Image: Harald Groven, Flickr
Skiing season is well and truly upon us, and you’re either hitting those slopes as we speak or wishing you were. (We’ve all been there, don’t worry.) The good news is you can probably snag a last-minute deal for an end-of-season skiing holiday. The even better news is that you’ve got ages to get your ducks in a row for next year and get something booked well in advance! Not sure where to start? Hopefully, this blog will help!
We obviously had to kick off with Switzerland, offering more options than you’ll know what to do with:
- St Moritz. The birthplace of the winter holiday has managed to retain its world-class status - despite it being the oldest of its kind globally. Boasting lavish hotels and restaurants, luxurious shopping and celebrity-magnet slopes, it is both as elegant and exclusive as it gets. But if you’re thinking that it’s all glitz and glamor and not much else, the only other thing you probably need to know is that an impressive number of competitions have been hosted here too. Make no doubt about it - this is world-class skiing at its finest. No matter your ability, there’s a slope and piste for every level - not to mention a whole host of other activities such as ice skating, tobogganing and bobsledding - each accompanied by the most magnificent Alpine views.
- Grindelwald-Wengen and the Jungfrau. Famed for its long runs, steep slopes and high altitude valleys - coupled with a smattering of idyllic little Alpine villages - this makes for a winning all-rounder.
- Zermatt. Incredible skiing opportunities, breathtakingly beautiful lakes, cutting-edge architecture and fairytale Alpine, car-free villages (where horse-drawn sleighs are the mode of transport!) await you here, backdropped by Switzerland’s most famous and majestic mountain, Matterhorn. With a hard-to-beat range of long runs - some of which take you right back to the village - Zermatt is more than just a pretty face - and that’s before we even touch on the swoon-worthy après-ski!
- Mürren. This sleepy village is the antithesis of some of the larger, swankier resorts, but that’s what makes it the popular choice for many. Prepare to fall in love with the sensationally scenic runs, surrounded by some of the most impressive peaks in the Alps.
There’s more than one good reason to head to France for the perfect ski break, as the following will testify to:
- Chamonix. Even without the chocolate box Alpine village that lies at the base of Mont Blanc - Europe’s tallest peak - Chamonix would be a skier's haven. This is - in part - thanks to the cooling, preserving effect of the mountain’s altitude and surrounding glaciers on the almost always-perfect snow, as well as the fact that this was the site of the first Winter Olympics. A fun, snow-filled playground spread across five mountains with an impressively varied range of terrain for every skill set awaits, complete with the most perfect après ski offerings imaginable. A must-do while here is to ride in a cable car over the stunning Alpine scenery, which you can book in conjunction with a tour of Mont Blanc, tasting your way through the charming little town with local produce such as cheese, meat and honey.
- Courchevel. The biggest and most famous of the interlinked ski resorts known as Les Trois Vallées - forming the largest ski domain in Europe - Courchevel is a force to be reckoned with. Keep your eyes peeled for A-Listers at this glamorous resort, offering so much snow you can still ski here in April (!), luxury accommodation, Michelin-starred restaurants, upscale boutiques, runs for all levels and a dedicated children’s ski area.
3. Andorra, Pyrenees
Nestled in the heart of the Pyrenees Mountains lies this family-friendly holiday spot. With excellent ski schools for beginners and a wide variety of slopes to glide down, there’s something for everyone here.
Put your cross-country skiing to the test, surrounded by snow-capped forests.
Finland is often overlooked as a desirable skiing destination due to its modest offering of mountains, yet the cross-country skiing opportunities here can definitely hold their own in terms of fun!
Book a guided reindeer experience where you’ll travel by sleigh to a traditional reindeer farm before cozying up around a campfire with a warm drink and delicious pastry.
5. Zugspitze, Germany
The wow factor of Germany’s highest mountain is enhanced by the picture-perfect Bavarian town at its base.
Boasting 40 kilometers of trails across three mountains, skiers of all abilities will find plenty to choose from.
6. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Offering some of the finest skiing in the Alps, with terrains for all skill sets, the encircling ring of the dramatic Dolomites gives this historic, quintessential Italian town an air of remoteness - despite it only being two hours from Venice. More low-key than some of the others on this list - determined to keep the actual skiing front and center (along with the many delicious food huts dotted along the mountain) - this world-renowned resort, complete with charming boutique shops, trendy wine bars and traditional restaurants, hasn’t stopped people like Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, Frank Sinatra and George Clooney being seduced by its charms over the years!
7. Bansko, Bulgaria
The most budget-friendly option on the list, the slopes here are perfect for beginners and intermediates.
8. Whistler, Canada
A luxury haven for both skiers and snowboarders, the variety of pistes - enveloped by scenic forests and towering mountains - means there’s something for everyone in this charming resort, complete with roaring fires, cozy blankets and delicious hot chocolate.
Ok, hear us out: Ski Dubai is not technically a proper ski resort, but what it lacks in authenticity it certainly makes up for in the impressive range of activities on offer here in the Middle East’s first indoor ski park. Some examples include ski lessons, tobogganing, the Giant Ball, bumper cars, penguin encounter, climbing wall and the Mountain Thriller ride - fun for all the family!
How’s THAT for icy cool, hey?