High Altitude European Ski Resorts: Guide & 6 Altitude Sickness Tips
High altitude European ski resorts are a haven for snow enthusiasts seeking thrilling adventures amidst breathtaking alpine landscapes. As a high-altitude based company, we'll go into the most popular high altitude European ski resorts, plus six tips to help avoid altitude sickness when you visit.
High Altitude European Ski Resorts
From Zermatt Switzerland to Val Thorens France, Europe is has high altitude ski resorts throughout many of its countries. With the highest ski resort peak at 10,600 feet (3,230 m), these elevations can get very high alike resorts in America such as Vail and Telluride.
In this guide we'll go into each of the most popular high altitude European ski resorts and their according altitudes. Further in this guide we'll give you the best tips to help you avoid altitude sickness at these resorts.
Popular High Altitude European Ski Resorts
These resorts, nestled high in the mountains, offer a unique high-altitude ski experiences that attracts visitors from around the globe.
, with its iconic Matterhorn peak, is a must-visit for ski enthusiasts. It offers an extensive network of ski runs suitable for all skill levels, making it a versatile destination for families and avid skiers alike.
- Zermatt altitude - 5,310 - 12,792 ft (1,620 - 3,899 m)
With a 12,792 foot summit above sea level, Zermatt is the highest European ski resort.
Val Thorens, France
Val Thorens, part of the famed Three Valleys, boasts high-altitude skiing and a lively après-ski scene. It's renowned for its snow reliability and diverse terrain, attracting a diverse crowd of winter sports enthusiasts.
Val Thorens Altitude:
- Val Thorens Altitude - 5,988 - 10,600 ft (1,825 - 3,230 m)
Reaching 10,600 feet high, Val Thorens is most popularly quoted as the highest ski resort in all of Europe, although we indicate it's below Zermatt, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, and Verbier.
St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria
St. Anton am Arlberg is a mecca for advanced skiers, featuring challenging slopes and off-piste opportunities. The village's charming alpine ambiance adds to the allure, making it a favorite among passionate skiers.
St. Anton am Arlberg Altitude:
- St. Anton am Arlberg Altitude - 4,278 - 9,222 ft (1,304 - 2,811 m)
St. Anton am Arlberg summit elevation is actually close to the base elevation of Breckenridge Colorado
at 9,600 feet.
Verbier is synonymous with luxury and adventure, offering high-altitude skiing with an abundance of off-piste options. With a ski area of four valleys, it's a hotspot for both celebrities and avid skiers seeking a blend of elegance and excitement.
- Verbier Altitude - 5,026 - 10,925 ft (1,532 m - 3,330 m)
Mont-fort climbs to a high point of 10925 feet in the valleys of terrain, which slightly exceeds Val Thorens summit.
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is an adventurer's paradise, renowned for its extreme skiing and mountaineering options. The stunning Mont Blanc backdrop and a vibrant town atmosphere make it an extraordinary destination.
- Chamonix Altitude - 3,395 - 12,604 ft (1,035 - 3,842 m)
Chamonix ski resort hits a height just below Zermatt at a peak of 12,604 feet, being one of the highest European ski resorts.
Which European Ski Resort Has The Highest Elevation?
Although some claim the highest ski resort in Europe is Val Thorens, in our research of elevations we found Zermatt to be the highest at 12,792 feet (3,899 m).
Below are the highest ski resorts we found based on the summit elevations when skiing.
3 Highest Ski Resorts In Europe:
- Zermatt, Switzerland
- Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France
- Verbier, Switzerland
If skiing any of these high elevation ski resorts in Europe, you should be well prepared for altitude sickness.
Where Is The Highest Ski Resort In The Alps?
Zermatt Switzerland is not only the highest ski resort in Europe, it's the highest ski resort in the Alps. It's part of the Swiss Alps reaching a height of 12,792 feet (3,899 m) above sea level.
Altitude Sickness At Ski Resorts
At heights in European ski resorts starting at 4,000 to 6,000 feet (1219 to 1828 m), altitude sickness risk begins. Also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), it's caused by a lack of oxygen and increasingly gets worse as you ascend further in altitude.
Symptoms of altitude sickness at ski resorts may include:
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased respiration
- Loss of appetite
- Insomnia or sleeping issues
- Feeling sick
These altitude sickness symptoms can kick in usually between 6-24 hours upon arrive at the European ski resort. Be prepared before you trip and learn our best tips below.
6 Tips To Avoid Europe Ski Resort Altitude Sickness
Skiing at high-altitude European resorts can be an exhilarating experience, but the change in altitude can sometimes bring about altitude sickness.
As a high-altitude company in the mountainous state of Colorado, we'll share with you our best top to avoid altitude sickness on your European trip.
6 Tips To Avoid Europe Ski Resort Altitude Sickness:
1. Maximize Hydration
Your body loses moisture more quicker at high altitudes, so much that the Wilderness Medical Society says fluids loss is twice as fast than sea level.⁶ This can easily lead to dehydration.
Make a conscious effort to drink plenty of water, half your body weight in ounces of water daily is commonly recommended.
2. Acclimate Slowly
Allow your body the time to adjust to the change in altitude, as a fast increase in elevation is what leads to altitude sickness.
If possible, acclimate slowly by planning your itinerary to include a day or two at a moderate altitude before heading to the higher ground or even hitting the slopes. For example, Zermatt has a wide range of elevation, and you can stay in town at 5,310 feet for a night or two before ascending much higher to ski.
3. Don't Overexert Yourself
Overexerting yourself can put strain on the body that can exacerbate stain and stress. Engage in light physical activities until you feel acclimated, don't overexert yourself.
Gentle exercises and short walks can be easy on the body, but avoid more strenuous activities such as skiing at the European resort at least during the first day or two.
4. Get Plenty Of Sleep
Sufficient rest is vital for your body to adapt to the altitude effectively — known to aid recovery, and even help oxygen and blood flow.⁷ The issue with high altitudes is it can additionally cause insomnia or sleeping issues, further making it harder.
Aim for a good night's sleep, at least 7-9 hours. To help enhance the quality of your sleep, try to get natural sunlight during the day which helps melatonin production at night.
5. Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol and high elevations of a European ski resort will not mix well. Alcohol can not only lower sleep quality and cause dehydration, it can lead to symptoms similar to altitude sickness such as headaches and nausea.⁸
6. Replenish Antioxidants
Oxidative stress is shown to be caused by high elevations, which can definitely be a factor at high altitude European ski resorts.⁹ One study even found glutathione, the body's master antioxidant, to deplete nearly 45% in high altitude exposure.¹¹
Replenish antioxidants by supplementing, and specifically glutathione can be a powerful option.¹⁰
By following these tips and taking a cautious and gradual approach to acclimatization — you can minimize the risk of altitude sickness and fully enjoy your high altitude European ski resort trip!
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1. Highest Elevation Ski Resorts in Europe
2. Zermatt Altitude
3. Val Thorens Elevation
4. Verbier 4 Valleys Altitude
5. Chamonix Mont-Blanc France Elevation
6. Why Do You Need to Drink a Lot of Water at a High Altitude?
7. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
8. Effects of Alcohol
9. High altitude and oxidative stress
10. Oxidative Stress and Diseases Associated with High-Altitude Exposure
11. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
12. Europe: highest ski resorts