Are you dreaming of fondue, open log fires, charming French villages and endless pristine skiing in Europe? Yep, us too. France, Switzerland & Italy are the top contenders for the best skiing in Europe. As it’s such a large area, so we have broken it down, to help you find what you might be looking for. From endless off-piste adventures in Chamonix-Mont Blanc to authentic alpine charm in St Martin-de-Belleville, skiing in Europe will never disappoint.
Skiing in Europe: Where to go?
Top resorts for adventure & off-piste
The mountaineering birthplace and hub of Europe that sits in the foothills of Mont Blanc. It’s at a crossroads between Italy, Switzerland, and France meaning it’s easily accessible from all directions. That is why it’s a firm favourite for skiing in Europe. Whilst sitting in the town having a coffee you will often see groups walking past in harnesses with crampons, ice axes, and huge backpacks. The atmosphere at après-ski in Chamonix is slightly more serious, with lots of mentions of guides, ropes, and crevasses.
It’s good to note that everything within the ski area boundary is regularly checked by ski patrollers but you should take a guide or an instructor so you can feel protected going off-piste within the resort. Chamonix is the ultimate resort for budding alpinists and those seeking adrenaline-filled skiing in Europe.
The resort where winter never seems to stop. The long winter season continues through the summer, as the Grande Motte Glacier is open for 6 weeks in July and August. The resort is linked with Val d’Isère and with over 300km of pistes to explore you will never get bored. Although the village is filled with apartment blocks, many have been redeveloped and re-clad to fit in with its charming neighbour of Val d’Isère. Our one tip would be to confirm the location of your accommodation before booking, as Tignes is spread between 5 little villages. They are well connected with bus links but might be worth taking into consideration.
Also located in France is an experienced skiers paradise. Due to its high altitude and mostly north-facing slopes, it’s a no-brainer for snow-safe skiing in Europe. Val d’Isère is a large resort in itself, but also makes up the Espace Killy which is linked to Tignes. The long sweeping runs and a variety of beginner areas, make it the ideal location for the whole family or a large group of friends. There’s plenty of pistes and off-piste to be explored.
If you’re wanting more adventure and off-piste then you should grab an instructor and get them to show you the steep tree-lined slopes that take you back to the village. Imagine steep chutes and fast rabbit-runs winding through the trees.
Great resorts for authentic alpine charm
Serre Chevalier in France is a relatively undiscovered resort with over 250km of pistes to explore. Considering its size, it’s not busy, even on peak weeks, making it an ideal location for someone learning to ski. With plenty of space to practice and beautiful tree-lined green runs, you won’t want to ski anywhere else. Another bonus of this undiscovered resort is that you will get great value for money. Accommodation and passes are cheaper than larger resorts meaning you have more money for fondue. Winner! With plenty of natural features, it is a great playground for kids and teenagers to explore the joy of skiing. For the adults, Serre Chevalier is home to one of Europe’s largest thermal spas in alpine village Monêtier lower down the hill. You can reach Serre Chevalier by flying to Turin and jumping in a transfer up to the resort.
St Martin de Belleville is a charming village located between Val Thorens and Meribel-Motteret in the Three Valleys. It remains relatively untouched which you can feel from the friendly atmosphere and local produce on sale. We recommend consuming the chef’s specials or the ‘Plat du Jour’ (plate of the day) made from local cheese. Oh, and make sure to finish with a café gourmand. The famous French dessert with a mini selection of sweet treats served with an espresso. It’s got to be done. St Martin de Belleville or St Martin for short provides cruisy blue runs which seem to be never-ending. Our favourite run is Jerusalem because it is perfect for practicing techniques you’ve learned in previous lessons. It’s also great for getting some angles and carving up the groomed piste in one of our clinics.
Vallandry in France is a quiet alpine village nestled in the Paradiski area linked to Les Arcs and La Plagne. The quaint town is still relatively untouched by the booming tourism market in neighbouring La Plagne making it the ideal location for a scenic getaway skiing in Europe. Think, relaxed, cozy après ski with great service and a personable touch. After visiting Vallandry a couple of times, you will feel like a local- which helps make you feel at home.
Best resorts for splashing out on luxury
The resort is just a short trip from Innsbruck making it an ideal location for skiing in Europe. We love St Anton because the terrain is steep and the snow is deep. It is said that the Arlberg area received more snow on average than anywhere else in the Alps. If you want to build up your confidence on the steeps then check out our ski school in St Anton. If that’s not enough to entice you, then maybe the après-ski will. Let’s just say the Austrian’s know how to party. Dancing in ski boots to great live music is all part of the fun.
Verbier nestled in the Swiss Alps, is famous for its glamour, luxury, and high-profile status. It sits in the Four Valleys ski area and has plenty of steep backcountry terrain and quality skiing for beginners and experts. Verbier is home to Coco’s, the first VIP club in the Alps, which attracts fashionable, young clients to the resort. Verbier is an ideal resort because it has something for everyone. The Freeride World Tour is hosted in Verbier, proving its reputation for powder and steep terrain. You can expect to swap your pancakes for cheese and ham at the buffet breakfast and frozen margaritas to Glühwein for a true Swiss experience.
Courchevel 1850 is tucked at the far left side of the Trois Vallees ski area (the largest ski area in the world). It’s the highest resort in Courchevel, making it the ultimate location for the high flyers and celebrities. There is a runway on the mountain, giving the term ski in – ski out a new meaning! The lifts in Courchevel are luxurious, warm, and comfortable as most have leather seats and wind hoods. Due to the altitude of the resort Courchevel delivers great snow up high and plenty of fun skiing in the trees lower down the mountain. Courchevel 1850 has lots of designated beginner areas perfect for both adults and children, making learning to ski fun.
Something for everyone
France’s largest beginner’s paradise. Most of the resort sits high above the tree line, meaning the ski runs are wide, quiet and perfect for learning. The Paradiski area is enormous, with over 425km of piste to play around on. With over 11 different villages making up the area, you can find the ideal spot for your family. If the 73 blue runs and 3 red runs aren’t enough, there’s also a terrain park so you can slip N slide on boxes and rails all day. La Plagne makes for some of the best skiing in Europe because the terrain progressively gets harder. We recommend taking the kids’ group lessons for 4.5hrs per day during the week so you and your partner can find your ski legs.
Méribel, also known as the heart of the Three Valleys. With great bus links and lots of accommodation close to the slopes, you can guarantee a fab fun holiday. With plenty of kids areas to help make skiing fun for the younger ones and a variety of alpine restaurants for long lunches in the sunshine; Méribel is the ultimate ski resort in Europe. Alongside the pistes are the fun parks and half pipes, meaning you will never have to ski the same run twice. The Folie Douce is a fun place for a long lunch and a boogie on the table in your ski boots.
The Alpine village makes up part of the Porte de Soleil area in France. Morzine provides some of the best skiing in Europe because you can ski over to Switzerland for lunch! How cool to say you have skied in France and Switzerland on one ski vacation to Europe? We believe Morzine is the ultimate family-friendly ski resort because it’s more budget-friendly than some other resorts. Another added bonus is that Geneva Airport is only 1hr15 away, making the ideal pitstop for a long weekend.