The south west of Switzerland is home to a number of the country’s very best ski resorts. It was announced recently that a new ski pass will be available for 2012-13 which will join three of these resorts up – providing skiers with 420km of piste to explore, and in doing so introduces a Swiss multi-resort pass to rival some of the established passes on offer in Austria, Italy and France.
With its high, snow sure resorts and best-in-the-world mountain restaurants, Switzerland is considered to have some of the best ski resorts in the world. Its traffic (and now largely smoking) free resorts are as popular during the summer as they are in the winter and many of the resorts are run by a small number of family businesses. Why does this matter? Because Switzerland’s ski resorts have retained every bit of their picturesque mountain village character and charm.
Unfortunately in the last few years the British pound has fallen against both the Euro and the Swiss Franc (more so against the Swiss Franc) meaning it’s become more exclusive to many UK skiers – however many skiers return year after year for exactly this reason; the exclusive, un-crowded resorts and luxury accommodation.
With the introduction of the new Swiss super pass it’s looking even better for those returning in 2012-13 or those wishing to try something a little different.
Introducing the Swiss Super Pass
The Swiss super pass will link the resorts of Villars and Gryon with the ski areas around Gstaad through both ski lifts and slopes. This combined area will now include the Glacier 3000, 116 ski lifts and 420 km of piste; making it one of the world’s 20 largest ski areas. It will still be possible to purchase lift passes for the smaller individual resorts within the ski area – an option not available for some of the other large ski areas.
Above: Les Diablerets – just one of the resorts to be joined up by the new Swiss super ski pass.
So what are the other super ski passes available?
Italy’s Dolomiti super ski pass
Thanks to the Dolomiti super ski pass you can ski on 1,200 km and use 450 lift facilities in 12 ski resorts. These include: Cortina d’Ampezzo, Kronplatz, Alta Badia, Val Gardena, Alpe di Siusi, Val di Fassa, Carezza, Arabba/Sellaronda, Marmolada, Sextner Dolomiten-Alta Pusteria, Valle di Fiemme, Obereggen, S. Martino di Castrozza/Passo Rolle, Valle Isarco, Trevalli-Moena/S. Pellegrino/Falcade, Civetta.
Like many ski passes there are a range of options from rechargeable chipcards to 1-28 day more traditional passes.
Above: The Italian Dolomites offer skiing in spectacular scenery
Austria’s Zillertal Super Skipass
This pass is valid for all areas in the Zillertal including the most well known resort of Mayrhofen. The pass opens up 671 kilometres of piste to explore with use of 174 lifts. South west of Mayrhofen is the Hintertux glacier, guaranteeing snow sure conditions. There are 2 – 21 day options and children born after 1st January 2007 go free of charge with reduced prices for children born after this date.
An added bonus is that almost all buses in the area as well as the Zillertalbahn (train) are free to use with the pass too. Passes can be bought from 1st December 2012.
France’s 3 Valleys lift pass
Les Trois Vallées started in 1973 and, what started out as the 3 valleys of Saint-Bon, Allues and Belleville, now actually includes a fourth. Set within this ski area is over 180 ski lifts, 600km of ski slopes and almost 2,000 snow cannons.
The 3 Valleys includes the resorts of Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Brides-les-Bains, Val Thorens, Les Menuires, St Martin-de-Belleville and Oreille.
America’s Vail Resort’s EpicPass
Vail resort’s Epic Pass is, well, epic. Covering the staggering resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood and Arapahoe Basin with no restrictions or blackout dates. There’s also the ability to track your progress across the mountain with Epic Mix – something Vail added to the experience last season.
Through the use of some clever technology you can download your entire route
to your PC, automatically update facebook and twitter with photos or stats from the slopes and compete for badges with other skiers on the mountain. We looked at this technology in a previous post, and as you will see, the EpicPass really is something else.
Crystal Ski offer ski deals to Switzerland and across Europe. For more information visit the Crystal Ski website.