5 Resorts to Suit Your Ski Style
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While we may be sad to be saying farewell to the sunny summer months, October is an ideal time to turn our thoughts to skiing and some of the wonderful resorts available throughout the winter season. Perfect for thrill seekers and adventurers, or even just for those seeking an active holiday in a beautiful environment, ski holidays are an ideal way to travel and stay fit – not to mention enjoying plenty of vibrant après ski.
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Just a short journey from the UK, Europe offers a range of skiing opportunities for all interests, but with so much choice it can be hard to pick your favourite. Here’s a guide highlighting some of the great options available throughout Europe to help you choose the perfect ski resort for you:
St. Anton, Austria, for après ski
St. Anton has earned a reputation as one of the most buzzing après ski resorts in the world, with a great range of lively bars and clubs, open from lunch time through until early morning. Whatever your party style, there will be a bar to suit you. The world famous Krazy Kanguruh is located on the slopes above the village; perfect for refreshment on your way down the mountain. Or in town, you can head to iconic party spots like Scotty’s bar or Jacky’s and drink and dance into the small hours.
Les deux Alpes, France, for snowboarders
Les Deux Alpes is a fab destination for snowboarders throughout the year, thanks to being situated on a glacier, meaning it can offer snowy terrain parks even in summer. The wide pistes are great for beginners and intermediates and there are jumps, rails and half pipes for the more adventurous. There are also decent opportunities for free riding, as well as a vibrant nightlife that attracts snowboarders from all over the world. There are bubble lifts for easy access to many of the runs, although be aware that the runs often seem topsy-turvy with black runs leading into town and the easier blues right up on the glacier.
Courmayeur, Italy, for traditional charm
The beautiful cobbled streets and old buildings of Courmayeur help to add a cosy sense of character to this traditional Italian mountaineering village. The centre is pedestrianized, so you won’t need to fight through cars as you stroll around the delightful shops and restaurants. Many of the charming buildings here are made in part from slate slabs taken directly from the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif that soars over the town. Ideal for a weekend getaway, the slopes offer some great opportunities for off-piste skiing, as well as eating, drinking and exploring the many Italian designer boutiques throughout this unspoilt town.
Courchevel, France, for beginners
With wide, shallow pistes and four fenced-off “Evolution Zones” exclusively for beginners, Courchevel is an ideal resort for first time skiers and snowboarders. There are four stations here, each named after their altitude, ranging from 1300 to 1850, offering plenty of easy green and blue runs with beginner-friendly lifts and rope tows for those who are new to mountain travel. The slopes are well groomed and offer a number of gentle, wide pistes with easy gradients. There are still plenty of opportunities for more advanced skiers too, so if your group is mixed ability Courchevel is a great choice.
Val d’Isere, France, for snow reliability
Even in times when other resorts have suffered from poor snow fall, the charming village of Val d’Isère can often be relied on for exceptional snow conditions, thanks to being situated at 1,850m, with slopes reaching well over 3,000m. These north-facing slopes are set deep into the Alps with low risk of rain, ensuring warming influences are reduced, making this a safe bet for reliable snow throughout the season. Thanks to its close proximity to nearby Tignes to form Espace Killy, the area offers 300km of well-maintained slopes that are perfect for all skill levels, from beginners and pros to boarders and powder skiers.
The cheapest option for reaching European ski resorts is usually by long distance coach. These can be fairly comfortable and you can choose to travel through the night, essentially giving yourself an extra full day on the slopes.
For ease and speed, it’s worth paying the extra to travel by plane. Most flights to European destinations take no longer than a few hours (for example, average flights from London City Airport to Geneva, which is central to most Alps-based resorts, tend to take around 1 hour 35 minutes) with a little extra time accounted for security and transfers. In general, you’ll be more comfortable than on a bus and cheap flights can be found if you do your research before buying. Make sure to check airline ski baggage allowances before flying, as these can differ depending on who you fly with and some airlines can charge for transporting snow sports gear.
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