Have you ever considered trying out the benefits of being car-free for a while? Well, take a chance on these ski resorts, where there are no cars allowed all year round. Set in fabulous locations and away from the noise and fumes that cars can bring, these are great spots for families and those seeking a clean-air escape that’s truly at one with nature. Don’t worry, there are still plenty of convenient means to get from A to B—by ski, on foot or even by sled – all in perfect tranquillity.
The town of Zermatt is a bustling hub of hikers and adventurers, but we love it best for its skiing. The area promises access to the highest lift-served terrain in Europe, the splendid Sunnegga summit and, of course, the Matterhorn peak itself – one of the best photo opportunities in Switzerland. The only vehicles you’ll find here are the electromobiles, which are designed and made in the resort, electric buses and even horse-drawn carriages for a magical evening trip to dinner. There’s also a funicular railway, which can be used by non-skiers too, and plenty of walking routes in the surrounding hills if you fancy a day of off-piste exploring.
Car-free since 1951, Saas-Fee is keen to stay clean and green, with the ambition of being the first municipality in the European Alps to be considered fine particle-free. All the energy used is 100% green and you can only reach this Swiss resort using their electrotaxis. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll be surrounded by no fewer than 13 4,000-metre peaks and glacial terrains to take your breath away. It’s young and friendly, with a hugely popular snowboarding scene too, so it’s well worth strapping on a board and giving it a go.
Avoriaz is perched on a snow shelf that includes spectacular views, scenery and skiing. Here you can ski right up to your door, but you can also use luggage sleds to help you get around – especially handy when you first arrive – or take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. For guests’ convenience, the resort has also converted piste bashers—aka snow groomers—into transportation. It is a thoroughly beginner-friendly resort, with nightlife, shopping and restaurants in abundance. However, if you have a hardcore skier in your group, they’ll be itching to try ‘The Wall’, a terrifying slope which plunges you straight into Switzerland—a piste only for the very experienced.
This resort claims to be the destination of the world’s first package ski holiday organised by Britain’s Henry Lunn. You can only reach Wengen by using the famous Wengernalpbahn, which is the longest, end-to-end cog railway in the country, starting at Lauterbrunnen on the valley floor. Once at the glistening Alpine village, you’re in the heart of the Jungfrau region. The Lauberhorn downhill course here hosts the World Cup men’s race annually, but there are plenty of slopes for all abilities, with skiing below the treeline for poor visibility days, and quite a few well-loved restaurants for the occasional laid-back break.
Murren is the highest constantly inhabited village in the canton of Bern and is accessible either via the mountain railway starting in Lauterbrunnen, or the Schilthorn lift starting at Stechelberg. The quaint wooden village is old and charming, with a variety of ski runs including the course of the famous Inferno Downhill ski race, which you can try for yourself, powering all the way to Lauterbrunnen where you’ll immediately want to hop back on the railway and do it all again.