The Best Countries and Resorts to Ski in Europe
From snowshoe walks on the snow to all out skiing on the powdery slopes, ski lovers from the world over flock to Europe to enjoy a holiday in some of the finest ski destinations anyone can ask for. Having said that, steering through the vast ocean to find one that suits you can be a herculean task. That is why we have selected some of the best ski resorts, in different countries, and included all the small and big things that stand them apart from all the others.
Austria, home to the iconic Alps, unarguably gets the top billing as far as good skiing is concerned. The facilities here are excellent, transfer times short, and one can be assured to find a resort of one’s choice without any problem. Some of the most hospitable places are featured below.
Ellmau – for families and beginners
If you are looking for a skiing vacation with the kids in tow, look no further than Ellmau. With plenty of child-friendly activities and slopes where beginners can hone their skiing skills, the extremely affordable village of Ellmau in the secluded SkiWelt corner has attracted many a challenger from all levels of ski enthusiasts. The resort is a mere one hour and forty-five minutes away by bus and train from Innsbruck airport.
St. Anton am Arlberg – for serious skiers
Home to the first ski club in the Alps, founded way back in 1901, St.Anton, today, enjoys the reputation of being not only the best ski resort in Europe but in the world as well. Attaining an elevation of 2800 m, this place is known for its vibrant apres-ski scene. The major advantage of St. Anton is that it has all the amenities of a luxury resort and can be easily accessed by train from Zurich airport (3 hours) or by road from in less than an hour from Innsbruck airport.
Solden – for year-round skiing
Reaching an altitude of nearly 3250 m, Solden is sandwiched between two glaciers, these assuring skiers of almost reliable snow round the year. The mix 150 km terrain lies just an hour’s drive from Innsbruck airport and provides many a challenge for the professional skiers. The village itself is not very picturesque, but the apres ski-life most certainly is.
Some of the best-known skiing is said to be had in the Pyrenees and the surrounding mountains of France. Many an Olympic glory has been achieved on these world-class dependable slopes of the French Savoie. The snug chalets and ultra-fine resorts cater to families and individuals alike in a professional manner. The three resorts listed here have been judged keeping the overall interest of the skiers in mind.
La Plagne – for families and beginners
Together with the nearby resorts of Les Arcs and Peisey-vallandry, this Paradiski area is the world’s second-largest ski region making it one of the best family ski holidays in Europe. While the learners and families can ski on the gentle upper slopes of the plateau, the experts can attempt the steep contours atop the Bellecote glacier. La Plagne is 645 km away from Paris and connected by a weekly Eurostar train(Saturday) to Aime La Plagne station. Ouibus coaches run Thursday through Sunday from Paris and Lyon right up to the ski resort.
Les Bruyeres – for all skiing abilities
The resort of Les Bruyeres provides a certain charm of its own which sets it apart from others of its kind in the 3 Valley region. Apart from a wide range of amenities which include bars and restaurants, Les Bruyeres makes for an ideal base for groups and mixed-ability skiers. Easy connections available by flight, car or train to ensure that the guest arrives at the ski chalet relaxed. The nearest airports are Chambers, Annecy and Grenoble all within a three hours drive.
Reberty – for excellent snow
The picturesque high altitude village of Reberty lies in the Les Menuires region of the 3 Valleys. The area is known for favourable skiing because of its elevation of 2000 m. In addition, the accommodation facilities here are excellent and well located on the Boyes piste. Whether you want to drive down from UK or catch a flight to Geneva, Chambers or Lyons one can reach here within 1.15 hours. In peak season a direct overnight weekly train runs from London St.Pancras to Moutiers, from where one can take a public bus to Les Menuires bus stop ( 45 minutes).
In Italy, skiing is not as popular as other great skiing destinations of Europe, but it still has enough reasons to be considered as one. First of all, the laid back atmosphere attracts many beginners. Secondly, the views are jaw-dropping and lastly one can savour delicious Italian cuisine at the end of a hard day on the slopes of the Alps, Dolomites or the Apennines. So without much ado, the three stand apart places to consider are given below.
Livigno – great for beginners
Closer from Innsbruck in Austria, than most other Italian cities, the remote village of Livigno has five ski parks which are great for beginners and professionals as well. The 115 km of slopes are connected through 13 chair lifts, 6 cable cars and 11ski lifts reaching an altitude of 1816 m.
Cortina d’Ampezzo – Queen of the Dolomites.
Steeped in history dating back to more than a thousand years, this idyllic town offers some of the best skiing in Italy. The former home of the Winter Olympics and future host to the Alpine Ski World Championship in 2021, Cortina is simply the place to ski in Italy. Cortina Express and ATVO run daily bus services between Cortina and Venice train station and Marco Polo airport.
Roccaraso – for crowd free skiing
Located within two hours of Naples and Rome, Roccaraso is the place to be if you are looking to avoid the crowds of the Dolomites and the Alps. Situated in the Abruzzo region, the slopes are good for both beginners and experts because of the 45km of green and blue runs.
Skiing under the backdrop of the Swiss Alps is considered to be the dream of every aspiring skier. A majority of the resorts are easy and cater to families with suitable packages. Moreover, Switzerland promises great scenery and panoramic views. So for your next winter vacation, try out these three top ski destinations which will dazzle you.
Zermatt – glamour under the Matterhorn
With more than 2133m of vertical drop, Zermatt is easily the highest ski destination in the Alps. Italy lies on the other side of the iconic pyramid of the Matterhorn, and it is the dream of every skier to ski over the Theodul Pass from Switzerland to Italy. Vehicle free Zermatt can be accessed by taxi, train or helicopter. While the train trip is thrilling, air travelers can reach Zermatt in 3 and a half hours from Zurich airport.
St. Moritz – prime skiing under Alpine views.
Apart from the smart and expensive social life, St.Moritz is known to be the oldest and most famous resort in Europe. Being a regular home for important ski events, the place has the best intermediate terrain of any place in the country. A variety of convenient public options, including the spectacular Glacier Express. The train journey from Zurich to St. Moritz takes three hours.
Verbier – for expert skiers
Plenty of backcountry terrain and well laid out runs make Verbier a must for expert skiers. One of Europe’s steepest slopes, the Tortin, is found here, under the shadow of the Mont Blanc mountain range. Verbier is best connected with Geneva by the InterRegio and regional train from Martigny. Journey time approximately three hours with all changes.
Perfect slopes with ample snow coverage make Europe one of the premier destination in the world for skiing. It is not only the resorts which stand out but also the excellent infrastructure which makes a ski trip to this part of the world a memorable one. So stock up on the best ski gear and head for the slopes!