The birthplace of ski tourism, Switzerland has the snow, the epic scenery, properly pointy mountains, and impeccable style and service. It also, of course, has the highest prices in Europe.
And with so many high-altitude resorts, snow is pretty much guaranteed: Switzerland is home to Europe’s largest glaciers and has the most peaks in Europe over 4000m. Yes, Switzerland’s still got it.
Grindelwald: This is one of the few resorts in the Bernese Oberland that occasionally mistakes itself for a genuine city rather than an artificial tourist creation. It offers a healthy dose of restaurants, bars, discos, and, unfortunately, traffic. There are a lot of affordable accommodations here — it’s not nearly as snobby as some of the other resorts. Many skiers use it as a base camp for long-haul excursions to the slopes of First, Männlichen, and Kleine Scheidegg. From Grindelwald, the resorts of Wengen and Mürren are accessible by cog railway and/or cable car (no traffic!).
Gstaad/Saanenland: Gstaad is the most elegant pearl in the larger ski region of Saanenland, on the western edge of the Bernese Oberland. Although you can find a few inexpensive lodgings if you’re lucky, don’t count on it. The jet set comes here to see and be seen, and there’s a lot to do off the slopes, such as music festivals, shopping, and people-watching. The architecture is stubbornly alpine, and the interior decorations range from baronial and woodsy in the most expensive hotels to kitschy in the cheaper ones. Opportunities for skiing are widespread, but the slopes are hardly the most difficult in Switzerland. Skiing is best for beginners and intermediates.
Mürren: One of the most oddly positioned resorts in Switzerland, Mürren sits on a rock ledge high above the Lauterbrunnen Valley of the Bernese Oberland. Accessible only by cable car, it’s among the most picture-perfect resorts, full of chalet-style architecture and completely free of traffic. Though its isolation makes it charming, it also makes the cost of staying here somewhat higher. Mürren is closer than any other resort to the demanding slopes of the Schilthorn, where experienced skiers are offered nearly 32km (20 miles) of some of the finest powder in Europe — and eagle-eyed panoramas over some of the most dramatically beautiful landscapes.