It’s been a harsh winter in most European countries and only a few weeks ago, a small town in the south of Germany was completely snowed in and only accessible via military vehicles; Mediterranean countries such Greece and Spain, famous for their mild temperatures all-year-round, registered all-time lows of -23 degrees, and Britain too is currently covered in a thick blanket of snow. While it’s been tough to motivate ourselves to get out of our beds and step into the cold, cold mornings only to spend hours in traffic thanks to icy roads, this wintery weather does come with one major perk: the opportunity to prolong the winter holiday and get as much skiing and sledding fun in as possible!
If you’re considering booking another skiing trip before the powder-season ends, there are many great options in the world. Here are some great tips for the best European skiing destinations.
Kaiser Mountains (Austria)
Made up of two main mountain ridges between the historic towns of Kufstein and St.Johann in Tyrol, the Kaiser Mountains offer the most beautiful scenery and most adventurous ski ranges in Austria. With the two mountains having earned the names “Tame Emperor” and “Wild Emperor” (German: Zahmer Kaiser and Wilder Kaiser), you should immediately get a sense of what to expect. The Wilder Kaiser really does provide wild fun for everyone – whether you’re looking for a relaxed or an exhilarating ski run, a tan on one of the many hut terraces or atop the mountain, all holidaying-tastes are catered to here. Just one hour from Mozart’s hometown Salzburg or the bustling city of Munich, you’ll have plenty of options for sight-seeing should you need a break from skiing for a day.
A great mix of winter-sport-adventures, award-winning restaurants offering creative local and international cuisine and an idyllic mountain-village setting await you in the world-famous ski resort in Kitzbühel, Austria. Offering accommodations for all budgets and slopes for all levels, Kitzbühel is the ideal destination for a family skiing holiday. With three different airports – Munich, Salzburg and Innsbruck – at a comfortable distance, this is a great choice for a weekend getaway. This ski resort was voted one of the most stunning in Europe by travel website, European Best Destinations.
St. Mortiz (Switzerland)
If your main mission for this years’ skiing holiday is braving new slopes and satisfying your Instagram feed with picturesque images of the ultimate winter wonderland, St. Moritz is for you. Home to the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948, it is one of the oldest ski resorts in Europe. Located on the southern slopes of the Albula Alps and overlooking the beautiful St. Mortiz lake, this winter-sport destination is popular all-year round: with more than 300 days of sunshine throughout the year, it truly is an incredible place to be, regardless of which type of sport you are looking to practice.
Known as Germany’s most snow-sure ski resort and overlooking the Olympic town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Zugspitze is an all-time favourite amongst experienced ski-enthusiasts. Providing pistes that stretch some 22 kilometers over the neighbouring mountains of Alpspitze, Kreuzeck and Hausberg, and excellent tracks reserved just for sledding, this is a great destination for all levels and all budgets. One of the greatest attractions for those with years of experience under their belt, is the 3km Super-G course – the accomplishment of which is best celebrated with a delicious dampfnudel and a fantastic view on the terrace of one of the mountain restaurants.
Unsurprisingly ranked one of the top ski destinations in the world, the Avoriaz winter resort in France attracts sport enthusiasts from all corners of the planet. Situated on the main circuit of Les Portes du Soleil, the Avoriaz pistes stretch around 130 kilometers. The car-free zone is a paradise for skiers, mountaineers and those who are simply looking for a breath-taking environment for their upcoming holiday. Offering several different ski equipment rentals and its own children’s village that welcomes children from the ages of three to participated in the ski and snowboard school’s lessons and activities, this is an ideal resort for the little ones.
Set yourself the ultimate challenge for your next winter-sport holiday and ski from Switzerland to Italy, where you can enjoy everything one of Europe’s highest ski resorts has to offer. This can be done by braving the 22 km run between Cervinia and its Swiss sister resort, Zermatt. Popular for its affordable prices and wide range of entertainment offers – including the Carnevale Storico di Breuil and the Swimwear Ski Parade – the Cervinia ski resort offers fun for the whole family.
Sierra Nevada (Spain)
With the historic city of Granada located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain, the decision as to where to go skiing this year should be a simple one. Book a hotel room with views of the Alhambra and take the bus to the mountains every morning for a full day of skiing fun. With a skiable zone of some 2,500 hectares that allows 30, 000 skiers to slalom their way down Spain’s greatest vertical drop, the Sierra Nevada resort attracts families of all levels. And in case you need another incentive for visiting this unlikely country as a winter-sport destination: the delicious tapas that can be enjoyed between skiing breaks in town tend to come free with every drink order – long live the student city of Granada!
For a different kind of skiing experience beneath the midnight sun, you’ll have to head over to Riksgränsen in Sweden. With a winter-sport season that often stretches into June, Riksgränsen has become one of Scandinavia’s most popular skiing destinations. It is especially attractive for those who aren’t necessarily looking for pistes but cross-country skiing. However, there are plenty of pistes too, including the Nordalsfjäll, which is home to the Scandinavian Big Mountain Championships every year. With an excellent selection of local restaurants and a few spas offering warming treatments after a chilly day, this might be the perfect skiing destination for a special occasion.