Alps Ski Holidays Overview
Alps Ski Holidays
The European Alps offer a fantastic diverse selection of ski areas and ski resorts featuring world class skiing, impressive facilities and stunning beauty. From the Italian Dolomites, the high peaks in Switzerland, the quintessential Austrian Alpine experiences to partying on the slopes in some of the world most famous ski resorts in France, there is a sleuth of fantastic holiday destinations in the Alps. We have provided a brief breakdown of the best alps ski resorts holiday options to consider when planning your next trip to the Alps. Be sure to contact us for any additional information.
Italy Alps Ski Holidays
Since the early 1900s Italy has remained a top destination for holidays in the Alps. It is home to some of the largest and most well known ski areas in Europe; the Milky Way ski area ( also known as the Via Lattea ) and the Dolomites Superski area. It is also home to other ski resorts outside of these ski areas but which possess their own draw and appeal in their own right and are connected to other ski areas often linked across the borders of Austria, Switzerland and France. With over 250 ski resorts and a combined 5774 kilometres of slopes, there are more than enough opportunities for memorable holidays in the Alps. Very well regarded for its hospitality, Italy offers a wide selection of excellent accommodation, fantastic Alps skiing whilst providing an authentic Italian experience.
Best known for excellent snow conditionsItaly has some of the Alps highest located ski resorts which possess some of the best snow-sure slopes thanks to their altitude. If you are after some high altitude Alps skiing on snow-sure pistes in Italy, look no further than Cervinia, Italy’s highest sittig resort at 2,050 meters which also offers glacier skiing on the Plateau Rosa. Other options include Sestriere at 2,035 meters ( whose slopes also played host to the 2006 Winter Olympics) Passo Tonale sitting at 1,883 metres with pistes reaching up to 3,100 metres and Livigno at 1,816 metres.
Best family atmosphereItalian resorts are excellent in hospitality and have some of the most welcoming ski resorts with a warm community feel. If you would like to visit with the family, consider the ski resort of Pila, often referred to as the “undiscovered diamond of the Aosta Valley”; a lovely, quiet and scenic resort perfect for families. Selva and Passo Tonale are also fantastic amongst most others.
Restaurants, bars and general apres skiMost Italian ski resorts continue to improve on quality and number of restaurants and bars available at the resorts. Look to Sauze d'Oulx and Courmayeur for some authentic dining; while the apres may be subdued in comparison to their French and Swiss counterparts, they still have a very good atmosphere regardless.
Where to stayAccommodation in Italy cuts across hotels and family run chalets or apartments with self catering options. Hotels however, are the most popular and most widely used form of accommodation, with a number of resorts offering doorstep skiing options as well.
Transfer TimesTurin is the most used airport to connect to a lot of the resorts; however, with some on the French and Swiss borders, Geneva International airport often has shorter transfer times.
Switzerland Alps Ski Holidays
If you are in search of the typical Alpine ski resort, Switzerland should be top of your list. Known for its fantastic facilities, breathtaking views and postcard-worthy picturesque villages, you can experience some of the best Alps skiing holidays in Switzerland. Due to the exchange rate from Swiss Francs to British Pounds, Alps holidays in Switzerland can be a bit pricier than their European counterparts, however, the excellent services, facilities and general experiences make up for it. With almost 350 ski resorts providing a combined 7,000 kilometres of slopes, there is an abundance of ski resorts to enjoy an authentic Alpine experience.
Well-known for excellent snow conditionsYou can find some of the best snow conditions across the European Alps in Switzerland thanks to the overall altitude of the entire ski terrain here. It has some of Europe's largest glaciers and has the highest-peaking mountains in all of Europe. The Matterhorn ski paradise peaks at 3,899 metres and is, without doubt, the number place to start with the Zermatt ski resort closest to it in Switzerland. At Zermatt, you are guaranteed snow-sure pistes every season. Saas-Fee follows close behind at 3,573 metres altitude and is popular with winter sports enthusiasts and professional athletes who visit the resort's slopes to train annually. The majority of the Swiss resorts have fantastic snow conditions.
Ideal for a good family atmosphereSaas-Fee has dedicated mountains for children and the atmosphere at Grindelwald is almost fairly-tale like, however, the majority of the resorts have excellent beginner slopes and are generally great for a family trip.
Partying and ApresSwitzerland is a well known apres-ski destination in its own right but notable mentions must include Verbier. Reputed for its party life and celebrity star power with royals and A-listers among its annual guests, Verbier is arguably the number one party and pares-ski destination in all of Switzerland. St Moritz offers extravagance rivalled by not many resorts across the Alps. Whilst it has a considerably smaller amount of bars than Verbier and Zermatt, it is famed for its glamorous apres ski evenings that are certainly most memorable.
Where to staySome of the best chalets in the Alps can be found in Switzerland. The general accommodation here is made up of well-run hotels, chalets and apartments. As with most places resorts across the Alps, hotels are the most popular mode of accommodation but do endeavour to try out the chalets for a traditional experience.
TransfersGeneva, Zurich and Bern airports have the most international connections but Geneva is the overwhelming favourite thanks to its proximity to most of the major ski areas in the Alps.
France Alps Ski Holidays
France is arguably the Alps most desired and popular ski destination country; especially among Brits. This can be due to a number of factors including proximity and cost but the French Alps have some of the best ski resorts anywhere in the world. From snow-sure pistes to modern facilities the country does rank very high on any world standards. A large number of British holidaymakers (amongst other countries and nationalities) visit the French Alps annually with the numbers increasing over the years. Interestingly, while France has fewer ski resorts than Switzerland and just as many as Italy, it has a much larger ski area with just over 10,000 kilometres of pistes combined and spread across 250 ski resorts. This can be attributed to the combination of some of the largest ski areas in Europe with the Three Valleys, the Portes du Soleil and the Grand Paradiski ski area, all located in France and some of which spill over to neighbouring Switzerland and Italy.
Renowned for excellent snow conditions in FranceTignes and Val d’Isere take centre stage when considering a resort to visit if you are after guaranteed snow-sure pistes. Both resorts also have world-class snowmaking facilities to supplement any shortages. With more than 70% of the slopes at these resorts above 2,000 metres, and adding the presence of not one but two glaciers in the ski area, the Tignes-Val d’Isere ski area has some of the best snow conditions in the country. Val Thorens, Les Arcs and the villages in the La Plagne resort also have great snow conditions.
Family atmosphereFrance is awash with family-friendly ski resorts with a large number of resorts awarded with the Plus Famillie certification. Flaine, Les 2 Alpes, La Rosiere, La Plagne, Avoriaz, Morzine and Meribel are fantastic and renowned for having a family-friendly atmosphere and facilities from ski schools, non-ski activities and child care. There are a host of others as well, be sure to get in touch for additional recommendations and suggestions. If visiting with the family also search for resorts with ski-in and ski-out accommodation.
Ideal for apres-skiThe term “apres-ski” was coined by the French so it should come as no surprise that there is no shortage of apres-ski madness in the French Alps. All three major resorts in the Three Valleys, Val Thorens, Meribel and Courchevel have a famed party scene. Val d’Isere, Chamonix and Alpe d’Huez are equally as vibrant. Apart from the numerous clubs and cocktail bars in these resorts, you can also expect amazing parties on the slopes as well as live music events and themed parties.
Where to stayThe accommodation in France is very similar to most other countries in the Alps with hotels, chalets and apartments. Unlike its counterparts who have hotels as an overwhelmingly favoured accommodation choice, France has a large number of self-catering apartments and chalets available at all spectrums of your budget from decent low priced stays to luxury, 5-star options.
Transfer TimesLyon, Chambery, Grenoble are the closest airports to most ski areas in France however, Geneva across the border in Switzerland still remains, perhaps, the preferred option due to its convenient location and international airport connections.
Austrian Alps Ski Holidays
Only second to France, Austria is one of the most visited countries by British ski holidaymakers. Home to some of the most picturesque villages and ski area’s, Austria is also well known for having world-class facilities as well as excellent hospitality. Austria is also a bag of surprises with a lot of its quiet resorts classed as hidden gems. There are not too many purpose-built ski resorts, with the majority of them being transformed into ski resorts from formerly mountain villages that were once better known for farming, adding to the overall charm and authentic Alpine atmosphere in the resorts. The combined ski slopes in Austria total up to 7,000 kilometres across all its ski resorts.
Best snow conditions in AustriaThe Austrian Alps may not have the lofty heights of the Swiss but there are a good number of high altitude ski resorts with very good snow conditions, nevertheless. Mayrhofen is a stellar example sitting at a modest 630 metres but with access to pistes that stretch up to 3,250 metres, thanks in no small part to its Hintertux glacier. You are guaranteed excellent snow conditions here with very efficient snowmaking facilities as cover. Obergurgl, Ischgl and Kaprun are not far behind in providing great snow conditions and snowmaking capabilities.
Ideal family funMost of the resorts in Austria are particularly family-friendly. A few notables include Alpbach and Niederau for example. Alpbach ranks among the most photographed and picturesque ski resorts in Europe and is also well known for its fantastic child-friendly and holiday atmosphere. Niederau on the other hand has been the recipient of ‘Best Family Ski Area’ and ‘Friendliest Staff’ in national awards and its position in the Wildschönau valley offers some of the wildest and breathtaking scenery. Kitzbuhel is an additional and equally family-oriented ski resort.
Party and apres funWhilst St Anton has a famous apres scene, Mayrhofen and Ischgl have recently been the venue of some of the biggest music festivals in the Alps featuring international and world-renowned musicians. General apres evenings, while once subdued in Austria, are increasingly catching up to France and Switzerland.
Where to stay on your Austrian ski HolidayHotels and chalets are the most popular accommodation options in Austria. It must be noted that Austrian accommodation is very highly rated across the Alps thanks to their fantastic facilities and services. They also come at fantastic rates and a good bargain can be had in Austria.
TransfersInnsbruck and Salzburg are the main transfer airport closest to the ski areas in Austria and their transfer times almost rival the French transfer times as popular Austrian resorts such as Ischgl and Mayrhofen are between 1 hour 15 minutes to just over 1 hour 30 minutes from the airports.