The 10 Safest Ski Resorts To Visit During The Pandemic

The ski resort of Val Thorens, France, has been selected as the “European Best Ski Resort” for the 2020-2021 season for the fifth time, making it the most-awarded destination by the European Best Destinations organization.

This ranking is based on the votes of more than 640,000 travelers from 173 countries and considering both Covid-19 sanitary measures and travel restrictions. 

European Best Destinations (EBD) is part of the European Commission’s EDEN Network (“European Destinations of Excellence”), working to promote sustainable tourism on the continent that counts as the world’s leading ski-holiday destination.

Like Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe and awarded EBD’s “Clean United Label,” the ski resorts listed below are committed to welcoming travelers in a friendly and safe environment this winter.

The Clean United Label carries a commitment to respect the guidelines and recommendations of sanitary protocols and other recommended measures to help control the coronavirus.

Due to the fact that health rules impose social distancing — which implies fewer places available for accommodation and fewer people in ski lift cabins — EBD recommends that travelers book accommodation, ski passes and flights well in advance.

1. Val Thorens, France

Every winter for almost 50 years, Val Thorens has provided holiday-makers with magical experiences. At 2,300 meters above sea level, Val Thorens is the highest point of the 3 Valleys, the largest ski area in the world.

Val Thorens owes its exceptional reputation above all to its location but also to pioneer technological transformation such as the drone of the piste service, which assists the daily work of ski patrollers.

“This award recognizes imagination, a taste for risk, a pioneering spirit and teamwork, based on a common philosophy, ’Live United,’” explains Vincent Lalanne, the resort’s director. “ This is a great responsibility and an obligation of excellence that always drives us to work for the improvement and satisfaction of our customer.”

 Val Thorens has been warded the title of best ski resort in Europe five times, as well as several times with the title of best ski resort in the world.

“The most awarded ski resort awaits you this winter for a safe and fun holiday in Europe,” EBD adds.

Open & close dates: November 21, 2020 – May 9, 2021.

Sanitary measures:  Val Thorens adheres to the Clean United Label to respect the guidelines and recommendations to help control the virus.

 Traveling to France: Traveling from E.U. countries is allowed without restrictions. 

 Latest information here.

2. Kitzbühel, Austria

Kitzbühel is a perfect choice for skiers looking for some of the best ski slopes in Europe. It has been ranked in first place of the best ski resorts in Europe for the New Year and in the first place of the most beautiful ski resorts in Europe

Kitzbühel boasts a slogan as “the most legendary sports destination in the Alps,” a town that effortlessly combines tradition and sophistication. The legendary Hahnenkamm, a long sporting tradition and pioneering venture in Alpine golf including the Snow Polo World Cup, and other winter sports have all contributed to its worldwide reputation.

Today Kitzbühel remains a place of contrasts, where rustic Tyrolean guesthouses share the streets of the medieval old town with international designer boutiques.

 Open & close dates: October 19, 2020 – May 3, 2021

Sanitary measures: Mandatory masks in public transport, cable cars and shops. Covid-19 test free of charge.

Traveling to Austria: Entry from a country with a stable Covid-19 situation is possible without restrictions. 

 Latest information here.

3. Alpe d’Huez, France

The Alpe d’Huez resort is a perfect mix of fun, relaxation and sport and is recognized as one of the favorite resorts for families, friends, couples, beginners and experienced skiers.

It’s also one the best ski resorts for guaranteed snow and has been awarded the title of best ski resort in Europe three times, noted for its state-of-the art infrastructure offering indoor and outdoor sports and cultural activities.

Open & close dates: December 5, 2020 – April 24, 2021.

Sanitary measures: Floor markings in shops and hotels to guarantee social distancing as well as hydroalcoholic gel dispensers and cleaning standards have been put in place.  

Travelling to France: Traveling from E.U. countries is allowed without restrictions.

Latest information here.

4. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

Cortina d’Ampezzo is a world-renowned resort in northern Italy. It’s 40 kilometers from the Austrian border and famous for the quality of its slopes and modern infrastructure. Cortina d’Ampezzo – or simply Cortina- is Italy’s best-known mountain resort.

Skiers enjoy 120 kilometers of slopes of different levels, from beginner runs to the slopes of the Women’s World Cup spread over three ski areas, each with its unique characteristics: Faloria-Cristallo, Tofane and Lagazuoi-Cinque Torri-Giau, with magnificent views of the Dolomite Mountains and beautiful valleys.

Open & close dates: November 14, 2020 – April 14, 2021.

Sanitary measures: Cortina d’Ampezzo is preparing to host the world ski championships, which will take place from February 7-21, 2021, in the best sanitary conditions (including social distancing, masks and signposted routes). 

Entry restrictions: Specific entry rules for each country are available at ViaggiareSicuri

Latest information here.

5. Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn, Austria

Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn has been placed among the best ski holiday destinations for many years.

This Austrian resort is among the largest ski areas in the Alps, with 270 kilometers of slopes and an extensive range of activities, international flair and beautiful natural landscapes.  

Open & close dates: November 27, 2020 – April 11, 2021.

Sanitary measures: To guarantee a safe holiday, the resort’s employees working with customers have been regularly tested since September 1. So far, nearly 25,000 tests have been carried out on tourism professionals (hotels, campsites, hostels). 

Traveling to Austria: Entry from a country with a stable Covid-19 situation is possible without restrictions.

Latest information here.

6. Zermatt, Switzerland

Every year, Zermatt is ranked among EBD’s best ski resorts in Europe. It’s also been ranked among the most beautiful ski resorts in Europe, best destinations to visit by train and among the most luxurious ski resorts.

The snow-sports resort of Zermatt-Matterhorn Mountain with its breathtaking Alpine panorama and 360 kilometers of pistes at heights between 1,620 and 3,883 meters both in Switzerland and Italy, offer limitless and borderless skiing opportunities.

The village at the foot of the Matterhorn, surrounded by magnificent Alpine landscape and covered in snow at 1,620 metres (the level of the train station), looks like something out of a fairy tale.

Also there is Zermatt’s Snow Park, dedicated to freestylers and snowboarders.

Open & close dates: November 30, 2020 – May 1, 2021.

Sanitary measures:  Everyone must observe the rules on hygiene and social distancing and wear a mask in public transport, mountain rail, cableways and in shops.

Traveling to Switzerland: Traveling from E..U/E.A.A. countries, including the United Kingdom, is allowed. All travelers entering Switzerland from countries or regions that are defined as Covid risk areas must quarantine for 10 days. The Federal Office of Public Health keeps a list of countries concerned, which is updated regularly. 

Latest information here.

7. Megève, France

Chic and casual, Megève is one of the best ski resorts in France and a favorite among celebrities, actors and royalty.

With 260 kilometers of slopes, located at the heart of the Mont-Blanc massif, Megève’s skiing area benefits from an exceptional setting that permits full appreciation of the 445 kilometers of the Evasion Mont-Blanc skiing area.

“When skiing in Megève, skiers can contemplate old historical farmhouses dotted along the slopes while tasting local products in one of the many quality high altitude restaurants,” EBD suggests. 

Open & close dates:  December 12, 2020 – April 18, 2021. 

Sanitary measures: Megève applies the recommendations of the French State concerning the reception of travelers (social distancing, masks in closed places, cabins, ski lifts).

Traveling to France: Traveling from E.U. countries is allowed without restrictions.

Latest information here.

8. Sölden, Austria

With more than 140 kilometers of slopes covering all levels and abilities, 35 mountain lifts with no lift lines, the Sölden-Hochsölden ski resort stands for relaxed, stress-free skiing indulgence, because all accommodation can be found directly on the ski slopes.

At Sölden and Hochsölden, linked ski areas in the eternal ice ‘glacier slopes’ tower high above the Ötztal village and offer perfect snow conditions already from early September. That’s the time when the valley’s meadows and forests usually wear their most colorful dress, ranging from yellow to russet and dark red.

Snow is guaranteed between 1,350 and 3,340 meters above sea level from October through May thanks to a modern snowmaking system covering some 80% of all slopes.

Open & close dates: November 19, 2020 – May 2, 2021.

Sanitary measures: The Sölden slogan for this winter is “togetherness with distance.” Employees at hotels, shops and restaurants are tested weekly on a voluntary basis and the health and sanitary measures are continuously adapted to the official requirements of the Austrian government.

Traveling to Austria: Entry from a country with a stable Covid-19 situation is possible without restrictions.

Latest information here.

9. Gstaad, Switzerland

Gstaad is among the most famous ski resorts in the world and the prestige value of the brand is unrivaled.

The internationally-renowned brand is associated with luxury and high society, hence it’s not surprising to see Gstaad featured among the rankings of the most beautiful ski resorts in Europe and luxurious ski resorts in Europe.

With a history of tourism dating back more than 100 years in the region, the genuine Alpine lifestyle still prevails in Gstaad, home to some 200 agricultural businesses and more than 7,000 cows. Houses with a chalet architectural style dominate the villages in the region, of which the ski resort is its tourist center. Some of the cozy buildings date from the 15th century.

Open & close dates: November 6, 2020 – May 2, 2021. 

Sanitary measures: All mountain railways and ski schools as well as a majority of the hotels in the destination are offering guests a return guarantee. In case authorities mandate another lockdown due to Covid-19, the booked services will be refunded.

Traveling to Switzerland: Traveling from E.U./E.A.A. countries, including the United Kingdom, is allowed, in principle. All travelers entering Switzerland from countries or regions that are defined as Covid risk areas must quarantine for 10 days. The Federal Office of Public Health keeps a list of countries concerned, which is updated regularly. 

Latest information here.

10. St Antom am Arlberg, Austria

A gigantic ski area, packed with great events, cool traditions and unrivaled pistes, St. Anton am Arlberg is known as the “Cradle of Alpine skiing.”

With a state-of-the-art cable car systems, the Arlberg is the largest interconnected ski resort in Austria and the fifth-largest in the world.

 Open & close dates: The winter season will start on December 4, 2020.

Sanitary measures: for a relaxing and safe holiday this winter, St. Anton am Arlberg is committed to innovative sanitary measures that will serve as model region for the project “Covid-19 Risk Management Winter Tourism.”

 Traveling to Austria: Entry from a country with a stable Covid-19 situation is possible without restrictions.

 Latest information here.