It's officially ski season but skiing in Europe isn't just about finding the best ski slopes. It is in fact, an entire experience- from luxury chalets with cozy wooden fireplaces, small uncrowded towns that have the best fondue places, easy access to white powdered pistes with powder, magnificent mountain views, extraordinary boutique shops and famed après ski parties.
While Courchevel in France or Verbier in Switzerland are renowned ski destinations, Europe is populated with many more lesser known yet equally amazing ski spots that make it the ideal ski/winter destination!
The list of good ski resorts runs long but here are a few of our favourites for a weekend winter getaway:
1. Ischgl, Austria
Where: Tyrol Region
Based in the Austrian Alps, Ischgl can be reached by road from one of these closest airports are Innsbruck (1.15 hours), Zurich (2.35hours) and Munich (3 hours).
Best for: Après Ski
Known as the après-ski capital of the Apls, Ischgl host some rather boisterous après-ski parties. The resort is an old farming village that is known for the best opening and closing parties with world's most celebrated artists. The slopes offer a variety of runs; especially some thrilling black trails and off-pistes for experts. The snow is good because of the high altitude and north-facing slopes, making it a great ski spot!
2. Chamonix, France
Where: Chamonix Mont Blanc Region
Based at the foot of Mont Blanc, one of the oldest ski resorts, Chamonix is only a short 1.15 hour drive from Geneva airport.
Best for: Advance Skiers & All-round Ski Experience
Besides being known as the site of the first Winter Olympics, this busy Alpine town is well known for its perfectly powdered snow quality. Its amazing terrain and off-piste skiing is ideal for expert skiers.
Since it is home to four ski resort spread across the valley, Chamonix offers a vast and versatile combination of trails from cruising and sharp pistes to gentle pistes fit for all levels. Not to mention that the scenery in this region is simply stunning!
Besides skiing, Chamonix caters many winter activities like snowmobiling as well as other family-friendly activities like paint-balling. With a good range of restaurants and a lively night scene, this buzzing town is perfect for those looking for an all-round experience
3. St. Anton, Austria
Where: Arlberg Area
St. Anton is only 1.15 hours by car from Innsbruck and 2.5 hours from Zurich airports. St. Anton is actually quite easily accessible because it also has its own train and bus station.
Best for: Expert Skiers
The slopes of St. Anton are not for beginners. Great heights, challenging trails and off-piste opportunities attract pro ski lovers from all over the world. It's world-class luxury properties and high-end local cafes and boutiques further add to its appeal.
4. Livignio, Italy
Where: Alta Valtellina Mountains in Northern Italy
Isolated deep in the Alta Valtellina Mountain Range of Italy, this small town is not that easy to reach. The nearest airports are Milan (4 hours) in Italy, Zurich (5 hours) in Switzerland and Innsbruck (3.5 hours) in Austria.
Best for: Intermediate Skiers & On-Slope Activities
Unlike its alpine counterparts, this village provides its visitors a whole lot of winter sun. On the slopes, Livigno is known for its magnitude of free-ride opportunities including heli-skiing. The slopes are filled with trails of all levels great for both skiers and boarders. Most hotels are located very close to the slopes and some even have doorstep skiing facilities to let skiers 'ski in and out'. The ski lift systems are extremely efficient. The town has lively après-ski mountain restaurants, pubs and live music bars. Besides skiing, Livigno has a plethora of non-skiing activities such as ice skating, tobogganing, horse riding, ice climbing, sleigh rides, dog sledging, paragliding etc. The town is spotted with local restaurants, cafes and shops and includes a spa center, disco, and cinema. Shopping is an important activity while in Livigno, because of it duty-free status and variety of local stores near the slopes.
5. Jasna, Slovakia
Where: Chopok Ski Area in the Žilina Region
Situated in the Low Tatra Mountains, this East European valley is approximately 3 to 4 hours from Bratislava and Krawkow international airports.
Best for: Budget Skiers & Families
Slovakia’s biggest ski resort, Jasna is a value for money alternative to the commercial Alpine resorts. This national park offers stunning views of its valleys and mountains. The slopes have all difficulty levels for skiing and snowboarding that are suitable for beginners and families as well as advanced skiers.
This ski area is particularly popular with families because it offers plenty of off-slope activities. Tatralandia, the best aqua-park in the region has multiple pools, thermal baths, snorkeling tanks, rapids rides, waterslides, a wave pool and more. It also has a pirate-themed area, a children’s sauna, and 21 different types of steam and sauna rooms for adults. The small town also has other family-friendly amenities like bowling, go-karting and a cinema!
Trust me, while the beach is beautiful, there's something surreal about holidaying in the snow. So get booking!*
*Feel free to get in touch for customised recommendations!