Above: The top six ranked resorts in the Savills Ski Resilience Index
Looking to buy or invest in a ski chalet? Then the reliability and quality of snowfall should be a key factor in the process. The Savills Ski Resilience Index ranks major global ski resorts to measure the quality and reliability of conditions and their resilience to climate change. The five metrics compare snowfall, reliability, season length, altitude and temperature. Over the past three years, the same six resorts have topped the Resilience Index. The Swiss resorts of Zermatt and Saas-Fee remain the most resilient due to their location on a high-mountain glacier, followed by Breuil-Cervinia (Italy), Vail (USA), Aspen (USA), and Obertauern (Austria). However, lower down the rankings, positions can change significantly. High snowfall in recent years has seen some resorts shoot up the rankings. Here are four of the rising stars.
Rank 2019 7
Rank 2017 45
Many Alpine resorts claim to have a special microclimate, but it’s actually the case when it comes to Andermatt. Thanks to its central position, significant snowfall can arrive from almost any direction, making it one of the snowiest places in the Alps. High snowfall over the past two seasons has seen the resort rise to seventh in the Savills Ski Resilience Index, from 45th in 2017. The resort was an important garrison town for many years. Now, it is undergoing radical change with new luxury developments and high-end hotels, such as the Hotel Chedi. Development has also added new lifts and pistes to increase its appeal to novices and intermediates. The Gemsstock mountain rises from the village to almost 3,000m. High and north-facing, the snow quality here remains excellent, but the runs at the top are only suitable for expert skiers.
Rank 2019 11
Rank 2017 32
Obergurgl nestles at the far end of Ötztal, one of the finest and snow-sure ski areas in the Alps. Set deep in the mountains with lots of high, shaded, north-facing slopes, Obergurgl has climbed 21 places in the Savills Ski Resilience Index since 2017 thanks to two seasons of good snowfall. Known as the Diamond of the Alps, the secluded mountain village owes its appeal to slopes between 1800m and 3080m, modern mountain lifts with minimal waiting times, as well as top-class hotels and mountain restaurants. Thanks to its altitude, Obergurgl is one of the first winter ski resorts in Austria to open the season in mid-November and has excellent snow conditions until the end of April.
Rank 2019 13
Rank 2017 26
There is a good case for saying that Tignes has the best snow record in the entire Alps. Not only is the resort itself high (2,100m) but much of its skiing is above 2,500m, with the Grande Motte glacier topping out at nearly 3,450m. This glacier is open for six weeks of summer skiing from late June to early August, and reopens in early October. Each part of the ski area then opens depending on the snowfall, with the full ski area open by late November. Location is also key. Although Tignes is on the northern side of the Alps, its proximity to the Italian border means that snow can also arrive from the south-east to top up healthy levels of snow.
Rank 2019 26
Rank 2017 44
The Chamonix valley is considered by many to be the home of Alpine skiing. Located at the foot of Mont Blanc, this dramatic backdrop attracts a diversity of visitors. It offers some of the toughest and most exhilarating skiing anywhere in the world. The resort itself might be at a lowly altitude of 1,035m, but the ski area reaches 3,000m+ and is surrounded by glaciers. The best snow is usually found on Les Grand Montets, which is north-facing and reaches 3,200m. Mont Blanc dominates the region – and climate – keeping the surrounding slopes cool and snow-packed. Although the resort moved up just one place in the latest Savills Ski Resilience Index, it has risen 18 places since 2017 – scoring particularly well in the snow reliability metric.
For more on ski resort resilience, prime ski properties, and trends in the second home market for ski properties, read the 2020 Savills Ski Report
The 2020 Savills Ski Portfolio showcases a selection of the best property in the Alps