Don your shades. Put on your coat. Grab your skis. Head for the slopes. Travel up on the lift. Push-off the terrain. Have the time of your life. Then do it all over again.
Skiing is a weird holiday choice, when you think about it. It’s extreme and challenging rather than lazy and relaxing. It’s cold; the very thing that many people wish to escape when they book a trip, and other than testing yourself against increasingly difficult runs as the holiday goes on, each day is spent pretty much doing the same thing. So just why are skiing holidays so popular?
Easy: it’s because skiing is just about the most fun a person can have with clothes on. Elegantly gliding down the slopes at fast speeds, using your skill and intuition to navigation a run, all while cosy and snug in your winter getups – what’s not to love?
Perhaps you haven’t enjoyed the rush that skiing provides and are looking to get your first taste, or maybe you’re an experienced skier seeking a new place to ply your trade; either way, we’ve compiled a list of eight of the best skiing destinations in Europe. Check it out.
(image via chamonix.com)
If you’re a keen skier, we needn’t go into detail about this place; the Chamonix Valley in France is legendary. Mont-Blanc, Western Europe’s tallest mountain, boasts some of the steepest and most challenging slopes anywhere in the world, as well as some tricky weather conditions. Skiing down from the Vallée Blanche along the Couloir des Cosmiques run will see you clock up 10,000 vertical feet. There are some slopes here which are ideal for beginners, but for the most part Chamonix is one for the regulars.
Interlaken, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
(image via interlaken.ch)
Offering some of the most stunning scenery imaginable, Interlaken in the Jungfrau region of Bernese Oberland is exquisitely beautiful. Ride the train from Wengen to the top of Jungfraujoch; from here you’ll be able to ski down the Aletschgletscher – a glacier which, at 14 miles long, is the longest in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s plenty for non-skiers to do too, including 100 kilometres of gorgeous winter footpaths.
Portes du Soleil, France
(image via portesdusoleil.com)
If you’re planning a trip for the whole family, then Portes du Soleil on the border between France and Switzerland is the ideal traditional winter sport resort. There are plenty of shops and restaurants that run along the riverside, and the amount of ski slopes here is insane; Portes du Soleil is a mix of 12 different ski resorts spread between the two countries, which are then connected to form two large ski areas.
St. Anton, Austria
(image via skiarlberg.at)
Here’s one for people who like to hit the slopes and hit the clubs in equal measure. St. Anton in Austria is a town with rich skiing heritage, providing over 200 miles of different runs, an extensive network of ski lifts and some fantastic slope-side restaurants (many in ski huts). When you’ve finished your skiing for the day, it’s time to party. Mooserwirt, a restaurant and bar, is well known for guests knocking back the Jäger while a DJ spins tunes on the patio; and all of this as early as 3:30pm.
(image via visitfinland.com)
While many associate Lapland with a large, jolly chap wearing a red onesie, those in the know are well aware that it’s a haven for keen skiers. Ylläs boasts Finland’s great vertical, the longest run and the most runs. This winter wonderland has something for everyone.
(image via alagna.it)
While a huge draw for skiers, Alagna in northern Italy is arguably more famous as a location for snowboarders, who flock here for its big mountain freeriding. While the boarders head off on ungroomed terrain, there’s approximately 115 miles of ski slopes to enjoy, including the Malfatta and Vittoria couloirs. Or if you are in this for the long haul, why not try and ski the six-mile La Balma?
(image via kitzbuehel.com)
Many skiing fans not only like to partake in the sport themselves, but also watch some of the best in the world. Kitzbühel in Austria is a great place to check out some world class action. Every January, more than 80,000 skiing fans cram into the small medieval town to watch what many consider to be the hairiest downhill race on the World Cup circuit. You don’t just have to watch, mind; there are plenty of runs open for you to test your skills.
(image via verbier.ch)
For those looking for a casual skiing trip with lots of night time activity, this might be the resort for you. It doesn’t have the hardcore alpinism that other resorts offer, but it does have convenience, style, and 254 miles of easily-accessible slopes. It’s at night that this place really comes alive; for quiet drinks you could visit the Fer à Cheval, or for a livelier night out check out Pub Mont Fort for a drink or two before heading over to the Farm Club, an eclectic nightclub.
While they all have unique offerings, there’s no denying that each of these eight skiing destinations have some important qualities: gorgeous scenery and the ideal backdrop to any holiday. Book your skiing trip today!