Ski Resorts Guide
Below is a list of resorts in country order with a brief comment on each to help you choose a resort. We have listed all the popular european destinations plus a few off the beaten track as well
as Uk resorts.
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Enjoy your ski holiday!
The ‘real France’, 50 minutes from Geneva, Grand Bornand has family-friendly skiing and great Reblochon cheese,the Lake Annecy Ski Resorts pass also covers ~ La Clusaz.
Fly to Lourdes for a weekend in the Hautes-Pyrénées, reporting their snowiest winter for 10 years,Val Louron is very family-friendly, plus the Mediterranean atmosphere offers a different kind of French ambience and better value than the Alps.
Tignes is open for snow sports for nine months each year, three months longer than other French resorts, so it’s a fairly safe bet if you want snow certainty.
Alpe d’Huez goes big on sunshine, scenery and ski area. Despite an alleged 360 days of sunshine a year, the Grandes Rousses Massif ski area maintains good snow conditions because of the high altitude. The lift pass also includes extra perks, from access to indoor climbing and swimming to night skiing.
Avoriaz’s quirky architecture is certainly striking, as far as ‘purpose-built’ goes, and convenient.The appearance of the resort is offset by horse-drawn sledges in the motor-free centre. Skiers and snowboarders will love the easy access, great value and amenities on offer, including new waterpark, Aquarius.
At an altitude of 2300m, resorts don’t get much higher than this, In fact, the resort is the highest in Europe and consistently popular for late season skiing. Those that like to party should stop by the Folie Douce after 3pm for tunes, toffee vodka and ski boot dancing on tables.
Les Deux Alpes
This lively, good value resort used to be two separate sheep grazing villages, but a buzzy strip of bars, hotels and shops now link the two. “Après ski kicks off at Smokey Joe’s by the Jandri.”
Easily accessible from Geneva airport, and a proper town, it’s always possible to find last-minute hotel accommodation in the free-ride capital of the world. Transfer, train or hire car from the airport, Chamonix is also a great short trip destination. A car is very handy for getting between the various resorts.
The Portes du Soleil region straddles the French-Swiss border and with a disproportionate number of English-owned chalets in the area, you won’t find it too tricky to find a place to stay at short-notice. With something for everybody, the area boasts numerous English ski and snowboard schools.
A small French resort and quiet because of it, Samoens has a lot to offer and you’ll easily find vast swathes of fresh untracked areas you can power through. Close to Geneva airport and within easy reach from the UK via ferry or tunnel.
Morzine has the advantage of being one of the closest resorts for drivers from the Chunnel and is also quick and easy to reach from Geneva. It’s a classic resort with lots to do and 640km of skiing on the pass.
Bringing past and present together, Flaine offers more than 250km of skiing. Most slopes are either marked as blue or red, there is a green that runs from the Grandes Platières, enabling beginners to learn amid the inspiring views of both the bowl and Mont Blanc.
A favourite with the British Alpine Ski & Snowboard School thanks to the mountain’s north facing slopes that preserve the quality of the snow throughout the season. There is a vast expanse of off piste terrain and Les Grands Montets is one of the most famous skiing mountains in France.
This classic Swiss/French alpine village is also a favourite with the BASS school. Châtel is part of the Portes du Soleil, one of the biggest ski areas in the world, yet very close to Geneva airport. A Jewel of the Alps.
The multitude of slopes that meander through the Three Valleys make it the world’s largest ski area.Friendly restaurants and lively bars line many of the ski runs.
Les Gets has an outstanding learner area for first timers as well as challenging black runs.Stunning views of Mont Blanc from Ranfoilly. Very close to Geneva airport.
A hidden treasure within the Chamonix Valley. All levels of terrain with a beginners’ area at the top. Tree-lined runs and magnificent view of Mont Blanc on one side and Mont Joly on the other.
A well-linked collection of resorts; St Gervais, Jaillet, Combloux, Cote 2000, Rochebrune, Mont D’Arbois, and Mont Joly.
This newly-refurbished town is ideal for the keen skier who prefers skiing rather than long hours of après ski. St Gervais links into the massive Evasion Mt Blanc. With a great snow record and quiet slopes, it is a great resort.
Great terrain for beginners and snowplough improvers, and a fantastic variety of intermediate and advanced skiing.The local runs will keep you busy, or ski to Courcheval 1550, La Tania, 1650, or Meribel.”
Its breathtaking mountains host some of the world’s top alpine events. Outstanding restaurants and an excellent snow record have made this a popular resort with British skiers.
With a resort altitude of 1440m and an option of heliskiing, La Thuile is a popular choice with many UK skiers.Starting out as a mining town, it’s now a purpose-built ski resort with a modern lift system. There are over 150km of pistes and some superb backcountry to explore.
This Italian Alpine resort is a three hours from Milan and, as it is a duty-free zone, any additional expense for last-minute flights is somewhat offset by low in-resort prices.The resort caters well for those that love park and piste.”
Snowsure Cervinia not only offers a huge ski area linked over the Swiss border to Zermatt, but provides a great Italian food and shopping fix too.
Live la dolce vita ski lifestyle, for a long weekend at least, and perhaps add on a day in Venice, location of the nearest major airport, 160km/two hours away.
Dimaro, Val di Sole
The small village of Dimaro is linked to the vast Val di Sole ski area via a 10-minute bus ride. The 53km of pistes will suit a group of varying abilities. The Dolomites views are stunning.
Madonna di Campiglio
Madonna di Campiglio in the Dolomites is the most stylish of the country’s resorts, linking in to more than 150km of ski runs.
One of the world’s most iconic resorts is 70 minutes from Innsbruck or two hours from Friedrichshafen (new Monarch routes from Gatwick and Manchester.
At 1930m, Obergurgl stays firmly wrapped in a blanket of snow well into late April. The traditional Tirolean resort remains queue-free through the season.
We could not believe how cheap Mayrhofen was compared to the majority of French resorts. Food, drink and lift prices were all very reasonable, making a last-minute trip to Austria very attractive.”
This is one of the most snowsure resorts in the Alps and highlights the fact with big free concerts at the each end of the season (late November to end April/early May), which have featured Elton, Rihanna, Pink and more.
Zell am See
The Zell am See-Kaprun ski area is almost an evergreen proposition – the Kitzsteinhorn glacier means the season starts in early autumn and goes on until summer.
Well known for its loud, but not louty, après ski, Saalbach is linked with the villages of Hinterglemm and Leogang, which are quieter choices. All connected with a good lift system and shuttle buses.
Combine a ski holiday with a healthy spa break at the Grand Park Ski & Spa programme.
Unless you have a private jet to fly to the nearby Samedan airfield, St Moritz isn’t the easiest resort to get to.But you can travel seamlessly by rail from Zurich airport to reach one of the world’s best resorts.
This resort lays on an 11pm shuttle from Zurich airport every Thursday and Friday (engelberg.ch/airport_shuttle), connecting with BA and Swiss flights from Birmingham, London and Manchester airports. You can work until 6pm and be in resort at half-past midnight.
Arguably one of the most beautiful villages in the Alps, Saas Fee’s traditional Swiss chalets and cowsheds are dominated by 4000m peaks and a glacier that hangs above it. This lovely little resort also boasts a vibrant party scene.
This beautiful Swiss resort will host the Momentum Ski Festival from March 14 to 17, which incorporates the world renowned City Ski Championships. It’s a brilliant weekend of skiing and live entertainment.
Verbier is not cheap, but a mixed group of people flock to its shops, bars and restaurants, including a piste-side eatery joint owned by James Blunt and Laurence Dallaglio.
If you’re not a fan of big and busy ski resorts, try the charming French-speaking village of Veysonnaz in Valais, two hours from Geneva and linked to the ‘Four Valleys’ area with 400km of ski routes.
Off the beaten track:
SnowWorld Landgraaf, The Netherlands
Why risk bad weather? Ski indoors in the Netherlands until midnight on the world’s largest indoor slopes, with over a kilometre of runs, terrain park, and an indoor six-seater chairlift, plus a four-star hotel and activities all on site.ick.
With flights remaining cheap and a first class train ticket from Bratislava airport to this Slovakian resort a steal, Jasna is a great destination for those looking for a late cheapy. “The large local clientele keeps prices down in resort too – a pint is less than a euro.”
Built in 1920, Geilo is Norway’s oldest alpine resort. Perched 800m above sea level on the edge of the Hardangervidda, Geilo is the perfect resort for families and beginners. It boasts an impeccable snow record and minimal lift queues. Plus, with friendly locals, superb après ski and lively huskies, you’ll definitely be charmed.
This is Sweden’s leading ski resort, close to the Norwegian border and now renowned having hosted the Skiing World Cup in 2007.With over 46 ski lifts and an average snowfall of 11ft, as well as frozen lake activities, it’s a safe bet for sure conditions. And you might even get to see the Northern Lights!
Soldeu’s many north-facing slopes mean its snow record is better than you might think, and access to the huge Grandvalira ski area will keep all levels of skier entertained. We’ve heard many good reports on the ski instruction there.
Bulgaria is known as a cheap ski option, but there are gourmet accommodation choices, especially if you choose a foodie chalet. Bansko itself, 160km from Sofia, is the country’s most popular resort.
Last minute? You can probably go now if you want and the majority of us are within 90 minutes of real snow on any day in the UK. Keep your snow legs and skills up to speed in the UK and definitely learn before you go.
Sno!Zone (snozoneuk.com) has indoor slopes in Milton Keynes and Castleford .
Watch the weather at ski.visitscotland.com, and avoid weekends when, if it’s good, they’re swamped. But Scottish skiing is world beating (when weather’s good).
We kid you not! Another World Snowboarding & Ski Centre is England’s most southerly ski option, and sits outside Halifax. Prepare yourself for a visit when there’s another snow dump, to try out its two miles of cross-country tracks and runs with two lifts and floodlights.
Raise is a summit along the Helvellyn ridge, where there’s a rope tow lift at 800m. You’ll need to walk for an hour to reach the ski area, but when there’s good snow the bowl offers great skiing and mindblowing views.
Best for... Short breaks
Chamonix - This French resort is ideal for last-minute trips with great links to Geneva airport and plenty of accommodation to be had on all budgets
Best for... Star spotting
Verbier - If you can afford the prices Verbier is a perfect place to spot celebrities hitting the slopes. Its après-ski is among the best in Europe too
Best for... The journey
St Moritz - Private jet is the easiest way in for the 1 per cent but for the rest of us the rail
journey from Zurich is an equally wonderful way to travel.