Ski resort

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Ski resorts in the world by country Ski resorts in the world.png
Ski resorts in the world by country

A ski resort is a resort developed for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. In Europe, most ski resorts are towns or villages in or adjacent to a ski area – a mountainous area with pistes (ski trails) and a ski lift system. In North America, it is more common for ski areas to exist well away from towns, so ski resorts usually are destination resorts, often purpose-built and self-contained, where skiing is the main activity.


Ski resort

Map of world ski resorts (interactive map) World ski resorts.png
Map of world ski resorts (interactive map)

Ski resorts are located on both Northern and Southern Hemispheres on all continents except Antarctica. They typically are located on mountains, as they require a large slope. They also need to receive sufficient snow (at least in combination with artificial snowmaking, unless the resort uses dry ski slopes).

High concentrations of ski resorts are located in the Alps, Scandinavia, western and eastern North America, and Japan. There are also ski resorts in the Andes, scattered across central Asia, and in Australia and New Zealand.

Extreme locations of non-indoor (at least one ski lift outside) ski resorts include:


Mzaar Kfardebian Ski Resort in Lebanon Mzaar Ski Resort1.jpg
Mzaar Kfardebian Ski Resort in Lebanon

The ski industry has identified advancing generations of ski resorts: [1] [2]

First generation
Developed around a well-established summer resort or village (e.g. Davos, St. Moritz, Kitzbühel, Chamonix, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Megève, Val Gardena ).
Second generation
Created from a non-tourist village or pasture (e.g. St Anton, Lech, Courchevel , L'Alpe d'Huez , Aspen, Breckenridge).
Third generation or integrated
Designed from scratch on virgin territory to be a purpose-built ski resort, all the amenities and services nearby (e.g. Sestriere, Flaine, La Plagne, Isola 2000).
Fourth generation or village resorts
Created from virgin territory or around an existing village, but more concerned with traditional uses (e.g. Valmeinier, Valmorel , Shahdag Mountain Resort).

The term ski station is also used, particularly in Europe, for a skiing facility which is not located in or near a town or village. A ski resort which is also open for summer activities is often referred to as a mountain resort.

Facilities and amenities

This image of Zauchensee, Austria, shows the pistes, served by a gondola lift, detachable chairlift and a funicular. There is a snow fence to prevent snowdrift; and avalanche towers and avalanche barriers to mitigate the risk of avalanches 2017-18 Skigebiet Zauchensee (41).jpg
This image of Zauchensee, Austria, shows the pistes, served by a gondola lift, detachable chairlift and a funicular. There is a snow fence to prevent snowdrift; and avalanche towers and avalanche barriers to mitigate the risk of avalanches
Jasna ski resort in Slovakia Jasna-koliesko.jpg
Jasná ski resort in Slovakia
Cerro Catedral Ski Resort, Argentina Bariloche -Argentina-.jpeg
Cerro Catedral Ski Resort, Argentina
Ski resorts can also be situated on a volcano like this one on Etna in Sicily Etna nord skiresort.JPG
Ski resorts can also be situated on a volcano like this one on Etna in Sicily
Gambarie, a ski resort above the Strait of Messina Pista Azzurra Gambarie.jpg
Gambarie, a ski resort above the Strait of Messina

Ski areas have marked paths for skiing known as runs, trails or pistes. Ski areas typically have one or more chairlifts for moving skiers rapidly to the top of hills, and to interconnect the various trails. Rope tows can also be used on short slopes (usually beginner hills or bunny slopes). Larger ski areas may use gondola lifts or aerial tramways for transportation across longer distances within the ski area. Resorts post their trail map illustrating the location of lifts, trails, services and the ski area boundary, and during the ski season issue a daily snow conditions report listing open trails, operating lifts and weather status.

Ski areas usually have at least a basic first aid facility, and some kind of ski patrol service to ensure that injured skiers are rescued. The ski patrol is usually responsible for rule enforcement, marking hazards, closing individual runs or areas as conditions require, and removing (dismissing) dangerous participants from the area.

The typical ski area base includes a ticket office, ski lodge, ski school, equipment rental/repair shop, restaurant/bar, shopping, shuttle bus stop and parking. [3]

Some ski resorts offer lodging options on the slopes themselves, with ski-in and ski-out access allowing guests to ski right up to the door. Ski resorts often have other activities, such as snowmobiling, sledding, horse-drawn sleds, dog-sledding, ice skating, indoor or outdoor swimming and hot tubbing, game rooms, and local forms of entertainment, such as clubs, cinema, theaters and cabarets. Après-ski (French for after skiing) is a term for entertainment, nightlife or social events that occur specifically at ski resorts. [4] [5] These add to the enjoyment of resort-goers and provide something to do besides skiing and snowboarding. The culture originated in the Alps, where it is most popular and where skiers often stop at bars on their last run of the day while still wearing all their ski gear. [6]

Though the word ‘ski’ is a derivation of the Old Norseskíð’ via Norwegian, the choice of French is likely attributed to the early popularity of such activities in the French Alps, with which it was then linked. [7]

Environmental impacts

The process of resort development has progressed since the birth of the skiing industry. As the economic role of the skiing industry grew, the environmental impact of resort development has also caused environmental burdens on the natural ecosystem including mountain water levels of lakes, streams, and wildlife. [8] Amenities and infrastructure such as concrete buildings, ski-lifts, gondolas, access roads, parking lots, and railways have contributed to the urbanization of mountainous zones.

Primary (direct) impact of resort development

In recent years, the use of snow cannons has increased due to the fall in the volume of snow. In order to obtain good quality snow, dust or bacteria is mixed with the water in the process of snowmaking to form better snowflakes. Not only that the manufacture of artificial snow is costly and uses large amounts of water, but sometimes the creation of artificial lakes is necessary for the snowmaking process. Snow cannons redistribute a large amount of water unnaturally over the land and freezes the ground vegetation late into spring, preventing growth and leaving pistes bare. [8] With enough excess water, the likelihood of landslides and avalanches may be drastically higher.[ citation needed ]

Secondary (indirect) impact of resort development

The required space for hotels, flats and secondary residences has increased the amount of space occupied by roads and buildings. [8] While a large number of people requires special water, sewage and electricity systems, a great deal of construction work is needed. Access roads and the treatment of salt are responsible for high amounts of erosion at ski resorts. In some cases, natural lakes must be tapped or reservoirs built to cater for the population demand. The urbanization of mountainous areas have increased the space of impervious surface, and prevents the natural flow of water into the ground, resulting in a disturbed water table and potential cause of erosion in undesired places. Lastly, when building ski lifts, its line of operation must be shaped and drained, and large concrete blocks must be set down for pylons. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Heavenly Mountain Resort is a ski resort located on the California–Nevada border in South Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. It opened for business on December 15, 1955 and has 97 runs and 30 lifts that are spread between California and Nevada and four base facilities. The resort has 4,800 acres (1,900 ha) within its permit area, with approximately 33% currently developed for skiing, boasting the highest elevation of the Lake Tahoe area resorts with a peak elevation of 10,067 ft (3,068 m), and a peak lift-service elevation of 10,040 ft (3,060 m).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Falls Creek Alpine Resort</span> Ski resort in Victoria, Australia

The Falls Creek Alpine Resort is an alpine ski resort in the Hume region in northeastern Victoria, Australia. It is located in the Alpine National Park in the Victorian Alps, approximately 350 kilometres by road from Melbourne, with the nearest town being Mount Beauty, which is approximately 30 km (20 mi) away. The resort lies between an elevation of 1,500 and 1,830 m above sea level, with the highest lifted point at 1,780 m (5,840 ft). Skiing is possible on the nearby peak of Mount McKay at 1,842 m (6,043 ft), accessed by snowcat from the resort.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Anton am Arlberg</span> Place in Tyrol, Austria

Sankt Anton am Arlberg, commonly referred to as St Anton, is a village and ski resort in the Austrian state of Tyrol. It lies in the Tyrolean Alps, with aerial tramways and chairlifts up to 2,811 m (9,222 ft), yielding a vertical drop of 1,507 m (4,944 ft). It is also a popular summer resort among hikers, trekkers and mountaineers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Obertauern</span> Winter sports resort in Austria

Obertauern is a tourist destination which is located in the Radstädter Tauern in the Salzburger Land of Austria. The winter sports resort is separated in two communities: Tweng and Untertauern.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sugarloaf (ski resort)</span> Ski resort in Maine, USA

Sugarloaf is a ski area and resort located on Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley, western Maine. It is the second largest ski resort east of the Mississippi in terms of skiable area and snowmaking percentage (95%); its continuous vertical drop of 2,820 feet (860 m) is the second longest in New England. Sugarloaf recorded a total of 352,000 skier visits in the 2005–2006 season, ranking it second among Maine resorts and 11th in New England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tignes</span> Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Tignes is a commune in the Tarentaise Valley, in the Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France, known for the highest skiable area and the longest ski season in Europe. It is located in the Savoie region with good transport links in and out of Lyon, Geneva and Chambéry.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Galtür</span> Place in Tyrol, Austria

Galtür is a village and ski resort in the upper Paznaun valley in Austrian state of Tyrol located in the Central Eastern Alps 35 km southwest of Landeck near the border of Vorarlberg and Switzerland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Snowmaking</span> A device to spray artificial snow

Snowmaking is the production of snow by forcing water and pressurized air through a "snow gun", also known as a "snow cannon". Snowmaking is mainly used at ski resorts to supplement natural snow. This allows ski resorts to improve the reliability of their snow cover and to extend their ski seasons from late autumn to early spring. Indoor ski slopes use snowmaking. They can generally do so year-round as they have climate-controlled environments.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Killington Ski Resort</span> Ski resort in Vermont, United States

Killington Mountain Resort & Ski Area is a ski resort in Rutland County, Vermont, United States, near the town of Killington. It is the largest ski area in the eastern U.S., and has the largest vertical drop in New England at 3,050 feet. Since the 2013–14 ski season, it has been called the "Beast of the East."

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Les Deux Alpes</span> Ski resort in France

Les 2 Alpes is a ski resort in the French department of Isère, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. The village sits at 1,650 m (5,413 ft) and lifts run to 3,600 m (11,811 ft). It has the largest skiable glacier in Europe and is France's second oldest ski resort behind Chamonix. It has the longest, normally open full on-piste vertical available in the world. It is a 71 km (44 mi) drive southeast of Grenoble.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sugarbush Resort</span> Ski area in Vermont, United States

Sugarbush Resort is a ski resort located in the Mad River valley in Warren, Vermont, owned by Alterra Mountain Company. It is one of the largest ski resorts in New England. The resort encompasses more than 4000 acres (16 km²) total, 484 trail acres (2.34 km²) skiable, 53 miles (85 km) of trails, and 16 ski lifts. Sugarbush has 111 ski trails, 18 additional marked wooded area, substantial off-piste skiing and riding, a summit elevation of 4,083 ft (1,244 m), and a vertical drop of 2,600 feet (790 m), second largest in Vermont after Killington, and the third largest in New England after Killington and Sugarloaf.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Telluride Ski Resort</span> Ski area in Colorado, United States

Telluride Ski Resort is a ski resort located in Mountain Village, Colorado.

Val Cenis is a ski and mountain resort situated in the Haute-Maurienne region of the French Alps, close to the Italian border. It is composed of five villages; Lanslebourg, Lanslevillard, Termignon, Sollières-Sardières and Bramans. The villages sit between 1200m and 1500m, respectively, and lifts climb to a maximum altitude of 2740m. The resort is not very well known due to its location at the end of a valley and difficulty of access and attracts a mainly French, Italian, Belgian and Dutch contingent each winter. It is a lot quieter than larger ski resorts in the French Alps and does not normally suffer from long lift queues. It is ideally located in the Maurienne region with good transport links in and out of Modane, Lyon, Geneva and Chambery.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Risoul</span> Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Risoul is a commune in the Hautes-Alpes department in southeastern France. It is located in the French Alps between the towns of Briançon and Gap.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Holiday Valley (ski resort)</span> Family-oriented vacation spot and ski resort in Ellicottville, New York

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">SkiWelt</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arosa Lenzerheide</span> Ski area in Switzerland

Arosa Lenzerheide is a ski area located in Arosa, Lenzerheide, Valbella, Parpan and Churwalden, Graubünden/Switzerland. It originated 2013/14 by connecting the existing ski areas of Arosa and Lenzerheide. With a total of 225 kilometers of ski slopes and 43 cable cars it is the largest contiguous ski area in Graubünden.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jahorina Ski Resort</span> Ski resort in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jahorina Ski Resort, officially named Olympic Center Jahorina, is a mountain resort and the largest and most popular winter tourism resort in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ski resort is situated on the slopes of Jahorina mountain in Dinaric Alps. It is located 15 km (9.3 mi) from the municipality of Pale in the Republika Srpska entity and 30 km (19 mi) from the Sarajevo International Airport. The Jahorina ski resort hosted alpine skiing competition during the 1984 Winter Olympics.

This glossary of skiing and snowboarding terms is a list of definitions of terms and jargon used in skiing, snowboarding, and related winter sports.


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  2. R. Knaffou (1978) Les Stations intégrées de sports d'hiver dans les Alpes françaises, Paris: Masson ISBN   9782225494123
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  6. Lund, Morton (March 2007). "Tea Dance To Disco. Après-Ski Through the Ages". Skiing Heritage Journal. 19 (1): 6–12. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
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  8. 1 2 3 4 Chivers, John (1994). "Effects of the Skiing Industry on the Environment" (PDF). School of International Studies and Law, Coventry University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 Aug 2016.