Best Ski Resort Awards 2016

Rankings of top ski resorts in over 20 categories

49,000 winter sports enthusiasts have re-elected

Who has the most satisfied guests? Which offer of slopes is evaluated the best? Where do you feel to get the most for your money? What is the most impressive natural landscape? Where excites the ambience? Where do the best parties take place at après ski?

The prestigious study “Best Ski Resort” (Mountain Management in cooperation with the University of Innsbruck) has surveyed 49,000 winter sportsmen on the slopes of 54 selected top ski resorts in the Alps regarding their satisfaction in more than 20 categories in the past ski season and is presented on November 10 in Bregenz:

In the cross category overall evaluation with outstanding satisfaction defending champion Zermatt in Switzerland takes the most popular place on the victory stage – just followed by Livigno in Italy and Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in Austrian Tyrol.


The top 10 of the category-wide evaluation are:

The first place is Zermatt (CH, 8.49 points) followed by Livigno (I, 8.48 points) and Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis (A, 8.33 points).

In the ranks four to ten follow: 4. Kronplatz (I), 5. Saas Fee (CH), 6. Val Gardena (I), 7. Adelboden-Lenk (CH), 8. Alta Badia (I) 9. Aletsch Arena (CH) and 10. Obergurgl-Hochgurgl (AT).


The 10 best ski resorts in detail


Largest “on mountain” survey in the Alps

The special feature of the study, which is published every two years by Mountain Management Consulting in collaboration with the University of Innsbruck: The jury consists of 48,788 winter sportsmen (representative from beginner to professional) interviewed directly at the slopes of 54 selected top ski resorts in the Alpine region. Skiers and snowboarders provided information on more than 20 categories of “relevance” and “satisfaction”. The surveys were carried out in the respective winter sports resort for four times: two times each in the main and secondary season. Best Ski Resort is thus the largest “on mountain” survey of the Alps.


Snow safety is becoming more and more crucial

The size of the ski resort and the slopes offer is decision criterion No. 1 in the selection of the resort for skiers and snowboarders. The steadily increasing number of associations of individual ski resorts reflects the response of the regions. The rule of thumb is obvious: the desire for a large area increases with the skill on the slopes. Winter sports enthusiasts in Val Gardena, in the heart of the Sella Ronda, were particularly satisfied in this category. The region also leads the Zermatt ranking, which was again top in the quality of slopes category, and Alta Badia / Dolomiti-Superski in Italy.

Compared to the previous year’s results, however, the category ski resort size / slope offers shows a slight decline – in favour of the category snow safety: for many the desire for white winter magic on the skiing holiday in the past few years remained unfulfilled. The study shows how important the “white factor” for skiers is with a clearly increasing relevance of the snow safety in the selection of the ski area: no other decision criterion has increased since 2010 more. Glacier areas are an advantage here. With Saas-Fee and Zermatt, two ski resorts in the Swiss Valais are at the forefront in the ratings of the category, followed by Livigno in Italy.

Fun and entertainment also, the gastronomic offer on the mountain as well as family friendliness are important when choosing the destination. As in previous years, Ischgl recorded the highest satisfaction ratings in the categories fun / entertainment and après-ski. Laax remains the Fun- and Snowpark Mecca of the Alps. Little skiers feel the most comfortable in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, – the ski resort has been the undisputed leader of the ski area since 2010. Another perennial issue is Sulden (I). Here, the service rendered seems to be particularly attractive to the price, which is an important factor in the purchasing decision as the price increases.


Conclusion: The competition is getting harder. Whoever wants to exist must invest and be creative

The increasing tourist offer in winter – with long-distance, city and ship trips – raises the competitive pressure on ski regions. Rising satisfaction figures of the winter sportsmen confirm the high commitment of some regions in the area of new products and service quality. Interestingly, the top riders among the ski resorts are growing more positively than the rest. That with a progressive expectation. Winter guests in Zermatt, for example, once again confirmed the top position in the cross-category satisfaction rating and thus attested to the region a particularly good hand for their efforts and investments. This is backed up by 14 top 5 results in various categories.

According to the study manager Mike Partel, the current biggest challenge for ski resorts is to react proactively to changing guest behaviour, or, more precisely, to the decreasing loyalty (about 30% change continually the ski resort). The guests are not satisfied but want to see and experience – in contrast to previous generations. It will be a matter of increasing “wow effects”. Guests will be inspired by that in the future, so they recommend the ski region.


Popular categories in detail:

Which ski resort is best for me? The next skiing holiday is approaching, but where should it go? A look at the currently published rankings of the Best Ski Resort Study helps in the decision.



1) Size does matter! Lush ski slope offer, considerable ski resort size – Val Gardena convinces

Val Gardena in the Dolomiti-Superski group is at the top of the satisfaction scale of the category “slope offer” and “ski size” this time. No wonder the Sella Ronda ranks among the highlights of the Alps and you are right in the middle in Val Gardena. Zermatt, the category winner of 2014, ranks in second place, while Alta Badia is the third place in the Dolomites. The French ski resort “Les 3 Vallées” and the Austrian Ischgl with the ski resort to Samnaun reached places 4 and 5 of the satisfaction ranking.

The Top-5 in the category size of the ski resort / slopes:
1. Val Gardena, 2. Zermatt (CH), 3. Alta Badia (I), 4. Les 3 Vallées (F), 5. Ischgl (AT)


2) Winter wonderland Saas Fee

Many ski resorts have started badly in the last winter season due to lack of snow. It quickly became clear that the availability of the necessary capacity for the rapid preparation of the slopes is important at so-called “snow-making days” (when the outside temperature permits snowmaking). Especially satisfied with the white splendour were the guests again in Saas Fee and Zermatt in the Swiss Valais. The glaciers also offer a safe and secure alternative. Behind Livigno (I), two other glacier regions, Sulden and Stubai Glacier, complete the Top 5.

The top 5 in the category snow safety:
1. Saas Fee (CH), 2. Zermatt (CH), 3. Livigno (I), 4. Sulden (I) and Stubaier Glacier (AT)


3) Great parties take place in Austria – Ischgl remains first in nightlife

Our neighbours know obviously how to entertain their guests. Eight Austrians are among the top 10 in the après ski category. Those who are “sporty” in terms of party and downhill skiing find a perfect spot this year in Ischgl in Tyrol. High satisfaction values confirm the “party mecca” and keep the region (associated with the Swiss Samnaun) in the ranking for ski resort / ski resort size in the top 5. New on the winner’s s rostrum of the party heroes is St. Anton am Arlberg (2nd place).

Top 5 in the après-ski category:
1. Ischgl (AT), 2. St. Anton am Arlberg (AT), 3. Livigno (I), 4. Zermatt (CH), 5. Sölden (AT)


4) LAAX is freestyle. Freestyle is LAAX.

Laax is “the place to be” for snowboarders and friends of free skis. Laax has a tradition of freestyle. Laax is a cult. Snowboarding here has its European roots and stays at the forefront of satisfaction in the fun & snow park category thanks to millions of investments. In addition to many well-known faces of the scene are the world’s biggest half-pipe, a pro-kicker line in Olympic size and over 90 obstacles spread over four snow parks. Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis confirms with rank three its stock place of 2014 also.

The Top-5 in fun & snow parks:
1. Laax (CH), 2. Livigno (I), 3. Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis (AT), 4. Kronplatz (I), 5. St. Moritz (CH)


5) Transport comfort at its finest – guests at the Italian Kronplatz benefit from the millions of investments

As comfortable as possible, as fast as possible! Continuous expansion in this area is rewarded by the highest satisfaction levels. Thus also at the Italian Kronplatz; great praise of the winter sports guests reflects the acceptance of the great investment of the mountain railway operators. In particular, for the generous 50+ generation, transport comfort seems to be particularly important. The Austrians are ahead in terms of transport comfort for lifts and railways in the comparison of countries. Furthermore, winter sportsmen in France see a need for action.

The Top-5 in the category transport comfort:
1. Kronplatz (I), 2. Adelboden-Lenk (CH), 3. Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis (AT) and Obergurgl-Hochgurgl (AT), 5. Ischgl (AT)


6) Beautiful living – in Lech-Zürs am Arlberg

For many guests, first and foremost visitors, the criterion of hotel / accommodation is a very important factor regarding the decision for the winter holiday destination in the mountains (4th place among decision-making criteria). The winter sports enthusiasts in Lech-Zürs am Arlberg were especially satisfied. Fans of snow sports can look forward to another highlight this winter: the range of slopes is expanded by the new connection with St. Anton, which is expected to increase the satisfaction in the overall evaluation.

The top 5 in the category accommodation / hotels:
1. Lech-Zürs am Arlberg (AT), 2. Sulden (I) and Zermatt (CH), 4. Kronplatz (I) and Saas Fee (CH)


7) Little skiers and families – fairy tale happiness in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in winter

The Austrians convince with a top family offer (since 2010 at the top of the satisfaction position) in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis. Whether “Berta’s Kinderland”, the “Murmli-Park”, the “Schneisenfeger” or the “Fisser-Flieger”… fun, action and variety is provided here. The professionalism of this ski region proves that the ski schools and the area of rent / service also reach the highest level of satisfaction. Despite an increasing expectation pressure (Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis has always been among the top three in the region since 2012), the region has been able to increase permanently its satisfaction levels. The enthusiastic kids will be back!

The Top-5 in the category children’s / family offer on the mountain:
1. Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis (AT), 2. Livigno (I), 3. Kronplatz (I), 4. Stubai Glacier (AT), 5. Schladming (AT)


8) Sulden – the undisputed number one in terms of price performance

The internet makes it possible today to compare prices and the performance behind it without much effort. Since skiing can quickly become costly, families are looking for a fair value for money or the “special deal”. The Italian ski resort of Sulden, which is located in the Ortler region, has proved a good sense for years now of what guests expect and what they are prepared to spend. Continuous improvements in product and service offerings and balanced pricing suggest that Sulden will probably continue to be in the lead in the future. With Livigno in 2nd place and the Sextner Dolomites in third place, three Italian ski resorts are represented on the stock of this important category.

The top 5 in the category value for money:
1. Sulden (I), 2. Livigno (I), 3. Sextner Dolomites (I), 4. Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis (AT) and Kronplatz (I)


NEW from 11/11/2016: which ski resort is best for me? Winter sports enthusiasts find answer in few clicks with the practical “ski resort finder”:



Further category rankings and information on the study on request.
Interviews are available.


Press contact Germany: Carolin Schmid
C.C. SCHMID • Kaulbachstraße 71 • D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone • Fax +49 (89) 340 866 29

Press contact Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy: Dominik Bösch M.Sc.
Pro.media kommunikation gmbh • Maximilianstr. 9 • A-6020 Innsbruck
Phone: +43 (512) 214004-13 • Fax -23

Editor of the study: Michael Partel
MOUNTAIN MANAGEMENT Consulting • Industriering 21 • FL-9491 Ruggell
Phone +423 (231) 1331