Hitting the slopes in Europe this winter? Check out these splendid ski resorts, which are perfect for daredevils, beginners and families.
Dreaming of vertical plunges from the imposing Gemsstock mountain in Switzerland? Or a mellower slide down the slopes of Austria? Whether you’re a ski expert or a novice or thinking of treating your loved ones to the perfect apres-ski experience, we’ve found a resort that’s just for you. Put on your skis and embrace the snow season.
Western Austria’s quaint mountain village and ski resort Lech could be perfect for families with children looking to learn the ropes. Its main ski area, Oberlech, is a paradise for newbies there are lessons, a designated beginners’ zone and a network of easy blue runs progressing up the mountain. Lech is rarely crowded, too, which makes for casual cruising along gentle slopes — the resort only issues a certain number of lift passes each day, so you won’t have to worry about potential collisions with any fellow skiers. Confident learners can follow Lech’s 14-mile White Ring, the longest ski circuit in the world, with a little help from the experienced local guides.
For fearless pros
Famous for its super-steep pistes, Andermatt in Switzerland is expert skiers’ go-to resort. Known for its reliable snowfall and challenging terrain, it boasts more than 112 miles of pistes, with some thrill inducing routes in the Gemsstock area, alongside its entry-level slopes in the Natschen area. Red intermediate runs blend with black off-piste routes, with the most iconic being the four-mile-long Bernhard Russi Run on Gemsstock mountain: this towering peak reaches almost 10,000ft above sea level, offering dizzying, 3,115ft vertical plunges leading all the way down to Gurschen middle station.
For apres-ski fun
Val d’Isère is arguably France’s most renowned winter resort, providing more than 185 miles of piste and off-piste routes. And it has plenty of entertaining apres-ski options, too. Go for buzzing DJ parties at La Folie Douce or the laid-back live sets at Le Petit Danois, or choose from an abundance of places to eat — think refined restaurants, cosy creperies and alpine chalets with sublime vistas and warming cups of vin chaud and hot chocolate. Adding to the fun, some of the resort’s hotels come with their own bowling alleys, ice rinks and cinema rooms.
For skiing on a budget
Seeking a less glitzy alternative? Nestled in the Rila Mountains in Bulgaria, Borovets offers affordable accommodation, ski rentals and super-cheap ski lifts. No wonder it was voted the best value ski resort in the Post Office Travel Money Ski Report 2022. Daily lift passes cost approximately £22 and you’ll find reasonably priced hotels right on the slopes or in the nearby town of Samokov, where a decent double room will set you back as little as £17 per night. Leave your little one at Borokids Park for a skiing class, or if you’re travelling with friends, head to BJs for an extended happy hour.
Perfect for weary parents or grandparents, the mountain spa town of Bormio offers a different ski experience, paired with wellness retreats and hot springs. Spend your day swishing around the slopes before soaking your troubles away at the infinity pool overlooking the Valtellina valley at QC Terme; this wellness paradise can be traced at least 2,000 years to when ancient Romans discovered Bormio’s thermal springs and created baths around them. Now, the full-blown spa centre allows for casual pool swims, mud treatments and even physiotherapy sessions — all in the shadow of the grand Alta Valtellina peaks. Don’t miss the San Martino natural steam bath — it has a tunnel that leads down to one of the centuries-old hot springs.