If you’re planning a skiing or snowboarding adventure in Europe then it would be entirely excusable to be confused by the vast number of ski resorts that the continent has to offer. With literally thousands of pistes in numerous countries the choice is somewhat generous so here’s a quick rundown of some of the best that Europe has to offer.
Sella Ronda, Italy
With stunning scenery the Sella Ronda is a circuit of 14 miles of runs which encircles the Sella mountain range in The Dolomites and can easily be completed inside a day (though make sure that you’re not stranded when the lifts close at the end of the day). There are two possible routes for this resort which is popular with British skiers – clockwise or anti-clockwise – which are clearly demarcated using a colour coding system; the clockwise circuit is the more fulfilling with a greater assortment of pistes and less poling is required.
A traditional skiing mountain which is easily accessed by funicular railway to the Weissfluhjoch ridge 2662 metres above sea level, Parsenn offers 35 ski runs of varying levels of challenge. The longest run is the eight mile descent to Kublis while another route ends at Klosters, home of royal skiing parties. From November to March the floodlit slopes on Fridays allows skiers to enjoy night time skiing.
The longest black run in the Alps, skiers at Sarenne can enjoy 90 minutes of continuous skiing as they descend over 2000 metres over 10 miles. The peaks of the Parc National des Ecrins can be admired from the starting point at Pic Blanc although the sheer steepness of the start is perhaps not entirely suitable for less experienced skiers who can bypass the launch for a more calming experience further down the slopes. Better be safe and book European travel insurance before setting off!
Numerous ski runs are accessible from over 3000 metres above sea level with some runs covering two-thirds of that distance, making Chamonix the spiritual homeland for skiers. The steepest descent is at Aiguille du Midi while the Domaine de Balme offers gentler slopes so Chamonix has runs suitable for all ages and levels of experience. Regular bus and trains link the different areas in the resort which also boasts a host of high class restaurants and bars.
With a selection of medium red and easy blue descents the pistes of the Lech-Oberlech-Zuers ski resort are ideal for families. Oberlech is car-free so access from Lech is via the cable car which runs every few minutes. For children and beginners the resort is ideal as there are many blue slopes which descend into the valley although more competent skiers may be disappointed by an overall lack of challenge.
Whatever your experience and ability, skiers in Europe have an astonishing variety of choice among the many resorts that the continent has to offer. With many of these being only a couple of hours away from the UK by plane, ease of travelling makes Europe a perfect destination to experience the thrills of winter sports.