The 13 Largest Ski Resorts on Earth

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Les Trois Vallee, the largest ski resort on Earth.
Les Trois Vallee, the largest ski resort on Earth.

We all know that bigger is better when it comes to ski resorts and many other things. In the USA, the biggest ski resort is Park City, UT and it’s 7,300 acres. There are ski resorts in the Alps that make Park City look like a kiddie hill.

So, where are the biggest ski resorts on Earth?  Mostly in the Alps, it’s true, but there are a couple of others outside of the Alps in North America. If you’re a true ski freak, checking out some of these enormous ski resorts would be extremely rewarding.

Swiss writer Christophe Schrahe has measured the largest ski resorts using digital techniques to create a list of the world’s largest ski resorts as per the kilometers of runs they have. 

Porte du Soleil... These resorts are so big you can't even really read the trail maps.
Porte du Soleil… These resorts are so big you can’t even really read the trail maps.

THE 13 LARGEST SKI RESORTS ON EARTH:

#1 = Les Trois Vallées, France @ 600km

#2 = Sella Ronda, Italy @ 500km

#3 = Paradiski (La Plagne/Les Arcs), France @ 425km

#4 = 4 Vallées, Switzerland @ 412km

#5 = Milky Way, France/Italy @ 400km

#6 = Matterhorn Ski Paradise, Switzerland/Italy @ 360km

#7 (New Entry) = Saalbach – Zell am See, Austria @ 345km

#8 = Les Sybelles, France @ 310km

#9 = Arlberg Ski Area, Austria @ 305km

#10 = Val d’Isere / Tignes, France @ 300km

#11 = Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes, France @ 475km (won’t be fully linked until 2021)

#12 = Park City, Utah @ 265km

#13 = Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia @ 253km

Paradiski is large.
Paradiski is large.

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49 thoughts on “The 13 Largest Ski Resorts on Earth

      1. At least five of the resorts listed above are made up of two or more resorts. In some cases offering a ticket good for an entire region.

        1. Yup…the 3 valeys is made up of Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens. However, these resorts were also added: Menuires, Brides les Bains, St. Martin de Belleville and Orelle. And Park city includes Canyons.

  1. Acres or hectacres is a better measurement.
    Many “runs” are in the eye of the interpreter and the ski resorts trail map, suspect.
    How about a ranking on vertical drop (feet/meters)
    How about a ranking on uphill lift capacity (skiers/boarders transported uphill per hour)

  2. yeah i always tell my american friends to come ski in The Trois Vallées, where i spend most of winter season… The backcountry domain is endless… i still discover new spots… i’ve been skiing in many places and i think this is the best !

    1. The problem with the french resorts, and also with this list, is that the french are cheating. They count off piste runs into the total slope kilometer count. Thus sometimes boosting the kilomeyers of slopes by maybe 25-30%. The worst example of this is Paradiski. Look at another map, and you see ‘Natur’ labelled on over 25% of the runs. And even in 3 Valleys they count a few off piste runs into the count. Verbier is also terrible at this even if they are in switzerland.

      Portes du Soleil, and even Arlberg (Sonnenkopf) in austria also count kilometers of runs that are not fully connected.

      And lastly, these NA resorts are not #11 nor #12 on the list. They are merely just #1 and #2 for NA resorts. There are a bunsh of european resorts between them and Tignes as well…

      Also of note perhaps is that The Sybelles claim to have 310km of slopes now. Moving them ahead of Arlberg and Tignes.

      Kaiser Brixental (which easily could also count the Kitchbühl area too if handling this like some other resorts) is at 284 km without the Kitchbühl area (170ish km).

      Saalbach is at 270km.

      Grand Massif is at 265km and Megeve is at 263km. Although both of these are in the highly questionable country of France.

      Alpe d’huez is another area boasting 250km, but I can swear at least 50, if not 100 km of these should never be counted, and are just narrow long off piste tracks.

      1. Have you ever tried to operate a snowcat with grooming implements? No? If so you would understand why large resorts cannot groom everything and leave “natur” or bump runs. Some steeper runs could be winched but it would not be cost effective.

  3. I realize someone always freaks out about these lists…not my intention here. However it doesn’t really make sense that in the article you mention Big Sky as the biggest ski area in the USA and then add Vail to the list and not Big Sky. Ya know?

  4. Your numbers are wrong. The Portes du Soleil beats all the others as it has 400km2 surface area but 650km of marked pistes/trails. Check your facts!!

      1. But Dolomiti Superski adds several resorts you need a car in order to reach. Such as Cortina d’Ampezzo and Kronplatz….

        If you want to count skipasses, then the list would totally change. I believe the largest skipass perhaps is the Salzburg area skipass with nearly 1800km of runs, and about 17 or 18 different systems…

  5. A lot of french mega-resorts have been left out of this list: Chamonix-Mont Blanc, L’alpe d’huez, Brides-les-bains and possibly more. And not sure you are using the right metrics for the ranking size.

    1. Chamonix is tiny compared to the above monsters.
      But it has lifts that get one very high very quickly and then one can choose radical mountaineering or radical ski descents.
      A great town as well.

  6. Scientist Schrage measures the total length of the runs (mid-line ) in km at a skiable domain where all such runs are connected by skiing. Dolomiti superski is indeed the largest in the world but not all runs are connected by skiing; you need to take a bus to cover some areas. So: the largest “connected” domain is the Trois Vallees = courchevel + meribel + val thorens. My favourite ski town in the world is Ortisei, Dolomiti Superski as well as my favourite skiing domain. And my favourite restaurant is La Cornette at La Chapelle d’Abondance in Portes du Soleil ski domail (France+Swiss). With no hesitation my most loved run is “peak to creek” at Whistler, an 8km run with 1800m vertical and the best hut for a lunch is, with no doubt, Wedelhutte, Hochzillertal, Austria. Looking fwd to the next season and wish you all bon-ski ⛷⛷⛷

  7. I’m not sure which is the better metric for size; skiable acres or total distance of runs. (In North America, Whistler-Blackcomb is significantly larger than Vail and Big Sky based on skiable acres. And I agree, sometimes trail maps count multiple runs that utilize the same terrain). However, in any case, it certainly makes no sense to include terrain that’s only served by bus, snowcat, helicopter or uphill hiking. Rather, contiguous terrain must be fully-served by lifts/gondolas/trams in order to be considered in any comparison.

    That said, it’s a really interesting discussion and I would love to see the author take a thoughtful look at everyone’s feedback and try to come up with an indisputable ranking for the rest of us to enjoy.

    Cheers!

  8. Since this year Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn is the largest ski resort in Austria with 270km, this must be on the 5th place.

  9. The list needs to be updated because especially the Austrian resorts are growing big time at the moment.

    I’m also surprised because of Portes du Soleil because I thought that was not fully connected by ropeways.

    To get an idea how big Paradiski is, check out this video: https://youtu.be/CsYhKXsoIfw

    1. Too bad they cheat by counting about 20 different ‘Natur’ runs. Adding up somewhere around 60-80km which in reality is off piste and never groomed.

      I hope one day EU will hand out big fines fot this type of bad marketing practises!

      Never been as disappointed as when I tried out some of these french resorts. Every black run is either a mogul hell, or a narrow laughable trail with a 10 degree angle.

  10. I want to take my family skiing for the February break from school. I live in NYC. what are suggestions for a nice place to go. Not to kill my bank account. My boys snowboard and my daughter skis

  11. To all
    Check also Let Grand Massif between Les Portes du Soleil and Chamonix.
    The 4th largest ski area in France, it has 146 runs (longest 14km)totalling 265 km and serviced by 71 lifts with access to extensive powder terrain.
    Vertical is 6000ft and skiing is over a versatile and magnificent scenery that include one of the best view of the Mt Blanc range.
    Sunny mountain ranges above and within the tree line with great powder quality.
    Interconnected resorts: Les Carroz, Morillon, Samoens (where the latest Club Med opened last Dec), Sixt Fer-a-Cheval and Flaine.
    (I went to primary school in Les Carroz- and also gave my first ski lesson there in 1973. After skiing, coaching and instructing around the World ever since, it is still my favorites domain!!)

  12. It’s super difficult to use piste km as a reaort size measure, because some resorts also consist of an astronomically large freeride/ off piste areas inbetween marked runs etc. Take saas fee for instance. Only 100km odd pistes is accounted for but the off piste terrain is pretty extensive there, and is not at all part of this calculation. Espace Killy (Val d isere/tignes) is also like this with vast off piste inbetween areas and hidden nicely.

    4 vallies is a special one where there is probably more ski routes/ tours there (non maintained, mogully, icey and usually quite difficult) than anywhere else so it’s sort of counted as both mark trails and off piste like the north american double blacks etc.

    Another thing to be considered beyond comparing a bunch of numbers used to compare piste milage is the layout of the resort and vertical. When a resort has more average vertical the place will feel much bigger as the runs aren’t as long and you need to spend more time on lifts (to move verically) to get around (laterally). Places like the zermatt and the 3 vallies put this into context with multiple huge runs with many measuring more than 10km which can efficiently place you in the next valley over or mountain. As opposed to zig accorss a mountain and having to catch multiple lifts and spend more time on shorter ski runs.
    Think Davos Klosters should have been on the list also with over 300km of piste. But yeah just a few thoughts that cross my mind for this subject.

    1. Cloudsplitter says there will never be consensus on biggest or best , but, my butt says it doesn’t matter as long as you loved it…i’ve skied five continents …and love’em all for different reasons…some are gone do to warming….or politics. Enjoy the moment.

    2. Sybelles also claims to have 310km of runs.

      But this talk regarding off piste seems foolish to me. Unless maintained, the runs should never be counted. I know many resorts do count mogul runs and narrow off piste trails (especially in france), but it is wrong. If that is the idea, then I can just make my own death run and ski down a suicidal path just to add the kilometers to the count.

      NO! ONLY GROOMED SLOPES COUNT!

      So unfortunately we need a heavy review on many of these resort maps. Verbier, Paradiski, Alpe d’huez and others cheat like mad when it comes to this… And moguls are not runs either. That is nature having taken it back. It needs to be groomed every day!

  13. in your rankings I have skied 1-9 then number 12 Whistler & without doubt the largest ski area in the world is The Super Dolomiti aprox 1500 km

  14. It’s funny how Europe is greener than America AND has more/bigger ski resorts. The Sierra Club Whackos running around America will never let our government approve large massive ski resorts like these. Thank God most of our ski resorts were created well before the Sierra Club came about. Had the Sierra Club come 1st lift access skiing in America wouldn’t have been allowed to exist.

    Down with the Sierra Club… Yes towards opening more land “like Europe” to make some BA ski resorts!

      1. Yes exactly. Then we had a massive expansion of permanently closed areas in the mid 1980’s spearheaded by the Sierra Club.

        And now we have tiny resorts that can’t expand because we have these die hard Sierra Club type people that think its horrible and sacrilegious to put anything new anywhere.

        The reason housing is so expensive in places like Truckee is you can’t build anything new without jumping through a million hoops to satisfy the regulations. By the time you navigate all the red tape you have spent so much money only rich people can afford it.

        Sierra Club = good intentions with unexpected negative consequences

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