core for most families! There are some gentler slopes in Les Houches, but choices are limited in other areas for kids. Short transfer time from Geneva though!
St. Moritz – Nice wide slopes, classic big hotels, but a long transfer.
Nendaz – Two great beginner areas with quieter slopes and easy 4 Valleys access.
Val D’Isère – Both the Solaise and Bellevarde ski areas have wide green runs are reserved for beginners skiing at gentle speeds.
Verbier – Verbier is great for the young and sporty who want to be challenged in their skiing, however this might not suit couples where one person is a better skier. Having to talk your other half down a black run is not most peoples’ idea of romance!
Zermatt – The anniversary or the proposal, classic, old “romantic”. Zermatt could be a better choice for couples; the resort has a lovely atmosphere with small rickety streets lined with mazots and cute, cosy bars and restaurants. A morning ski over the border to Italy for a romantic lunch in one of many family-run mountain restaurants is a great way to escape the crowds.
Chamonix – Spectacular, but be prepared to encounter the odd stag weekend. Chamonix also has its romantic appeal, but a different kind. Come here if your other half likes hiking and gets turned on by a Patagonia shop or a rack of crampons!
St. Moritz – Splash the cash, dress up, if he or she can’t see the beauty of this valley then run a mile. For a kids-free weekend I’d also go for St. Moritz; very glam, some great bars, epic wide valley scenery, crazy shopping, its a proper escape.
Nendaz – Amazing views combined with cute, quaint bars and coffee shops with a local feel.
Val D’Isère -Enjoy a romantic meal at the L’Atelier d’Edmond restaurant. Or reserve a private bubble for a romantic aperitif with champagne on Valentines day!
Corporate team building weekend
Chamonix – Chamonix is a great choice for the corporate weekend on a budget; you can splash the cash on lavish, impressive dinners for your team for a fraction of the cost of the Swiss resorts. However, the skiing is challenging and some of the team might chose to duck it.
Verbier – Verbier is also awesome; great night life, good skiing, easy transfer, cool chalets and boutique hotels. The classic work weekend.
Zermatt – longer weekend, lots of good team building activities. Zermatt takes longer to get to unless you go by helicopter. That said it can be a fun alternative for the work weekend, with excellent mountain restaurants for a boozy lunch. Spend two nights to make the most of it.
St. Moritz – St. Moritz is unique. We can organise, at a price, an entire train for your party, branded for your company. That’s right, a branded train. You can also fly your team in direct to the resort in a chartered plane and the nightlife is impressive.
Nendaz – A bit quieter on the nightlife front but offers access to a massive range of terrain to suit everyone.
Val D’Isère -La Folie Douce is a famous apres ski location. Not to mention there’s plenty of on and off-snow activities to be getting on with.
On a budget
Verbier– Could be a little difficult. Although there is quite a range of accommodation, places to eat and shop on offer, prices are competitive and luxury is the name of the game. Not the best location for a budget holiday.
Zermatt – This town on a budget is a task, but not impossible. In low season there are some hotel rooms for as little as 70 CHF or you can choose to spend a night or two at the Matterhorn Hostel! The lift pass is expensive and ancillary purchases like hot chocolates and shopping add up, but if you’re willing to forgo some comforts, you can still experience skiing under the Matterhorn on a budget.
St Moritz – St. Moritz’s reputation as a destination exclusively for the rich and famous must be brutally contradicted! It is possible to stay in or nearby on a budget, while St. Moritz itself is expensive, there are small family run hotels that are affordable. St. Moritz is the name of one village but in reality the other connecting resorts are equally luxurious: Pontrasina, Sill Maria, Corvatch… In these lesser known spots are some of the Alps’ finest 5 * hotels and are the most authentic alpine villages. They also you’ll find smaller self catering options and family run hotels.
Chamonix – great prices, France, Eurozone enough said. Obviously, with the strong Swiss Franc, Chamonix will always be the cheaper option. There are also a range of hostels and auberges along the Chamonix Valley enabling access to the amazing terrain and scenery without breaking the bank.
Nendaz – Our best-value Swiss ES resort. The Printze sector lift pass is also cheaper and offers access to the quieter side of the 4 Valleys.
Val D’Isère -For France, Val is still on the upper end of the price range, although there are some great self serve restaurants if you want to save money at lunch. On a budget you can get goulash soup and free drinking water at the Cascade restaurant on the Val D’Isère glacier for 5€.
St. Moritz – boasts some unrivalled 5 * hotels such as Suvretta House which offers history, views and unbeatable service. The Kennedy boys went there as kids.
Zermatt -glory in the old style. Hotels that have seen the likes of Queen Victoria, Whymper, Churchill and Roosevelt.
Val D’Isère -A plethora of choice from traditional alpine to breathtaking modern style, right next to the pistes!
Chamonix -Chamonix has some impressive new builds worth looking into but for the most part it’s a vibe of faded glory meets French modernism.
Nendaz -everything from four-star hotel and spa deals to cosy, chalet-style hotels.
Verbier -Verbier didn’t really hit its stride until the 1970’s so we are afraid it doesn’t have any classics to offer here. However if there were a classic night club category, The Farm would win hands down!
Winner: St Moritz
Modern Hotel Wonders
Verbier -the W Verbier is possibly the coolest hotel in the Alps.
Zermatt -Anything designed by Heinz Julen will turn heads, and in Zermatt there are quite a few, including one hotel with a Jacuzzi that pops out of the roof above your bed.
Val D’Isère -Look to the stylish La Mourra and Le Refuge at the top of Solaise.
Also the big surprise of 2019/2020 is Mademoiselle Val D’Isère, the first Palace in Val D’Isère on the snow front with an amazing dedicated children’s area.
St. Moritz -some of the modern annexes of the classic hotels are a lesson in architectural refinement and interior luxury.
Nendaz -The 4* Hotel Nendaz 4 Vallées and Spa wins most luxurious hotel in Nendaz.
Chamoni –Rather tired 5*s with a few boutiques on the cheap.
Chamonix –French food will always win when it comes to value and quality. Sorry Switzerland.
Val D’Isère -On a budget you can get goulash soup and free drinking water at the cascade restaurant on the Val D’Isère glacier for 5€. Etincelle restaurant on the beginners’ area in the village does great quality meat and pizzas, including truffle pizza. CHANGE
Nendaz -A much cheaper, quieter alternative to Verbier.
Verbier –The word “cheap” and pretty much anything in Switzerland don’t always go hand-in-hand, but explore and you will find. Le Bec, the host shop Mountain Air is surprisingly good value and healthy too.
Zermatt –Home to a pizza delivery company with its own electro vehicle for the car-free resort famous for it’s expense. Or try the Pizza Factory in the Post Hotel.
St Moritz -The word cheap doesn’t exist this far east but the fish restaurant Murtaröl is worth a visit.
Late season skiing
Val D’Isère -closes the first weekend in May…the snow is still amazing. The snow is always good here as most of the skiing is above 1850. In Tignes, 2 Glacier areas operate all summer with runs to suit all levels.
Zermatt –lifts here are open 365 days a year and the mighty Glacier Paradise area stays open even through the hottest days of July and August. But by May the other areas are closed …
St Moritz –Depending on the snow year St Moritz has been known to stay open until the first week of May. However most of the hotels will begin to close to their doors earlier than this so getting a bed could be tricky.
Verbier –Lifts close on the last Sunday in April, there is a great closing party weekend and after that it is just for ski touring, sorry…
Chamonix –Ski touring at the end of the winter is often great, but for those of us who rely on the ski lifts, sorry again.
Nendaz -afraid it is all over here by the second half of April.
Winner: Val D’Isère
So, which one takes your fancy? If you would like any more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at European Snowsport. We are always happy to help!