Top 5 Biggest Ski Areas in Europe

3 April, 2024 29 min read

Europe is home to some of the world’s largest ski areas which attract winter holidaymakers from around the globe. These impressive, interlinked alpine ski areas consist of 100s of kilometres of runs to explore, offering something for every level of skier and snowboarder, from complete beginners to backcountry pros. 

One thing is for sure, when visiting these mammoth ski areas you certainly won’t get bored! For snow enthusiasts seeking vast expanses of terrain and boundless opportunities for exploration, read on to discover the top five biggest ski areas in Europe.

1. Les Trois Vallées, France – 600km

3 valleys

Les Trois Vallées, ‘The Three Valleys’, is not only the biggest ski area in Europe but also the biggest ski area in the world! The ski region, set in the Tarentaise Valley of the French Alps, connects 8 French ski resorts and has a grand total of 600km of interlinked, pisted terrain. The Three Valleys ski area is accessible with one ski pass from the following ski resorts:


Les Trois Vallées is serviced by 159 ski lifts and has 337 pistes, of which 53 are green runs, 136 are blue runs, 113 are red runs and 36 are black runs. There is also plenty of
off-piste terrain to explore if you are looking for a little adventure. There’s even a secret ‘fourth valley’ above Orelle. Despite its size, you can ski from one side of the three valleys to the other in a day! The area boasts some of the best après ski in the French Alps, so you will have plenty of opportunity to let off some steam after a long day on the slopes! 

2. Les Portes du Soleil, France & Switzerland – 650km (not fully interconnected) 

Portes Du Soleil

This one is slightly tricky because, in total, this ski area has 650km of pistes which would make it larger than the proclaimed biggest ski area in the world, Les Trois Vallées. However, the 650km of pistes are not fully interconnected, so it loses a few points for this, knocking it down to position two.

Officially, there are 426km of interlinked pistes in Les Portes du Soleil. To access the other 224km of piste you may have to use a ski bus or car. Despite this slight lack of connectivity, there is plenty of terrain to explore, spanning two countries! Les Portes Du Soleil became the world’s first cross-border ski area in 1969, connecting a total of 13 ski resorts across France and Switzerland:

France:


Switzerland:


Les Portes du Soleil is serviced by 208 lifts and has 308 runs, of which 39 are green runs, 130 are blue runs, 105 are red runs and 33 are black runs. The ski area features some excellent snowparks around
Avoriaz for freestyle enthusiasts and is home to one of Europe’s most challenging runs, the Swiss Wall. The area is particularly popular with families thanks to its family-friendly ski resorts and multitude of beginner-friendly terrain. 

3. Paradiski, France – 425km  

Paradiski

Over a decade ago, the Vanoise Express, a double-decker cable car, was built to connect the famous ski resorts of La Plagne and Les Arcs. This created the Paradiski ski area, which has a total of 425km of interconnected pistes. Although the two major ski resorts it covers are La Plagne and Les Arcs, the vast ski area also reaches the smaller resorts around the two main hubs, connecting 12 resorts in total:

La Plagne:


Les Arcs:


In the Paradiski ski area, you will find 260 pistes, of which 12 are green runs, 135 are blue runs, 77 are red runs and 37 are black runs. The area also has 100km of
cross-country skiing trails, 2 snowparks and 2 glaciers. Over 70% of the Paradiski ski area sits above 2,000m, making it a great destination for snow-sure skiing

4. Les 4 Vallées, Switzerland – 410km 

4 valleys

The 4 Vallées ski area is the largest ski area in Switzerland and one of the biggest in the Alps. The popular upmarket resort of Verbier, attracting the rich and famous, sits in the heart of the ski area and is connected to 5 other Swiss resorts by 410km of linked pistes. Accessible with one ski pass, Les 4 Vallées connects the following ski resorts:


Serviced by 93 ski lifts, Les 4 Vallées ski area has 203 runs, of which 77 are blue runs, 106 are red runs and 20 are black runs. The slopes reach up to 3,330m at the summit of Mont Fort, which offers breathtaking vistas of the surrounding peaks and year-round glacier skiing. 

5. La Vialattea ‘The Milky Way’, Italy & France – 400km 

La Vialattea

La Vialattea or ‘The Milky Way’ offers 400km of pisted terrain accessible from France and Italy. In 2006 the Italian side of the ski area hosted the Winter Olympics and, thanks to the investment brought by the event, major improvements were made to ski lifts, making it possible to now ski from one side of the mountain to the other within a day. La Vialattea is accessible from 6 ski resorts across Italy and France:

Italy:


France:


The ski area has 70 ski lifts and offers a total of 295 ski slopes, of which 9 are green runs, 95 are blue runs, 154 are red runs and 37 are black runs. If you are looking for a budget-friendly ski trip that doesn’t limit your skiing, La Vialattea is a great option thanks to
cheaper ski pass prices and accommodation

Discover All That the Mountains Have to Offer! 

These tremendous ski areas across the Alps are some of the biggest and best in the world, offering more than enough terrain to keep you entertained for the entirety of your ski trip. But with so many routes to take, they can be hard to navigate. No matter your level of experience, booking a guide/instructor is a great way to discover all that a ski resort has to offer. 

An instructor can show you the best runs for your ability and help you navigate the ski area without worrying about getting lost. It’s always better to have someone with you who knows the resort well to make sure you end up in the right country at the end of the day! 

Book your ski instructor on Maison Sport today! 

You might also like: 10 of the Most Snow-Sure Ski Resorts in Europe

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