Skiing in Europe:
the ultimate guide

With expansive resorts, world-renowned dining, and accommodation for every type of adventurer, skiing in Europe is a near unbeatable experience. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, you’ll be able to find the best ski resort for your needs in Europe. Home to the largest ski area in the world – the Three Valleys – but also to smaller emerging resorts, the skiing in Europe is varied and diverse. 

In the Pocket Wanderings Europe Ski Edit, you’ll find useful information and adventure inspiration to help you plan your next trip, or simply refine the details. From tried and tested packing lists and practical information to hand-picked hotel guides and restaurant recommendations.

Ski resort highlights

With so many exceptional ski resorts in Europe, choosing where to go can seem overwhelming. Most seasoned skiers or snowboarders will have their personal favourites. But if you’re looking to try somewhere new, or this is your first time skiing in Europe, then browse these resort highlights. Whether you’re in it for powder skiing or the après, for the beginner slopes or the snow parks, you’ll find it here.

BEST FOR:

beginners

Europe has plenty to offer beginner skiers, with world-renowned ski schools and forgiving beginner slopes. Look out for wide open slopes, English-speaking ski schools, and a good number of green and blue slopes.

20 best ski resorts for beginners

Read my guide to the best ski resorts for beginners in Europe & North America
READ

Hochgurgl, Austria

Wide open slopes and excellent ski schools

Meribel, France

Two beginner areas & plenty of easy runs

Boverets, Bulgaria

Gentle nursery slopes and budget-friendly

Alpe D'Huez, France

Large nursery area & excellent weather

BEST FOR:

pro skiers

Verbier, Switzerland

Extreme off-piste, challenging chutes & great snow conditions
In Europe, skiers can discover the freshest, fluffiest powder against a backdrop of spectacular scenery. These are the best European ski resorts for pro skiers looking for powder.

Chamonix, France

Arguably the most famous off-piste resort in the Alps

St Anton, Austria

Steep slopes, challenging moguls & off-piste opportunities

Val D'Isere, France

For easily accessible, lift-served off-piste skiing

BEST FOR:

luxury

Courchevel, France

Home to seven Michelin-star restaurants

St Moritz, Switzerland

World-renowned ski resort with a luxury lifestyle
Skiing in Europe can offer the ultimate luxury & opulence. From stunning hotels and Michelin-star restaurants to world-class hospitality, the Alps is home to some of the world’s most luxury ski resorts.

Lech, Austria

Austria's most exclusive & prestigous ski resort

Klosters, Switzerland

For lavish glitz, glamour, and celebrity spotting

BEST FOR:

après

Val Thorens, France

The ultimate party ski resort with a lively nightlife

St Anton, Austria

St Anton is the place to ski hard and party hard

Val D'Isere, France

Glamorous après and home to the original Folie Douce
Nowhere does après quite like Europe. From lively mountain parties and dancing on tables in your ski boots to more traditional events, European skiers know how to party and these resorts cater for it best.

Verbier, Switzerland

For indulgent après that may well leave you bankrupt

BEST FOR:

freestyle

Deux Alpes, France

Known as the 'Land of Freestyle'

Avoriaz, France

For a great community of freestyle skiers

Laax, Switzerland

The home of freestyle skiing in Europe

Tignes, France

Popular with the best freestylers in the world
Europe offers some of the best snow parks in the world and a thriving community of freestyle skiers and snowboarders. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, Europe is a great place to hone your skills.

Best time to go skiing in Europe

The Europe ski season generally runs from late November until mid-late April. The exact dates will of course depend on the ski resort and it can vary from year to year depending on snow conditions.

If you can, it’s best to avoid school holidays in both the UK and the destination country. Generally the most affordable weeks are in mid-January, although the weather is usually a little colder. March brings the perfect harmony of nicer weather and good snow conditions. April can be wonderful if you’re lucky with the snow conditions. Think bluebird days and t-shirt skiing!

If you’re travelling near the start or end of the season, it’s best to head to one of the more snow sure resorts. This usually means higher altitudes or a glacier. The best snow sure resorts include Val Thorens, Tignes/Val d’Isère and Les Deux Alpes in France, Obergurgl, Ischgl and Lech in Austria, Zermatt and Saas-Fee in Switzerland, or Cervinia in Italy.

How to get to the ski resorts in Europe

The two most popular ways of getting to the European ski resorts are by air or by road. There are a number of airports which provide a gateway to the Alps and beyond, including Geneva, Chambery, Grenoble, Innsbruck, Milan, and many more. Bear in mind that transfer times can be quite long. This is partly because of their location in the mountains, but also because heavy snow can cause significant disruption if you’re unlucky.

Driving tends to be a more popular option for those who have a place in the mountains (lucky things!) or intend to spend longer out there. Taking a car in the winter doesn’t really bring many benefits.

It is possible to get the train to a number of European ski resorts from some of the main airports or towns. Check the specific resort you’re visiting before you travel to find out whether the train is a viable option.

Luxury accommodation top picks

Chalet Sapphire, Morzine

A super-chalet with a seriously impressive spa and gorgeous rustic interiors. Complete with chef, butler and driver.

Refuge de la Traye, Les 3 Vallées

Eco-luxury chalets in the heart of the Alps offering authenticity and refinement. Surrounded by stunning scenery.

Das Central,
Sölden

A superior 5-star hotel in the Austrian Alps with exceptional service, award-winning cuisine and a focus on wellbeing.

The Lodge,
Verbier

A stunning lodge from Sir Richard Branson complete with a spa therapist and Michelin-star trained chefs.

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