5 sensational ski resorts in Europe
Booking a skiing trip this ski season or over the holidays? Lucky for you, Europe is home to some of the most stunning ski resorts in the world, complete with dazzling views, runs suitable for skiiers of all levels, and great après-ski options to unwind off the slopes.
The best ski resorts in Europe, perfect for your next trip
Since Europeans from most countries are avid skiiers, it should come as no surprise that the whole continent is dotted with great resorts and beautiful chalets. From soaring mountains to glinting glaciers, here are some of our top recommendations for your next skiing holiday.
1. Zermatt, Switzerland
Perhaps the most famous ski resort in Switzerland, Zermatt is famous because of its iconic landmark, the Matterhorn, which is one the tallest mountains in Europe. It's also a fantastic place for a ski trip. It is home to the greatest vertical drop in Switzerland, along with terrains reaching altitudes as high as 3.900 metres. Some of the longest runs in Europe are here in Zermatt, many of which lead to the village where visitors can enjoy a wonderful rest in pretty surroundings. The Matterhorn Glacier Ride is the highest 3S cable way in the world, and it carries 2.000 skiers an hour to the glacier.
Zermatt is unique because year-round skiing is possible here in the mountains at an altitude of 3.883 metres, making for a cool vacation even in the summer! While the resort is loved by experienced skiers, beginner and intermediate skiers can enjoy the gentler terrain of Wolli’s park, which offers the same gnarly views. The Matterhorn is in between Switzerland and Italy, so visitors are able to enjoy both countries on the same trip.
2. St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria
With its collection of super-difficult ski runs, the St. Anton am Arlberg ski resort is one for those who enjoy a serious challenge. The longest run, the Valluga-St. Anton, is 10 kilometres, with an elevation of 1.347 metres. St. Anton is known for its 200 off-piste options for advanced skiers, and the Flexen Pass, which connects a total of 340 kilometres of pistes in St. Anton and the neighbouring resort of Alberg.
Another highlight is the Run of Fame, an 85-kilometre circuit that takes expert skiers through the entire Arlberg skiing area. It runs from St. Anton to Zurz and then on to Lech and Warth, before circling back to St. Anton. For the competitive people among us, there is an annual race called the Hunt of Fame.
3. Courchevel, France
Part of Les Trois Vallees (The Three Valleys) - a series of interlinked ski resorts that come together to make the biggest resort in Europe - Courchevel in France is a skier's paradise. The place includes a 150-kilometre alpine run, which is accessible through one of the many ski lifts offered at the Courchevel. There are four glaciers, and the entire resort spans over 10 summits that have altitudes above 2.500 metres.
If this sounds a bit out of your comfort zone, you'll be pleased to hear Courchevel is perfect for any level of skiing. It’s a popular favourite amongst experts for its tree skiing and challenging terrain, but there are five separate villages that have much easier routes for beginners and intermediates. Courchevel is also very family-friendly, making it a perfect ski resort for families with children. In addition to the stunning scenery, there are luxurious chalets and a Michelin-starred restaurant for a fine experience.
4. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
If you'd rather head to Italy for your skiing holiday, may we recommend this stunning ski resort in the Italian Dolomites. The quaint town of Cortina d'Ampezzo overlooks the five beautiful, rugged peaks of the Cinque Torri and has become an exceptionally popular destination for skiiers of all abilities since it hosted the Winter Olympics in 1956. Along with a full day of skiing, visitors can enjoy the entertaining nightlife and shopping in the delightful town.
While the resort is famous for skiing, there are also cross-country ski trains, a bobsled run, and an Olympic ice skating rink. This variety makes the town a fantastic place for experts, beginners, and intermediates. There are trails and lifts that link around 400 kilometres of interconnected skiing runs, including the Mamolada Glacier.
5. Zugspitze, Germany
And, if you'd rather stay on home turf, head to the higest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze, which reaches an altitude of 2.962 metres. The resort near the beautiful town of Garmisch-Partenkichen in Bavaria is one of the country's most popular. Cable cars can take visitors to the summit of the mountain, giving you fantastic 360-degree views. From the top, visitors can ski the glacier, which is 2.700 metres above sea level. The resort is huge, and so there are many smaller trails for less experienced skiers with the same incredible views.
There is also an extreme challenge trail called the Kandahar Downhill, among other courses that were utilised in the 1936 Winter Olympics and then again for the International Alpine Skiing Championships in 1978 and 2011. Lastly, there is a gorgeous Ice Stadium that was also used in the 1936 Winter Olympics, and it is now open for public skating. Visitors can pop into the elegant town for some traditional German food.
Time to hit the slopes!
Ready to don your skis and salopettes and hit the slopes? Get out there and discover the beautiful views and adventures these resorts have to offer.
This article originally appeared on IamExpat in Switzerland.
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