The 5 best ski safaris in the Alps

Size matters. There is no denying the draw of big ski areas. But some are big and clunky; others are extensive with spectacular ski routes heading off toward the horizon. Those are the ones you want to visit, if you want your corporate ski trip written into company folklore.

The Sella Ronda

Possibly the most famous of them all in the Alps, the Sella Ronda ticks just about every ski safari box there is. It is a logical route (or routes given there are clockwise and anti-clockwise routes), there are endless huts and villages to pass through and the scenery is beyond comprehension. Widely acclaimed, the Sella Ronda is hugely popular but for those at the front of the wave of skiers and boarders who circle the Sella Massif, the experience is like no other. Fairly easy in the anti-clockwise direction, a little more challenging in the clockwise direction, the Sella Ronda is the pinnacle of ski safaris. If you have to experience 1 day of the Italian approach to skiing, it has to be the Sella Ronda.

The White Ring / Run of Fame

Hosting an annual ski race for mortals to race alongside the pros, the White ring is a ski circuit that takes in the magnificence and luxury of the Lech Zürs ski area. The scenery is incredible, the infrastructure of the highest quality and the route through Lech, Zürs, Zug and Oberlech ensures it is near impossible not to kick off the skis at some point and enjoy some quality time on a terrace. When the Arlberg ski area expanded to take in Warth, skiers and boarders flocked to this new, northern outpost, reputedly the snowiest ski area in the Alps. And now with the Flexenbahn linking St Anton and Zürs am Arlberg, the route from south to north has been marked and given the name, the ‘Run of Fame’. Diverse, taking in the best of the Arlberg and offer a big range of distance, this new route is one of the best.

Les 3 Vallées

Whether located in Courchevel or Val Thorens, the route from one resort to the other takes in the very best of French skiing. Mammoth in size, seriously scenic and with glaciers in the Val Thorens sector, Les 3 Vallées is about as good a ski region as exists, anywhere on the planet. The dining options are sensational, whilst the region has not 1, but 2 La Folie Douce outposts to drag punters in. With a 4th valley included in Les 3 Vallées ski pass (they just can't ditch such a revered brand), it is possible to ski over into Orelle and then take a zip wire back, high across a precipitous valley, at serious speed. Only in France! Sure, Les 3 Vallées are hugely popular and at peak times the intersections can be crowded, but there are so many ways to skin the Les 3 Vallées ski safari cat, that it never gets long in the tooth. Undoubtably one of the great ski safaris in the world.


This is the ski safari that is developing lots of side routes. Originally it was a counter-clockwise route from Saalbach, through Hinterglemm and then back into Saalbach. Leogang was there for side trips but then, along came Fieberbrunn, with its draw as an off-piste Mecca and this year, the piste and lift link to Zell am See has been added. So now it is a ski safari with many (fine) distractions. The original Saalbach-Hinterglemm ski safari still offers wonderful variety of terrain with leisurely Saalbach slopes leading to the steeper terrain in Hinterglemm. There are endless mountain huts located along the treelined slopes and superpower après ski awaits those on the final sections of the route. 

Portes du Soleil

Crossing borders, passing through villages and taking in a huge arc of the northern French Alps, the Portes du Soleil is the premiere ski safari in this part of the Alps. Skiers and snowboarders can take in the powder fields of Avoriaz, cross the border outside of Châtel and return to Avoriaz after a spell in Switzerland. The scenery is fantastic, and the villages and mountain huts have a real rustic charm. This might be the leading ski circuit in the region, but it is still earthy and offers a great glimpse into the real communities that live in the region. With La Folie Douce opening in Avoriaz, there has never been a better time to complete the Portes du Soleil circuit, kick off the skis in Avoriaz and table dance like a wild thing.

Skier on a ski piste in Zürs, Austria.
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