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 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 at least 50 cm (20 in) of snow (unless the resort uses dry ski slopes).
High concentrations of ski resorts are located in the Alps, 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:
The ski industry has identified advancing generations of ski resorts:
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.
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.
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 (if a sufficient level of hazard exists), and removing (dismissing) dangerous participants from the area.
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 : after skiing) is a term for entertainment, nightlife or social events that occur specifically at ski resorts. 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.
Though the word ‘ski’ is a derivation of the Old Norse ‘skíð’ 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.
The process of resort development have 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.Amenities and infrastructure such as concrete buildings, ski-lifts, gondolas, access roads, parking lots, and railways have contributed to the urbanization of mountainous zones.
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 snow making 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 snow-making 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.With enough excess water, the likelihood of landslides and avalanches may be drastically higher.
The required space for hotels, flats and secondary residences has increased the amount of space occupied by roads and buildings.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. If the pylons are not carefully placed, it could cause damage to surface vegetation.
Les Portes du Soleil is a major skisports destination in the Alps, encompassing thirteen resorts between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva in Switzerland. With more than 650 km of marked pistes and about 200 lifts in total, spread over 14 valleys and about 1,036 square kilometres (400 sq mi), Portes du Soleil ranks among the two largest ski areas in the world. Almost all of the pistes are connected by lifts – a few marginal towns can be reached only by the free bus services in the area. The highest altitude accessible on skis is 2260m and the lowest is 930m. As with many other Alpine ski resorts, the lower slopes of the Portes du Soleil have snow-making facilities to extend the ski season by keeping the lower slopes open during the warmer months.
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.
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.
Isola 2000 is a ski resort in the southern French Alps. It is located on the territory of the commune of Isola, Alpes-Maritimes. It is one of the Stations du Mercantour, along with Auron and St. Dalmas, and is operated by the council of the Alpes-Maritimes. It is located next to the Mercantour National Park, and is about 90 km from Nice, 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 in Europe 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 Chambery.
Verbier is a village located in south-western Switzerland in the canton of Valais. It is a holiday resort and ski area in the Swiss Alps and is recognised as one of the premier backcountry ski resorts in the world. Some areas are covered with snow all year. Skiers have settled in the Verbier area in order to take advantage of the steep slopes, varied conditions, and resort culture.
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.
Big White Ski Resort, or simply Big White, is a ski resort located 56 km (35 mi) southeast of Kelowna in the Southern Interior of British Columbia. Located on Big White Mountain, the highest summit in the Okanagan Highland, an upland area between the Monashee Mountains and the Okanagan Valley. Big White is also the third-largest resort in British Columbia, after Whistler-Blackcomb and Sun Peaks. Furthermore, in 2019 Big White was nominated as the third-best ski resort in the nation by Snowpak.
Les Arcs is a ski resort located in Savoie, France, in the Tarentaise Valley town of Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Initially created by Robert Blanc and Roger Godino, it is a part of the huge Paradiski system which is under ownership by Compagnie des Alpes, a French-listed company owning several other ski resorts as well as theme parks.
Les Deux 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.
Borovets, known as Chamkoria until the middle of the 20th century, is a popular Bulgarian mountain resort situated in Sofia Province, on the northern slopes of Rila, at an altitude of 1350 m. Borovets is about 10 km from Samokov, about 70 km from Sofia and about 110 km from Plovdiv.
The Lake Louise Ski Resort & Summer Gondola is a ski resort in western Canada, located in Banff National Park near the village of Lake Louise, Alberta. Located 57 km (35 mi) west of Banff, Lake Louise is one of three major ski resorts within Banff National Park.
Baqueira-Beret is a ski resort located in the heart of the Pyrenees, in the Aran Valley and Àneu Valley Lleida, Spain, with the nearest airport located in Toulouse, France, approximately two hours drive by automobile. The ski area extends from 1,500 to 2,610 metres in elevation, and due to its reliable snow elevation, the typical ski season starts in November and goes to late April. Baqueira is the largest and most visited winter resort in Spain. Popular amongst the Royal family and the affluent Spanish and French, The Telegraph asks if Baqueira could be "the world's finest ski resort?".
Straja resort is an Eastern European ski and snowboarding resort, situated at an elevation of 1,440 m in the Vâlcan Mountains Carpathian Mountains, in the Jiu Valley region of Hunedoara County, Romania.
Bukovel is the largest ski resort in Eastern Europe situated in Ukraine, in Nadvirna Raion, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast (province) of western Ukraine. A part of it is in state property. The resort is located almost on the ridge-lines of the Carpathian Mountains at elevation of 900 m (3,000 ft) above the sea level near the village of Polianytsia. It is one of the most popular ski resorts in the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains and is situated 30 km (19 mi) southwest of the city of Yaremche. In 2012, Bukovel was named the fastest-growing ski resort in the world.
Montgenèvre is a commune of the Hautes-Alpes department in southeastern France.
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.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to skiing:
Shahdag Mountain Resort is Azerbaijan's first and largest winter resort.
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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