Skiing holidays don’t come better than those in Europe. And, with so many equally attractive options, choosing the right destination for your trip can be a difficult task.
From waterparks to a mountain-top church, read on to discover seven of the very best skiing locations the continent has to offer.
1. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Tucked into the jagged Dolomite Mountains, Cortina d’Ampezzo is a scenic town that benefits greatly from the UNESCO-protected mountain range and is a perfect resort if you’re seeking a visually captivating ski trip. The resort is widely renowned, not only as a protected World Heritage site but also for its Olympic heritage after hosting the 1956 Winter Games.
As well as the stunning views you can enjoy loads of winter activities including freestyle snow parks, an ice stadium, bobsleigh track and ice skating.
Guided tours of the Dolomites’ rugged beauty are a popular activity among those travelling to this resort, as well as hiking the perimeter of the turquoise waters of Lago di Sorapis.
Campo d’Ampezzo is also reasonably convenient to reach – just a three-hour drive from the closest airport, Venice Marco Polo.
2. Avoriaz, France
Avoriaz is a stylish resort intended for the adventurous winter sportsperson, defined by its futuristic accommodation designed in the 1960’s and adrenalin-fuelled winter activities.
Snowboarders will gravitate towards Avoriaz with slopes and freestyle accommodating to those opting for the board. The French resort is also enjoyed by skiers, as the resorts offers skiable paths connecting visitors to different ranges and natural surroundings.
Sitting on the French-Swiss border, Avoriaz enjoys direct access to Les Portes du Soleil with all its exciting slopes. Other attractions include three ski parks – including a modern ecological ski park – and a superpipe. At the same time, local waterpark Aquariaz offers a more temperate way to spend time with its tropical theme, 30-degree water temperatures and a calming lazy river.
A popular option for reaching Avoriaz is to travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord and driving thereon.
3. Obergurgl, Austria
For those seeking a family-oriented and fun experience, Obergurgl in Austria is an ideal choice. At 1,930 metres, Obergurgl is one of the highest villages in the Alps and the highest parish in Austria. Its dainty satellite village, Hochgurgl, also hosts the highest church in Austria.
Besides its lofty architecture, Obergurgl is renowned for the mountain’s reliable, snow sure slopes combined with a family-friendly apres-ski scene at the base of its slopes.
Those new to skiing will find themselves well-accommodated as the resort offers free lift access to learners in their ski school. This can keep costs down for those travelling in large family groups while making the learning experience much more enjoyable.
Should you get tired of skiing, Obergurgl offers ice skating and snowshoeing, along with dogsled and snowmobile rides.
Travelling there from the UK is relatively streamlined with both Innsbruck Airport and Salzburg Airport under three hours away by car.
4. Chamonix, France
Situated at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, Chamonix enjoys its position at the junction of France, Italy and Switzerland.
Close to Chamonix resort is Vallée Blanche, the longest off-piste route in the world that twists through the mountain for 12.5 miles. The journey down takes between four and six hours, giving skiers plenty of time to soak up Mont Blanc’s stunning views.
There are plenty of ways to see the spectacular mountains around Chamonix. Assisted climbing and skiing activities navigating sections of the mountain are popular and have been conducted reliably for 200 years by Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix.
For the more easy-going, the Train de Montenvers de Glace offers a peaceful tour of the mountain range’s glaciers, including Mer de Glace, by rail.
Travelling to Chamonix from the UK is simple. The closest airport is in Geneva and it’s only an hour to drive to the resort.
5. Val d’Isere, France
Val d’Isere is a resort for the adventurous skier. Regarded as one of the best skiing destinations in the world, the mountain range is linked with neighbouring Tignes to share an impressive 186 miles of trails and features challenging black runs, such as Face de Bellevarde.
The resort has a plethora of facilities attracting the season’s most enthusiastic skiers – the most enticing being the World Cup Men’s Downhill pistes partnered with the exceptional snow quality on the slopes.
Equally, non-skiers are welcomed by a range of activities: free pedestrian access to mountain lifts; horse-drawn sleds; and high-quality off-piste establishments.
Bourg St Maurice is the closest train station to Val d’Isere, where regular high-speed trains arrive from London and Paris. After this, the resort is only 45 minutes away by bus.
6. St Moritz, Switzerland
Considered as the destination originating the modern skiing holiday, St Moritz is steeped in an unparalleled history of winter sports. Accompanying its history is the extravagant hotel and restaurant scene found there, with a range of five-star hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from.
The luxurious resort has hosted two Winter Olympics and naturally boasts a huge range of winter sports facilities. Among these facilities is the famous Cresta Run: the founding venue of the “skeleton” event and an example of the unique history of St Moritz.
Aside from the Cresta Run, St Moritz offers an Olympic ice rink, frozen lake sports – including cricket and polo – as well as high altitude pistes.
Due to its proximity to Italy, the most practical airport to arrive at is Milan Bergamo, 58 miles away. The drive from there should take two and a half hours.
7. Verbier, Switzerland
Travelers seeking a party atmosphere to partner their skiing should consider making Verbier their holiday destination. Located in southern Switzerland, Verbier enjoys views of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc while being home to an incredible 255 miles of pistes.
As well as the technically challenging off-piste routes at Verbier, including the famous Mont Fort off-piste run with a 6,500-foot descent, there are plenty of beginner programmes to those with little skiing experience.
The big mountain skiing experience is enhanced with an energetic scene of bars, restaurants and lounges that are open until late. Infamously, the nightlife in Verbier is one of its main attractions with lively venues hosting crowds of fun-loving skiers.
The best way to travel to Verbier from the UK is to fly to either Sion Airport, a 45-minute drive away, or Geneva Airport, which is two hours away by car.