If you love to ski, you probably have your favorite go-to destinations. But does your list include some of the largest ski resorts in the world? Recognized as a snow-lover's mecca, the Alps offer more skiing per square kilometer than anyone could hope to find in the U.S. or any other non-European country. For those looking for sheer space and size over anything else—as well as incredible experiences in fancy five-star resorts offering dozens of après-ski activities—here are the world’s six largest ski resorts by area.
1. Portes du Soleil – France & Switzerland
Portes du Soleil is the biggest of the largest ski resorts in terms of sheer area. The fact that it lies in the Franco-Swiss domain means that its skiing areas are not entirely linked up like the others on this list. However, it must be acknowledged as the largest in square kilometers. Many individuals who prefer a fully linked resort will be annoyed by how much time it takes to go from one area to another, sometimes needing a bus just to get to the part of the resort you seek. Still, if you've ever wanted to ski France or Switzerland, where better to go than a place where you can accomplish both in one day?
2. Les Trois Vallees – France
When compared to the Les Trois Vallees (the Three Valleys), however, which is all completely connected, Portes du Soleil may seem to shrink. Offering 105 square kilometers of area where guests can ski and over 62,000 meters of combined vertical drop, this is the grandest, if not entirely the largest, ski resort of them all. The resort has been around for over 40 years and offers its patrons an option to plan their ski trips and itinerary through a personalized iPhone app.
3. Sella Ronda – Italy
The Sella Ronda is a bit of a mystery in terms of its actual size, as it was estimated some time ago and not again since. The circuit’s length is around 40 kilometers, although it also offers a number of valleys nearby. The resort itself is seeing a rise in popularity and is more often included in lists of the world’s largest ski resorts.
4. Paradiski – France
Paradiski connects two enormous ski areas, Les Arcs and La Plagne, which helped it become as large as it is today. Guests can cross the valley between the two areas via cable car and take in the spectacular views. The ski resort offers 264 pistes and a peak height of 3,250 meters. Guests can stay in one of three resorts, Les Arcs Paradiski, Peisey-Vallandry Paradiski, or La Plagne Paradiski, which means a different experience is possible every time an individual returns to the area.
5. 4 Vallees – Switzerland
Guests can almost always be sure of snow coverage in this particular area, which still offers some of the most skiing by area in the world. With seven downhill trails, 500 kilometers of cross-country trails, 410 kilometers of pistes and 23 enduro trails, 4 Vallees offers individuals ski experience options that most suit their enjoyment of the sport. In addition, 4 Vallees has a strong après-ski presence, unlike any other resort.
6. Via Lattea – France & Italy
Via Lattea offers a technologically advanced opportunity to move with ease from one side of the ski resort to the other when, just a few short years ago, the act of doing so took almost all day. As one of the largest ski areas in the world, Via Lattea (Milky Way) offers three resorts in Italy and one in France, as well as nearly 250 connected runs and 70 lifts. Elevations can increase to as high as 2,800 meters when guests reach the summit of Monte Motta. Via Lattea offers visitors the chance to ski without borders, and though it is much smaller than the Portes du Soleil in terms of area, it seems truly able to deliver on this promise.