When it comes to ski resorts, for some people, size isn’t everything. Many skiers are happy cruising around smaller areas coated with trees and idyllic villages without getting bored of skiing the same slopes repetitively. That said, for some skiers and boarders, not having a vast wealth of ski area so that you can see somewhere new each day can be a deal breaker and, as far as they are concerned, the bigger the better.
It’s important to note that many ski resorts measure their pistes based on how far a skier travels down the mountain, all the turns included. German journalist Christoph Schrahe then began measuring the ski slopes based on a straight ‘A to B’ measurement which means that Mr. Schrahe’s figures can be wildly different to what the ski resorts claim they are. Here is a list of the largest connected ski resorts in the world with Mr. Schrahe’s calculations as well.
Les Trois Vallées – 600km (542km Schrahe measurements)
The undisputed number one is still Les Trois Vallées, and by a fair margin. Les Trois Vallées consists of many resorts including Val Thorens, Méribel and Courchevel which are all extremely popular with British skiers. The ski area is consistently upgraded and well-maintained with 200 lifts, the majority of which are modern, high-speed chairlifts. The ski area is also one of the highest in Europe and therefore you can enjoy extremely long seasons ranging from mid-November right through until early-May.
Paradiski – 425km (402km Schrahe measurements)
Paradiski consists of the already gigantic ski areas of La Plagne and Les Arcs, there is now a link between the resorts called the Vanoise Express, a huge cable car that can carry over 200 people to and from each resort, a distance of 1,800 metres, in just 10 minutes. Paradiski comes in just ahead of the Les Trois Vallées with 202 lifts, giving it the largest amount of ski lifts in the world. Les Arcs and La Plagne are the bigger thriving resorts that are frequented by tourists and Peisey-Vallandry is more of a hidden gem nestled between the two.
Park City – 7,300 acres (360km Schrahe measurements)
Many American ski resorts aren’t as big as their European counterparts but Park City breaks that mould. Park City Utah is a pretty village with lots of character, it is now connected with its neighbouring Canyons Resort via an interconnecting gondola to produce 7,300 acres of skiable terrain making it the largest ski area in North America. The village has lots of soul, unlike some of its other American rivals, and is a favourite with tourists.
Sella Ronda – 420km (346km Schrahe measurements)
The Sella Ronda is part of the Dolomiti Superski and is a ski route that loops around the massive Sella mountain range in the scenic Dolomites. The circuit around the mountains is around 40km in length and connects resorts such as Val Gardena, Arabba, Alta Badia and Val Di Fassa. The Sella Ronda, whilst not the biggest, is certainly one of the most beautiful areas to ski in on this list.
Arlberg – 305km (305km Schrahe measurements)
The Arlberg consists of famous resorts such as St. Anton, Lech, Zurs, St Christoph and more. The 2016/2017 saw the entrance of the brilliant Flexenbahn lift that connected St. Anton and Lech via a super-fast gondola which has fully connected the ski area. The Arlberg also states that it has 200km of un-pisted itinerary runs (designated off-piste terrain) which would bring the ski area up to a total of 505km. The Arlberg proves to be a consistent favourite with tourists because of its constant improvements, wonderful Austrian traditions and fantastic skiing.
Craig Burton is Managing Director of Ski Solutions. Ski Solutions is the UK’s original ski travel agent with over 30 years’ experience in delivering high-end ski holidays to Europe and North America.