Skiing in Europe’s top resorts is one of greatest thrills a person can experience, the wind on your face, the fresh snow biting at your skis, it really doesn’t get much better than that. But with so many top resorts in Europe, sometimes the lesser known ones can fly under the radar. Here are some of the best underrated ski resorts in Europe, that might be worth considering in the future.
Tignes Val Claret, France
Tignes has everything a skier would want in a region, and placed at 2100km is the excellent Val Claret. With a combination of exceptional snow and a large variety of terrain, Val Claret is an ultra-reliable choice for your next ski adventure. Whilst Val Claret isn’t quite an all year round ski destination, it only spends 10 weeks each year closed – this is when the Grand Motte glacier is shut.
The resort shares the impressive Espace Killy area with it’s neighbour Val d’Isere, and offers over 300km of breath-taking ski runs, served by over 90 lifts. The nightlife in Val Claret caters for all tastes, from playing pool at Tex Mex, to dancing the night away at the Melting Pot. Val Claret is slowly becoming a firm favourite with both summer and winter skiers.
Recommended hotel: The new Mark Warner Chalet Hotel L’Ecrin offers a luxury ski base at exceptional prices.
Les Deux Alpes, France
One of the most underrated ski resorts in Europe, Les Deux Alpes is perfect for those wanting to combine great ski runs with top notch après. With over 220km of pistes and around 20km of cross country skiing, it’s fun for all levels of skier. Another highlight is the Jandri Express, which takes you from the village, right to the top of the glacier. On route to the top of the glacier you’ll find Pano Bar, a lively and entertaining ‘day club’ experience – this is not to be missed!
Les Deux is famous for it’ nightlife and this can sometimes put families off, but with excellent family bars and restaurants scattered all over the resort, it’s reputation is often a misconception of how things really are. Secrets Bar and Pub Windsor are perfect for a more relaxed vibe, and Avalanche is where you’ll find the party goers out till 5am. Les Deux Alpes is an exceptional choice for a group, family or couples ski holiday and offers stunning views, crisp snow, exceptional ski runs and perfect après.
Recommended hotel: Boasting a hot tub and sauna, the Chalet Chartreuse is a great choice for Les Deux Alpes.
Being perfectly placed inside one of Europe’s biggest ski areas, Avoriaz usually gets overlooked as a top ski resort. The popularity of Avoriaz has grown over the last few years, with many choosing this location because of it’s relaxed and car free environment. Avoriaz is famous for the skiing through stunning countryside, whilst experiencing panoramic views of Dents du Midi and Dents Blanches. The quality of ski in Avoriaz will appeal to all levels, and it doesn’t matter if you want to push yourself to the limits, ski with family or a beginner wanting to learn – this resort packs in everything! The nightlife in Avoiraz is a more relaxed village feel, making it perfect for those wanting a quieter family atmosphere.
Recommended hotel: Club Med’s all inclusive Avoriaz is perfect for a family ski holiday and includes ski passes in the package price.
Zell am See, Austria
Based in Austria, the pretty town of Zell am See is a hidden gem in the ski world, with people being put off by its low altitude – despite the low altitude, Zell am See still offers a fantastic ski experience. Surrounded by the shores of a lake and an impressive mountain range, its picturesque centre dates right back to the 13th century, and comes to life in the evenings.
All the buildings in the are in a traditional Austrian style, and the streets are lined with cobbles – It’s so perfect you get the feeling you’ve walked on to a film set. Zell am See is an award winning family resort, with the tourist infrastructure very well presented. The gondolas take you from Zell to the suburbs of Schttdorf – it’s here you can take a short bus ride to the glacier slopes of Kaprun, and the neighbouring town of Sallbach is also reached easily by bus. Zell am See is a small resort, that’s big on diversity.
Recommended hotel: Mark Warner’s Mountain Lake Resort offers panoramic views of the beautiful nearby lake.
The little brother of Borovets, Bansko is ticking all the right boxes when it comes to a first class ski resort. With a recent £20 million pound investment pumped into the resort, Bansko now has smart lifts, an improved snow-making machine and hands-free lift passes. From a value point of view, Basnko has great prices with lessons half the price of the more expensive ski resorts, and food and drink at a fraction of the cost. The charming town centre and magnificent après is a skiers paradise.
The slopes are perfect for those being introduced to skiing for the first time, and the nursery slopes some of the best in Europe. The challenging red runs go straight down the face of the mountain and are great fun for intermediate skiers. The only down side is the lack of expert runs, and the more advanced skiers will have to rely on the off piste runs between trees for entertainment.
Recommended hotel: The Hotel Lion is situated close to the slopes, and is one of the more luxurious in the area.
Colin Matthews is the Managing Director at Travel Club Elite.