Europe has something to offer everyone in terms of skiing, from lively aprés-ski and celebrity-spotting, to budget chalets and family destinations. While the resorts in Western Europe tend to be expensive, the resorts of Romania and Bulgaria offer cheaper options and are popular among school groups and students.
Most European resorts have good ski schools and wide, gradual slopes for beginners. For more experiences skiers and thrill-seekers, the Alps and the Pyrenees in particular have steep vertical drops. Skiing holidays don’t just involve skiing. Long lunches, gourmet food, and hot nightspots are all part of the experience. Here’s a selection of some of the best options for skiing in Europe.
St. Moritz – the original ski resort
Ski alongside Continental royalty in the Swiss ski town of St. Moritz. Europe’s premier ski resort twice hosted the Winter Olympics, and in addition to great ski slopes, features the world’s only ice bobsleigh runs and one of the longest skeleton runs. It is believed to be the birthplace of resort holidays and has more 4* and 5* hotels than anywhere else in Europe. There is a non-commercial airport in nearby Samedan, but for those that don’t own their own plane, the train connection from Zurich Airport offers a comfortable and scenic way into the resort.
Bulgaria and Romania
If you’re looking for cheaper options, check out some of the cheaper resorts in Bulgaria and Romania. Resorts such as Poiana Brasov and Sinaia in Romania and Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo in Bulgaria offer catered ski chalet holidays which are particularly suitable for beginners and offer great value for school and family groups. Pamporovo is located on the gently sloping Rhadopi mountain and is the sunniest of Bulgaria’s resorts. Ski hire and cheap ski resorts add to the attraction for young and beginner skiiers.
The French resort of Chamonix, situated at the foot of Mont Blanc, hosted the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924 and has been a key resort ever since. Chamonix is well connected to the rest of France, northern Italy and Switzerland, by both road and train and is situated just 88km from Geneva airport. Those who can afford it can also avail a helicopter pick-up from any French Alp resort. Within reach of the resort is one of Europe’s biggest glaciers (Mer de Glace), one of the world’s highest cable card (Aiguille du Midi cable car), and the delightful Musee des Cristaux, or ‘Museum of Crystals’.
From Austria to Slovenia, there are many more ski resorts to choose from throughout the continent. Most of Europe’s resorts are open from late November to late April, though Levi Resort in Finland operates until early June most seasons.