Mountain hopping is more popular than ever, which is why the boom in large ski alliances continues to grow. Thanks to modern lift construction and the development of even difficult mountain passages, ski resorts are growing ever closer together to form large ski alliances. SnowTrex introduces you to the largest ski areas in the Alps, known as interconnected ski areas.
The largest ski areas in the Alps at a glance
|Kilometres of slopes
1. Ski area Arosa-Lenzerheide/Switzerland
The Swiss have also started to make domes. One highlight, for example, is the combined Arosa-Lenzerheide ski area. The huge ski region in Graubünden has a total of 225 kilometres of pistes. Two aerial tramways run between the Hörnli (2,511 m) above Arosa and the Urdenfürggli (2,546 m). Here too, special attention was paid to nature. The project was designed to have as little impact on the environment as possible, which the operators have achieved. Two single-track cable cars run independently of each other on the column-free route, ensuring economically and ecologically efficient utilisation.
2. Tignes-Val d’Isère ski area/France
France is famous and notorious for its mega ski resorts with so many kilometres of pistes that you can hardly ski them all in a week’s holiday. The Tignes-Val d’Isère ski area is not quite as wild, but there are a considerable number of pistes here too. Several lifts connect the fantastically beautiful Val d’Isère with the nearby ski resort of Tignes. Together, they cover around 300 kilometres across three mountains plus 20 km of off-piste routes, making this huge area one of the largest in France. Everything is available here, from eternally long carving pistes to the Olympic downhill run and a deep snow paradise for freeriders.
3. Paradiski ski area/France
With around 425 kilometres of slopes, the gigantic Paradiski ski area in the French Savoie region is a whole lot bigger. It consists of three resorts: the large areas of La Plagne and Les Arcs as well as the smaller Peysey Vallandry. Les Arcs and La Plagne are connected by the Vanoise Express, providing access to two glacier areas on the Aiguille Rouge (3,226 m) on the Les Arcs side and the Bellecôte (3,417 m) on the La Plagne side. The range of pistes and off-piste runs is correspondingly large and varied for all ability levels. From a floodlit halfpipe and several snow parks to off-piste runs and ski tours to the 15 km long valley run to Montchavin, there really is everything here.
4. Ski area Les Trois Vallées/France
Anyone who thinks that the French areas mentioned above are already huge should visit what is probably the most legendary ski area, the “Three Valleys” area of Les Trois Vallées in the Savoy Alps. The bombastic ski network includes the ski resorts of Courchevel, Méribel, Val Thorens/Orelle and Les Menuires/Saint Martin, each of which has a top-class ski area in its own right. Skiers can travel seamlessly between the three valleys of Courchevel, Méribel and the Vallée des Belleville. With 600 km plus 50 km of ski routes for freeriders, this mega area is the largest interconnected ski area in the world!
5. Ski Arlberg ski area/Austria
France is the leader when it comes to the largest ski areas, but Austria also has high-quality ski regions with modern lifts and a huge range of offers on and off the piste. The Ski Arlberg ski area is the largest interconnected ski area in Austria! Whether Zürs, Lech, Stuben, St. Anton, St. Christoph, Oberlech, Schröcken or Warth – winter sports enthusiasts can enter the ski area in any of these resorts and then reach any of them on skis or snowboard. This means a total of 305 kilometres of fun on the slopes! Insane!
6. Ski Amadé ski area/Austria
Bergbahnen Wagrain in Pongau has helped to build what it describes as a “gigantic project”. The “G-Link” gondola connects the Grafenberg and Grießenkareck ski mountains in the Ski Amadé network. The gondola transports 130 people and is suspended from a cable with a span of 2 kilometres. The giant gondola floats from the valley station of the “Flying Mozart” (1,233 m) on the Grießenkareck over the village of Wagrain to the Grafenberg Express 1 2 (1,240 m). Thanks to the G-Link, a seamless swing between the three valleys of Flachau, Wagrain and St. Johann/Alpendorf has been possible for several years. This means there are a total of 115 kilometres of pistes to choose from.
Just over half an hour’s drive east of Wagrain, there is another ski area to be proud of. Not far from the majestic Dachstein, in the Schladming-Dachstein ski region, lies one of the most extensive ski areas in Austria. Schladming was in the spotlight in 2013 when the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships were held here. The interconnected ski area is also truly world-class. The 4-mountain ski area of Hauser Kaibling (2,015 m), Planai (1,906 m), Hochwurzen (1,850 m) and Reiteralm (1,860 m) is connected by pistes and gondolas and opens up a total of 185 kilometres of pistes with 44 cable cars.
8. Skijuwel Alpbachtal-Wildschönau/Austria
Two valleys, six villages, one ski region. The Alpbachtal and Wildschönau ski areas in the Kitzbühel Alps were merged in 2012 to form the Alpbachtal-Wildschönau ski region, which spans the valleys. As the region is considered one of the most beautiful in the Alps and Alpbach was also voted the most beautiful village in the Alps, the ski region can rightly call itself a ski jewel. The 8-seater “Alpbach-Wildschönau” gondola lift runs in two sections from Inneralpbach to the Schatzberg above Wildschönau. This connection gives winter sports enthusiasts access to a total of 145 kilometres of pistes and 47 lifts. Parents with children can look forward to wide family pistes, piste cracks to the challenging red and black runs and freeriders to 16 kilometres of ski routes.
9. Dolomiti Superski/Italy
One of the most famous ski swings is located in the Dolomiti Superski ski region in the South Tyrolean Dolomites. The local swing is more of a one-day circuit, the very popular Sella Ronda. It was the first ever large ski circuit and leads around the Sella massif over several ski swings. Skiers pass through the four valleys of Val Gardena/Gröden, Alta Badia, Arabba and Fassa Carezza on the route. In total, an average skier will need around 2 hours for the 26 km of runs, not including lift rides. If you are so enthusiastic about the tour that you want to do it again – which is very likely – you can set off on the Sella trail again the next day. But then in the other direction, as the circuit can be travelled both clockwise and anti-clockwise.