Although purpose built ski resorts do tend to win on their high altitude; and therefore more guaranteed snow offering, as well as their accessible slopeside accommodation, they certainly lack a degree of charm. If you are keen to enjoy your snow quality but at the same time appreciate a stunning dramatic backdrop you need to cast your net out a little wider to catch some of the more aesthetically pleasing resorts.
These, more picturesque ski resorts, tend to be broken down into satellite villages with access to one extensive ski area or indeed they take the form of historic, working towns where the excellent skiing has evolved uncompromisingly in the background. To aid you in your quest to find these natural wonders, we have compiled a list of our top 10 most picturesque ski resorts.
Megeve ski resort, France
The World's Most Picturesque Ski Resorts
Nestled beneath the magnificent Matterhorn, Zermatt (shown above) plays host to some of the most breathtaking views. Its traffic free village centre is filled with charming chocolate box chalets and hotels with only the noise of the horse drawn sleighs to distract you. The skiing appeals to all abilities with many of the lower runs descending down very scenic tree lined pistes.
The unspoilt beautiful resort of Wengen affords stunning views over the mighty Eiger and is accessed by an enchanting mountain railway, as no traffic is permitted in the town. Traditional architecture with beautifully renovated interiors adorn the resort bringing immaculate quality and comfort together in the 21st century. The skiing appeals to all age groups and abilities and is dramatically picturesque.
Undoubtedly one of the most stunning resorts to be seen ( and seen in!) in Europe is Lech. Just over the valley from its more rascal-like neighbour St Anton, Lech enjoys a more serene, sophisticated status, basking in the light of its stunning panoramic views. Access to the impressive Arlberg ski circus is at your doorstep!
With chocolate box chalets a-plenty, this charming Swiss ski resort has something to offer everyone that is fortunate enough to visit. Its impressive altitude is not only high enough to enjoy superb snow conditions but also glittering tree lined views. A cultural feast awaits at the end of an energising day on the slopes as the town itself is packed full of history.
With access to the Dolomiti Super Ski Area, this World Class resort not only has access to some of the best skiing on offer but also affords its guests some of the most breathtaking alpine panoramic vistas. Of the epic movie "Cliffhanger" fame, Cortina is renowned for its natural beauty, stunning architecture and tantalising shopping.
The captivating village of Champery, with its beautiful traditional chalets nestled in amongst the trees, is the perfect access point to enjoy skiing and snowboarding in the vast ski domain of the Portes du Soleil. Les Dents du Midi, the aptly named peaks, tower in the background and set the most perfect stage for this rustic yet sophisticated resort.
Typically Tyrolean is a phrase that springs to mind, with its snow laden overhanging eaves and peaceful views over the local majestc peaks. The attractive resort of Alpbach is one of the jewels in Austria's crown and is indeed a true winter wonderland with superb skiing and comfortable, high quality accommodation.
The picture postcard resort of Murren is situated up at an altitude of 1650m and is only accessible by cable car and mountain railway. The traffic free centre is decorated by the most cosy Swiss chalets, who appreciate stunning views of the Eiger, the Mönch and the Jungfrau.
If you are looking for a really pretty resort which combines traditional sophistication with modern facilities and comforts, look no further than Arosa. Beginner and intermediate skiers will enjoy the gentle runs whilst taking in the breathtaking views.
From its origins as France's equivalent to Switzerland's pioneer of elegance in the mountains, namely St Moritz, the charming town of Megeve has only grown in peoples' affections over the decades. Set around a rustic Medieval centre (seen above), this chic resort needs little introduction as one of France's best known playgrounds for the rich and famous. Stunning scenery acts as a lavish background to its' many stylish luxury hotels and chalets.
For more, read our top 5 picturesque ski resorts blog