Friday, 9 September 2005 12:00 AM
Zermatt has been accorded the title of best European ski resort to mark the publication of the tenth edition of Where to Ski and Snowboard.
The famously car-free Swiss resort, which is dominated by the striking outline of the Matterhorn, is feted by the guide for its "unbeatable combination of scenery", "extensive high snow-sure slopes", and "wonderful mountain restaurants".
Aspen, Colorado takes the accolade for North America, with four separate mountains offering something "for every ability level" and a "lovely restored 19th century gold-mining town".
Where to Ski and Snowboard's editors, Dave Watts and Chris Gill, have rated thousands of resorts across the world in their ten years of compiling the guide, on criteria including speed of chair-lifts, the slopes and resort villages.
Unlike Zermatt, the resort of Verbier, also Switzerland, has often received a rough ride from the guide over those ten years, but is now recognised for its decade of progress.
Following improvements to the signposting, new lifts, snowmaking and its ski schools the authors state: "There's still a way to go, but we think Verbier's progress deserves recognition."
Elsewhere, Sella Ronda (Italy) is deemed to have the best snowmaking operation in Europe, Val d'Isere (France) the most undergraded run, Megeve (France) the most outdated lift system and Ischgl (Austria), the most up-to-date lift system.
And in the annual awards Kitzbuhel in Austria is the best new European resort, while Whistler near Vancouver Canada is the best new North American resort.
But the news for Murren - one of the editors' favourite Swiss resorts - is less good. It picks up the title of biggest let-down of 2005 after the cable car was closed for repairs between January and March meaning most of the runs were inaccessible.