Switzerland is home to some of the most famous ski resorts on the planet which unsurprisingly makes skiing in Switzerland incredibly popular. Even amongst the locals, it is an extremely popular sport!
With so many ski resorts, over 100, Switzerland is a skier’s paradise but your ski vacation can take a dive if you time it wrong, something all winter sports enthusiasts need to avoid.
This is especially the case after dropping a lot of hard-earned money, as ski vacations in Switzerland can be some of the most expensive in the world.
So, how do you visit Switzerland for a ski holiday during the winter ski season and guarantee an amazing time as much as possible? We run through everything you need to know about the best time to ski in Switzerland so you can do just that.
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Things to Consider When Planning to Ski in Switzerland
Swiss ski resorts, like all ski resorts, are dependent on great snow. Snowfall, as we all know, is out of our control and snow quantity and snow quality is becoming harder and harder to predict with the changing weather patterns.
Generally speaking, you get great snow combined with stunning weather in the months of January and February, making this the best time to ski in Switzerland with regards to the best snowfall but it might not align with the crowds.
Switzerland has also started seeing significant snowfall in December, so don’t be afraid of booking a ski holiday before Christmas.
Crowded ski resorts and slopes really put a dampener on ski holidays, especially if you know how to shred. Luckily the ability to avoid crowds is the one thing we have control of and there are specific times when Swiss ski resorts aren’t so busy.
Generally speaking, the ski resorts have fewer crowds from late November to mid-December, the last 3 weeks of January, the middle two weeks of March, and in April but not during Easter.
If you can book your ski holidays during these times, the best time to visit Switzerland to ski, you should have fewer crowds to contend with on the slopes.
But, you shouldn’t forget that most of Switzerland’s population like to ski on the weekends. This means any ski resorts close to large population areas or that are easy to get to, will have an influx of locals on the slopes.
You should also avoid going on a ski vacation in Switzerland over Swiss school holidays, and Swiss national holidays, as all the locals will be heading for the slopes during these times.
You should also avoid the first week of January, Christmas, and February as these are the busiest times for most ski resorts.
Open Lifts & Terrains
The lifts and terrains at most Swiss resorts open in October but this is never a guarantee as it depends on having enough snow. The snow starts in the higher altitude ski resorts earlier, but the lower altitude ski resorts are finding it harder to predict.
This makes October a risky time to go skiing as there is no guarantee of snow and the lifts and terrains might not be open. This is, of course, not the case if you are going to a ski resort like Zermatt where you can enjoy summer skiing or any ski resort with ample snow-making facilities.
In any case, check with the ski resorts beforehand so that you are not met with no snow or lifts, and can have a magical time.
Hotel Prices & Airfare
Now, skiing in Switzerland is expensive, and it is more expensive than its neighbors such as France. But, there are times when hotel prices and airfares are more affordable which makes the price a little easier to process.
As a general rule, you need to avoid peak season as this is when most ski resorts hike up their prices and airfares are at their highest. This means do not book a ski resort over Christmas, New Year, the first week of January, or any time in February.
The reason February needs to be avoided is that it is the peak of the winter ski season as it has the best snow and it is when the mid-term school holidays are for the whole of Europe.
If you want to go skiing in Switzerland on a budget, the best time to visit is late November, early December, and April while avoiding easter.
The Best Month For Skiing in Switzerland
Switzerland is one of the few places you can enjoy year-round skiing, as the glacier at Zermatt is literally open year-round. But, if you are looking for good snow conditions in the mountains, you are going to have to go skiing in Switzerland during the winter months.
Below, you will find a breakdown month by month of the general snow conditions so that you can pick the perfect time for you to go skiing in Switzerland.
Skiing in October
Not all ski resorts open in October and to go skiing in Switzerland during October, you are going to have to look to glaciers and higher-altitude ski resorts.
At the beginning of October, the glaciers start to get cool again and the best two mountain resorts to head to are Zermatt and Saas Fee. You can enjoy glacier skiing and some terrain parks too, with more trails open as October continues.
Towards the end of the month, the Italian resort Cervinia will have glacier snowboarding and skiing open, interlinked to the ‘Matterhorn Glacier Paradise’ of Zermatt.
Other popular resorts that offer skiing in October are Titlis at Engelberg and Glacier 3000 close to Gstaad & Les Diablerets. If you like to freeride, Diavolezza close to St Moritz should have some snowfall but be careful as it is very rocky.
By the end of October, the big resorts of Andermatt and Gemsstock should have some solid snow and will have some slopes open.
Skiing in November
At the beginning of November, some more ski areas are starting to see snow but it is going to be on and off a bit, and all snow dependent as to whether they open their lifts or not.
Both Zermatt and Saas Fee will be open and running hard, but we already knew that didn’t we?
The resorts that will start opening up will include the bigger Swiss resorts that we all know well. This includes Davos, St Moritz, Andermatt, Verbier, and more. Chances are, they will only be open at weekends though but you never know, so be sure to check.
By the end of November, the Swiss alps and its valleys should be getting good snow which is a sign that the winter season has started. This is when a lot of resorts will begin opening up and almost into full operation.
Skiing in December
Early December can see a ton of snowfall and if you are looking to get some epic powder before the crowds head in, then the first two weeks of December will be your first slot to go for it.
Almost all ski resorts are open and their lifts are operating all day every day, so access is excellent too and you should have fewer crowds.
The ski resorts of Verbier, Lauchernalp, and Crans Montana are solid bets for awesome ski conditions in early ski season but even look to the smaller ski resorts at high altitudes as they should be working too.
Spending Christmas on the ski slopes of Switzerland is like a fairytale. The charming alpine villages, Christmas markets, and festive cheer are all hard to beat. Plus, you get some great skiing conditions.
However, Christmas is also one of the most expensive times to go skiing in Switzerland and the busiest. So you will have crowded slopes and pay a pretty penny for it, but it is kind of worth doing once as there is nothing quite like Christmas in the Swiss alps.
Some of the best ski resorts to spend Christmas at include the stunning Grindelwald-Wengen ski area with its incredible setting and great facilities. Bridles, Belalp, and Aletsch Arena are also wonderful.
Of course, Saas Fee and Zermatt are also one of the best spots for Christmas.
Skiing in January
January is one of the best times to be skiing in Switzerland as the snow should have filled into the lower-elevation resorts and low valleys, meaning pretty much every ski slope in the country should be open for business.
January can provide the best skiing conditions that the ski season has to offer but you should be warned that avalanches are more common this time of year too.
But, you should still try to avoid the first week of January as this is a very busy time when the slopes are covered with people.
Later in January, think about heading to lower altitude spots like Leysin or Gstaad. If you are a pro and enjoy off-piste and freeriding, then head to spots like the Four Vallees, Davos-Klosters, and Crans-Montana.
If you are looking for serious powder then the resorts of Lauchernalp & Muerren Schilthorn, Diavolezzam, Andermatt, and Engelberg are the spots you should head to.
Skiing in February
February is the busiest time to be skiing in Switzerland but since every single resort in the country should have great snow, there are spots where you can find great skiing and fewer crowds.
Everyone will be rushing to the most well-known resorts in the Swiss alps, but you should do the opposite and go to the resorts that everyone doesn’t know about or aren’t popular enough to stay at for an Instagram picture.
But, once again, Swiss mid-term school holidays start in mid-February and this is the high season. Prices for hotels, ski passes, and accommodation are going to go through the roof so it is best to ski at the beginning and end of February to avoid these price increases.
Skiing in March
March is one of the best times to ski in Switzerland as it sees a reduction in crowds, and prices, and there is still excellent snow. This is particularly the case at the beginning of March, so if you are there in the first week, pretty much every ski resort is a place to go.
But, as March continues, snowfall decreases and temperatures increase which means the lower altitude ski resorts are simply not an option. When this happens, you are going to have to look at the resorts at higher altitudes.
This is actually when Zermatt and Saas Fee are at their best but you can also find great rides around the resorts of Grimentz-Zinal, Davos Klosters, and Verbier are all excellent too.
Skiing in April
In April, the lower elevation resorts will close in the first two weeks and it is time to party in the Alps. But, you can also find some great snowfall in the higher resorts.
The snow might be a little soft but when it happens, it will be as cheap as it gets and have the smallest crowds possible, so it should not be missed.
If you are looking to party, then Laxx and Zermatt are the places to be. Zermatt will also offer skiing of course, but Saas Fee will be closing towards mid-April.
You can find good ski touring at higher elevations too!
So, When Is The Best Time To Go Skiing In Switzerland?
The right time to go skiing in Switzerland is when prices haven’t jumped up, the crowds are thin, and you have great snow.
There are a few weeks in the year when all of these come together with amazing snow, and these are the first two weeks of December, the last 3 weeks of January, and the first two weeks of March.
If you can plan your trip for these weeks, you should have a great time!