Europe Ski Resorts

Skiing the big four: France, Austria, Switzerland & Italy


Skiing in France usually means large resorts and high-altitude skiing, like Val Thorens (2300m) and Tignes (2100m). Of the enormous French ski areas, Portes du Soleil and the Three Valleys are the biggest. The latter is the world’s largest interconnected ski area, covering 600 kilometres. France offers resort for all tastes: large purpose-built resorts, traditional old towns and charming little villages. France does have it all, but it also has the highest in-resort prices in Europe. If money is no object, then take your pick of Michelin-star restaurants and luxurious spa hotels.


Most Austrian resorts feature state-of-the-art lifts and slopes are usually in perfect condition. The Tyrol is the most popular ski region with its 3500 kilometres of pistes and chocolate-box villages. Here you’ll find the world-famous resorts of Mayrhofen, Kitzbuhel, St. Anton, Ischgl and Sölden. Traditional mountain huts serve dumplings, schnitzel, sweet pastries, and of course schnapps. Apres-ski is said to have its origins in Austria. In fact, some resorts don’t wait until after skiing, but noon at the latest.


Switzerland is home to Europe’s largest glaciers and some of the most iconic mountains: the Eiger, Jungfrau and Matterhorn. High-altitude off-piste powder is found in Verbier, Davos, Laax, Nendaz and Zermatt. Glitzy resorts like Klosters and St. Moritz are undeniably expensive, but on the whole Switzerland offers a good choice of accommodation and restaurants for all budgets. Don’t leave without having a cheese fondue at least once. Switzerland’s super-efficient public transport system means virtually all ski resorts are within easy reach of airports.


Skiing in Italy is divided between the Dolomites in the northeast and the Italian Alps in the northwest. Two of the most popular ski areas in Italy are the Milky Way which combines 400 kilometres of pistes and the Dolomiti Superski area which has more than 1200 kilometres pistes (not interlinked). In recent years, Italy’s ski infrastructure has undergone massive renovation work. On the whole, Italian ski resorts are known for their affordability, relaxed atmosphere, and of course the delicious food. Italians like to take a long lunch with plenty of sunbathing.