There are thousands of ski resorts but most fall in to one of two types – traditional villages that were there for centuries before anyone thought of skiing, or specially created ski areas built just for skiers, most of which were built in the 1960s and 70s and have expanded and improved ever since.
Typically the old village style are the resorts that ooze mountain charm and have beautiful old buildings and lots of atmosphere and ambience, but as they have not been designed for skiing there can be inconveniences like needing to take a ski bus to the lifts.
Purpose built resorts on the other hand usually have ski lifts, rental shops and everything else a few steps from your accommodation so are very convenient but, if it matters to you, they are often rather soulless and characterless places that just exist for skiing (not that that’s a bad thing…)
The good thing is that really it’s quite hard to go wrong as the main thing you want to do, and they want you to do, is go skiing. Just like trying to choose a beach resort for a summer holiday, they should all at least have a beach.
But if you have a preference, or are going with a group with mixed interests and priorities, it’s worth thinking hard about which type of resort suits you best.
You might also consider whether you’d like to stay in a small intimate village with an intimate, unintimidating atmosphere or in a big resort with loads of facilities and a big range of shops, bars and restaurants.
Smaller resorts are often a good idea for your first trip as they’re likely to be less confusing and overwhelming when you’re first on the slopes and offer more for less cost.
Some resorts are particularly well suited to families, here’s more information on these.