Think the ski season is over? Think again! Many European resorts stay open well into the spring and now is the best time to visit for cheaper accommodation and much quieter slopes. From a few famous favourites to a handful of lesser-known slopes here are some of the most beautiful and best ski resorts in the world…
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Cortina d’ Ampezzo is a commune town in the heart of the Dolomite mountain range in Italy. It has become a popular winter sport resort, known for its amazing and breathtaking ski-ranges and scenery, not to mention the accommodation, shops and après-ski scene. After the scheduled 1944 Olympics had been cancelled due to the Second World War, it rescheduled then hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics as well as various world cup events. Alternatively here’s a great guide to skiing Madonna di Campiglio another great skiing destination in Italy.
Val D’Isere, France
Arguably one of the best ski resorts in the world. Offers a wide range of ski schools and has classes for any skill level. It boasts the most modern lift system you could wish for. Also offered is a huge ski area linked with Tignes, with runs for all standards and with the positioning of the resort at such a high altitude it means that you can ski all year round. A wide range of package holidays and accommodation are available and as an added bonus despite it being such a high resort, the town is beautiful with its 17th century church spire marking the centre of the town, very lively at night, and offers an amazing range of restaurants.
The ski resort of Igls is part of the Innsbruck Glacier Ski area in Austria. It only has direct access to 12km of downhill skiing, but once you are up there you cannot help but stop and stare at the grand and imposing landscape with the city of Innsbruck nestled in the valley. There are 11 individual pistes, served by 7 ski lifts. In addition to the skiing in Igls itself your lift pass will allow you to ski or snowboard in the other Innsbruck Glacier Ski/Stubai SuperSki ski areas.
Pelion Mountain, Greece
The best thing about Pelion Mountain is that it’s a well-kept secret with so much more to offer skiers and still much to be discovered and explored. Known as the home of the Centaurs, the Pelion Mountains offer majestic scenes with skiing from the small resort of Chania.
Rugged beauty, winter sports, and après-ski: all three are a part of what draws visitors to Chamonix. Adjacent to the peak of Mont Blanc, Chamonix is one of the oldest ski resorts in France. With 12 ski areas, Chamonix is has a lot to offer more advanced riders with many off-piste adventures available from stunning Aguille de Midi. It is possible for more intrepid tourists to hire a guide for the day and head down the Vallée Blanche, a must for any lover of the sport. While here you can enjoy the breathtaking views and picturesque scenery. Many avid skiers, snowboarders, and partiers flock to this popular resort and they are not disappointed. The scenic Chamonix Valley is nestled among the highest mountain peaks in the Alps, including the highest Mont Blanc.
Courchevel is one of the many ski resorts in the largest linked ski area in the world – The Three Valleys, although anyone who has skied there extensively will know there are actually 5 valleys. Courchevel includes 600 kilometres of prepared and maintained pistes for your enjoyment. Discover panoramas and magnificent scenery stretching all the way from the Mont Blanc massif in the north down to the Les Ecrins massif in the south. You will also behold a unique view over many of the Swiss and Italian Alps to the north and the east of the resort. Within a few hours you can reach the summit of the Trois Vallées massif, the Pointe de Thorens (3266 m) at Val Thorens, by means of the efficient and rapid ski lifts built in the area.
This is the ideal location if you’re looking for a combination of beautiful views and classic architecture. There are slopes for intermediate and expert, but it is best known among intermediate skiers and snowboarders. The scenery is some of the most spectacular in the Alps and being a traditional, ‘traffic-free’ Alpine village, is reached only by cog railway. There are loads of long, gentle runs, ideal for intermediates, linked to Grindelwald. The reestablished cable-car now offers an attractive alternative to the trains to get up to the slopes. There are beginner slopes in the heart of the village and a calm, unhurried atmosphere in the resort, which will give many skiers great incentive to return time and time again.
Pas de la Casa, Andorra
This lively resort (referred to locally as Pas) is situated is situated in the tiny principality of Andorra, independent since 1278. The resort sits at an altitude of 2050m with the lift ascending to 2640m making Pas the highest resort in the Pyrenees. Due to its superb location and investments in artificial snowmakers, Pas can usually be relied upon to provide a good dump of snow, complemented by plenty of blue skies and sunshine. Pas is a great for beginners and intermediate skiers although they do have some more challenging runs and a snowpark.
Neustift is the closest sizable village to the Stubai glacier, features 28 lifts and 7382 feet of vertical descent in the winter. The road to the ski station is quite possibly one of the most beautiful in the world. The glacier is also open in the summer for all year round skiing and something for all abilities including one of the longest rail bobsleighs in the world.
This is one of the best places to learn skiing (not to mention most beautiful). The slopes in Kandersteg are easy yet a bit daunting, giving learners enough space to test their techniques. This picturesque, traditional village (a winter resort for over 100 years, with the visitors initially attracted for the curling) sits in the middle of stunning Alpine scenery that is hard to surpass beauty-wise. In the village there is even an indoor and an outdoor ice rink and an indoor climbing wall for those wanting to relax away from the snow a bit between runs.