Thursday, May 19, 2022

7 Best Ski Resorts in Europe for an Unbelievable Trip – Travel+Leisure

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From Switzerland to France to Italy, here’s where you’ll want to ski when you journey across the pond.
Deciding where to ski in Europe can be a dizzying experience — the act of descending down mountains on two planks is both a beloved pastime and a lifestyle in most of the continent. However, while ski areas can be found all over Europe, the countries of France, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy are particularly renowned for their ski-friendly climate, terrain, and infrastructure. Here, villages have decades (and in many cases, centuries) of experience welcoming powder-hungry travelers and understand that the sport is about more than simply heading down a mountain on skis or a snowboard. So, in addition to powdery pistes, you'll find lively après-ski scenes, fine-dining restaurants set in wildly scenic locales, and lodging that is both luxurious and unpretentious.
When you're ready to make that European ski vacation a reality, take a moment to match your expectations with a resort that delivers. Should you head to the Alps or Dolomites? Go for a luxe, glitzy resort or book a stay in a low-key alpine village?
Take advantage of our handy guide to find a ski resort in Europe that has everything you're looking for (and then some).
Courchevel is a dream European ski destination. Through Courchevel, you have access to Les Trois Vallées (The Three Valleys), the largest linked ski area in the world. And when it comes to post-skiing fun, the resort's six interconnected villages offer up a little something for everyone. In Courchevel, you'll find Michelin-starred restaurants, a dedicated children's ski area, hundreds of upscale boutiques, and perhaps most importantly, guaranteed snow, thanks to the resort's natural high elevation and expansive snowmaking system.
Access to Courchevel is easiest via Chambéry Airport (a one-and-a-half-hour drive) or Geneva Airport (a two-and-a-half-hour drive).
There's a reason you've probably heard of Zermatt, the Swiss destination is known for its iconic location at the base of Matterhorn peak, but the ski area is just as impressive, with well over 200 miles of skiable terrain and guaranteed snow.
In Zermatt, you won't have to worry about parking, as it's completely car-free, meaning you'll park your vehicle outside the destination and take a train, taxi, or helicopter into the village. If you're flying into Zurich or Geneva airports, you can take the train directly to the resort without having to worry about renting a car (or driving in Europe).
Set among the highest peaks in the Dolomites is Cortina d'Ampezzo. Italy's most sophisticated ski town is conveniently linked to Dolomiti Superski, 12 ski areas that operate under one pass. If the easy ticket system and 75 miles of terrain at Cortina d'Ampezzo aren't enough to entice you, perhaps the resort's appointment as the 2026 Winter Olympics host will.
Access to the resort is easiest via Venice Marco Polo Airport, a two-hour drive from the resort.
It doesn't get much more luxe than St. Moritz, a Swiss town heralded as the oldest winter holiday resort in the world. There's a reason die-hard skiers flock to St. Moritz: The resort's high elevation and impressive number of sunny days result in a light powder that blankets the ski area's 87 pistes.
The nearest airport, Engadin Airport, is an easy, 15-minute drive from the resort, or you can fly into Zurich (three hours by car), Milan (three hours), or Munich (four hours). Not interested in renting a car? Hop on the wildly scenic Glacier Express or Bernina Express trains.
In addition to fantastic inbound skiing, Chamonix boasts legendary off-piste skiing in the dramatic scenery of the French Alps. While family-friendly and beginner runs exist, the resort is known for its expert terrain, which spans several separate ski areas and is linked by bus.
Access to Chamonix is easiest from Geneva Airport (just over an hour by car).
Austria's largest interconnected ski area, Ski Arlberg, is made up of seven villages — St. Anton am Arlberg, St. Christoph, Stuben, Lech, Zürs, Warth, and Schröcken — and almost 200 miles of in-piste skiing (plus another 120 miles of off-piste terrain). But there's a lot more going on here than world-class skiing — St. Anton has an impressive dining scene and great nightlife, too.
To get there, fly into St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport (one and a half hours by car) or Zurich Airport (two and a half hours by car).
Resting on the other side of Mont Blanc from Chamonix is the Italian ski town of Courmayeur. In addition to boasting stunning Mont Blanc views, it's said to be a little sunnier than the French side of the mountain. On top of drawing skiers, people flock to this resort town to ride the Skyway Monte Bianco cable car, which has views of the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa, as well as enjoy Michelin-star meals and a lively après-ski scene.
To access Courmayeur, fly into Geneva Airport or Turin Airport (both around one hour, 45 minutes by car).


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