By David Schissler
(July 2013) Can you name the most popular resort in the world? How about in North America? Here are some ski area fun facts brought to us by Swiss based consultant, Laurent Vanat.
- There are 2,106 main resorts worldwide.
- Most of the ski resorts in the world are in the Northern Hemisphere with almost half (48%) in Europe.
- 35% are in the Alps with 13% in the Pyrenees, Scandinavia and other parts of the continent.
- 21% of the world’s ski resorts are in the Americas, most in North America.
- There are 48 major ski resorts (more than 1m visitors). Three quarters of these are in the Alps.
Which ski resort do you think is the world’s most popular?
It’s harder than you think; right? What is a ski area and what is a resort? Anyplace with a million+ visitors must be a resort but what about the other 2,058 places? Being a “directory” of North American ski areas and resorts; we’ve tackled this question before. Our rule-of-thumb is really simple but effective. If there’s lodging on site it’s a ski resort. If lodging is off site or out of town it’s a ski area.
So, which is it? What is the most popular ski resort in the world?
According to the International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism the number one resort is La Plagne in France. The report says La Plagne has more than 2.5 million skier visits per year! In second place is the Ski Welt in Austria and coming third is Les Arcs in France.
The most popular North America resorts are Whistler, BC coming in 9th in the world rankings. Breckenridge is the most popular in the US in 21st place, followed by Mammoth in 23rd, Vail in 24th, and Keystone in 37th.
Here is the full table according to the International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism.
| 1.La Plagne
2. SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser
3. Les Arcs
7. Saalbach Hinterglemm/Leogang
8. Alpes d’Huez
9. Whistler Blackcomb
10. Val Thorens
12. Val Gardena
13. Sestriere Via Lattea
15. Les Ménuires
16. Grand Valira
| 21. Breckenridge
26. St. Moritz
29. Val d’Isère
30. Les Deux-Alpes
34. St. Anton
36. Alta Badia