5 extraordinary European ski resorts to visit this winter
There may not be many slopes in the Netherlands, but that doesn't mean you can't plan a fun winter sports trip for yourself and your family. Luckily, here in Europe, you've got some of the most breathtakingly beautiful ski resorts right on your doorstep, and they're only a short flight or a drive away.
Whether you're in it for the dazzling views, the thrilling slopes, the chilly weather or the cheesy fondue, here are some of the best ski resorts that Europe has to offer.
Five ski resorts in Europe that are worth a visit
Considering booking a skiing trip for your next holiday? These five resorts - decked out with all the mountains, glaciers, and chalets you could dream of - are definitely worth a visit this ski season.
1. Zermatt, Switzerland
Zermatt is famous for skiing because of its iconic landmark, the Matterhorn, but it is also a fantastic place for a ski trip. It is home to the greatest vertical drop in Switzerland, along with terrains reaching altitudes as high as 3.900 metres. Some of the longest runs in Europe are here in Zermatt, many of which lead to the village where visitors can enjoy a wonderful rest in pretty surroundings. The Matterhorn Glacier Ride is the highest 3S cable way in the world, and it carries 2.000 skiers an hour to the glacier.
Zermatt is unique because year-round skiing is possible here in the mountains at an altitude of 3.883 metres, making for a cool vacation even in the summer! While the resort is loved by experienced skiers, beginner and intermediate skiers can enjoy the gentler terrain of Wolli’s park, which offers the same gnarly views. The Matterhorn is in between Switzerland and Italy, so visitors are able to enjoy both countries on the same trip.
2. Courchevel, France
Courchevel is the most famous ski resort out of Les Trois Vallees (The Three Valleys), which are several interlinked ski resorts, forming Europe’s largest ski domain. The place includes a 150-kilometre alpine run, which is accessible through one of the many ski lifts offered at the Courchevel. There are four glaciers, and the entire resort spans over 10 summits that have altitudes above 2.500 metres; a skier's heaven.
If this sounds a bit out of your comfort zone, you'll be pleased to hear Courchevel is perfect for any level of skiing. It’s a popular favourite amongst experts for its tree skiing and challenging terrain, but there are five separate villages that have much easier routes for beginners and intermediates. Courchevel is also very family-friendly, making it a perfect ski resort for families with children. In addition to the stunning scenery, there are luxurious chalets and a Michelin-starred restaurant for a fine experience.
3. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
This stunning ski resort in the quaint town of Cortina d’Ampezzo is high up in the Italian Dolomites, covering the five beautiful, rugged peaks of the Cinque Torri. The town has become immensely popular since hosting the Winter Olympics in 1956, making Cortina the preferred winter resort for adventurers. Along with a full day of skiing, visitors can enjoy the entertaining nightlife and shopping in the delightful town.
While the resort is famous for skiing, there are also cross-country ski trains, a bobsled run, and an Olympic ice skating rink. This variety makes the town a fantastic place for experts, beginners, and intermediates. There are trails and lifts that link around 400 kilometres of interconnected skiing runs, including the Mamolada Glacier.
4. Zugspitze, Germany
Zugspitze is Germany’s highest mountain, with an altitude of 2.962 metres, and this resort near the beautiful town of Garmisch-Partenkichen in Bavaria is one of the country's most popular. Cable cars can take visitors to the summit of the mountain, giving you fantastic 360-degree views. From the top, visitors can ski the glacier, which is 2.700 metres above sea level. The resort is huge, and so there are many smaller trails for less experienced skiers with the same incredible views.
There is also an extreme challenge trail called the Kandahar Downhill, among other courses that were utilised in the 1936 Winter Olympics and then again for the International Alpine Skiing Championships in 1978 and 2011. Lastly, there is a gorgeous Ice Stadium that was also used in the 1936 Winter Olympics, and it is now open for public skating. Visitors can pop into the elegant town for some traditional German food.
5. St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria
This resort is for the skiers that enjoy a serious challenge, with its dozen super-expert ski runs. The longest run, the Valluga-St. Anton, is 10 kilometres, with an elevation of 1.347 metres. St. Anton is known for its 200 off-piste options for advanced skiers, and the Flexen Pass, which connects a total of 340 kilometres of pistes in St. Anton and the neighbouring resort of Alberg.
Another highlight is the Run of Fame, an 85-kilometre circuit that takes expert skiers through the entire Arlberg skiing area. It runs from St. Anton to Zurz and then on to Lech and Warth, before circling back to St. Anton. For the competitive people among us, there is an annual race called the Hunt of Fame.
Grab your skis and hit the slopes!
Have you found yourself inspired and are you now itching to book your next break? What are you waiting for; grab your skis, hit the slopes and discover the beautiful views and adventures these resorts have to offer.
This article originally appeared on IamExpat in Switzerland.
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