Best Ski Resort 2016

Awarded every two years, the Best Ski Resort award is based on a survey carried out by Mountain Management Consulting in collaboration with the University of Innsbruck in Austria.
The official award ceremony of the Best Ski Resort 2016 at Casino Bregenz took place on Thursday, November 10, 2016.
Best Ski Resort” is the biggest independent visitor satisfaction survey for Alpine resorts. Between December 2015 and April 2016, 48,000 snow sports fans in 54 selected, leading ski resorts took part in the survey. The main points covered by the survey were more than 20 criteria of relevance and satisfaction, ranging from the size of the skiing area, via the quality of the ski pistes, to the ambience of the locality.

The surveys were carried out in the respective winter sports resort for four times: two times each in the main and secondary season.
The official award ceremony of the Best Ski Resort 2016 at Casino Bregenz took place on Thursday, November 10, 2016.
The survey “Best Ski Resort“ is considered to be one of the most significant, periodically study of the Alps with interviews held directly in the ski resorts. It is an important orientation guide concerning increase in quality and product development. The study should help to secure the attractiveness of the winter sport resort. It has to be an incentive to rank among the best. The awards honour top performances of the individual regions and support the continuous process of further development“, Mike Partel, founder Best Ski Resort.

The top 2016 10 Ski Resorts are:

  1. Zermatt (Switzerland)
  2. Livigno (Italy)
  3. Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis (Austria)
  4. Kronplatz (Italy)
  5. Saas-Fee (Switzerland)
  6. Gröden / Val Gardena (Italy)
  7. Adelboden-Lenk (Switzerland)
  8. Alta Badia (Italy)
  9. Aletsch Arena (Switzerland)
  10. Obergurgl-Hochgurgl (Austria)

The size of the ski resort and the slopes offer is decision criterion No. 1 in the selection of the resort for skiers and snowboarders. The steadily increasing number of associations of individual ski resorts reflects the response of the regions. The rule of thumb is obvious: the desire for a large area increases with the skill on the slopes. Winter sports enthusiasts in Val Gardena, in the heart of the Sella Ronda, were particularly satisfied in this category. The region also leads the Zermatt ranking, which was again top in the quality of slopes category, and Alta Badia / Dolomiti-Superski in Italy.
Compared to the previous year’s results, however, the category ski resort size / slope offers shows a slight decline – in favour of the category snow safety: for many the desire for white winter magic on the skiing holiday in the past few years remained unfulfilled. The study shows how important the “white factor” for skiers is with a clearly increasing relevance of the snow safety in the selection of the ski area: no other decision criterion has increased since 2010 more. Glacier areas are an advantage here. With Saas-Fee and Zermatt, two ski resorts in the Swiss Valais are at the forefront in the ratings of the category, followed by Livigno in Italy.
Fun and entertainment also, the gastronomic offer on the mountain as well as family friendliness are important when choosing the destination. As in previous years, Ischgl recorded the highest satisfaction ratings in the categories fun / entertainment and après-ski. Laax remains the Fun- and Snowpark Mecca of the Alps. Little skiers feel the most comfortable in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, – the ski resort has been the undisputed leader of the ski area since 2010. Another perennial issue is Sulden (I). Here, the service rendered seems to be particularly attractive to the price, which is an important factor in the purchasing decision as the price increases.

Conclusion: The competition is getting harder. Whoever wants to exist must invest and be creative

The increasing tourist offer in winter – with long-distance, city and ship trips – raises the competitive pressure on ski regions. Rising satisfaction figures of the winter sportsmen confirm the high commitment of some regions in the area of new products and service quality. Interestingly, the top riders among the ski resorts are growing more positively than the rest. That with a progressive expectation. Winter guests in Zermatt, for example, once again confirmed the top position in the cross-category satisfaction rating and thus attested to the region a particularly good hand for their efforts and investments. This is backed up by 14 top 5 results in various categories.
According to the study manager Mike Partel, the current biggest challenge for ski resorts is to react proactively to changing guest behaviour, or, more precisely, to the decreasing loyalty (about 30% change continually the ski resort). The guests are not satisfied but want to see and experience – in contrast to previous generations. It will be a matter of increasing “wow effects”. Guests will be inspired by that in the future, so they recommend the ski region.


The overall study as evaluation of one of the 54 participant ski resorts comprises 70 pages. It provides answers to the following topics:

  • Selection criteria for the choice of the ski resort
  • Satisfaction (with ranking) in comparison to other ski resorts
  • Ski resort size / pistes
  • Piste preparation
  • Guaranteed snow
  • Lifts and cableways
  • Safety on the slopes
  • Accommodation / hotels
  • Fun and entertainment
  • Fun and snowboard parks
  • Restaurants and catering on the mountain
  • Ski schools
  • Natural surroundings
  • Rest / relaxation
  • Après-ski
  • Friendliness
  • Rental and repair services
  • Mountain facilities for children and families
  • Atmosphere
  • Authenticity
  • Exclusivity
  • Comfort
  • Spa facilities
  • Country of origin
  • Return rate
  • Recommendation rate
  • Price-performance-ratio
  • Loyalty to the ski resort
  • Behaviour in the region
  • Means of transport