Thousands of us head off to the European slopes every year for a holiday in the snow, and the ski market is growing quickly. Resorts fall in and out of fashion, but what doesn’t change is the variety of skiing on offer, and the other facilities offered by the European resorts. If you’re struggling to decide which resort is right for your next ski or snowboard holiday, here are some of the best.
Winner of “Best European Ski Resort 2016”, Val Thorens in the French Alps is the highest ski resort in Europe. It is part of the famous Three Valleys ski area which has over 370 miles of interconnected ski runs, plenty to keep even the most dedicated skier happy. A large resort also means lots of accommodation choices to suit all budgets, and plenty of shops and restaurants too. The altitude of the resort also means more snow and for longer than some of the resorts at lower levels.
If you want to combine skiing with some time shopping or sightseeing, then Chamonix is a great choice. The closest airport is just across the border in Geneva, and it will take just over an hour from the airport to the resort. Accommodation is plentiful, the resort has a stunning location in the shadow of Mont Blanc, and Geneva is just an hour away if you want to take a break from skiing. If you’re feeling particularly brave try the step into the void – a glass platform over a 1000m precipice. The views are unrivalled, but it’s not for the faint hearted.
Slovakia definitely isn’t as well-known for skiing as the Alpine resorts, but Jasna is rapidly becoming popular as a value for money, no-nonsense ski resort. The resort has around 30 miles of ski runs to suit all levels of skiers from complete novices to experts. Fly to Budapest or Bratislava and make your way by car to Jasna, where you will find a good range of accommodation choices. One of the main appeals of Jasna is that everything costs substantially less than the established Alpine resorts; expect to pay around 90p for a beer, and around £4 for a huge pizza.
Norway’s most established ski resort at Geilo, around 80 miles to the north west of Oslo, is the perfect choice for families and beginner skiers. Geilo doesn’t have the lively nightlife you’ll find in some of the other resorts, and a smaller resort means that all the facilities you’ll need are close to hand. Geilo is more an outdoor pursuits centre rather than being solely focused on skiing, so you’ll also have the option of trying activities such as rope obstacle courses high in the trees or dog sledding. Many budget airlines fly into Oslo or Bergen, and although car hire and eating out is more expensive in Norway than in many other countries, Geilo offers a much more family-friendly skiing experience than anywhere else in Europe.