Europe is home to some of the best snowsports destinations in the world, including five-star chalet hotels, charming villages and dedicated runs for all levels.
Are you a beginner skier? We’ve compiled a list of the top seven ski resorts for beginners and those who prefer other entertainment.
Checklist for first-time skiers
Are you a beginner?
Mountain weather can be unpredictable so make sure to have plenty of layers
- Higher altitudes have less UV light, so sunscreen is a must.
- Wear a warm jacket, trousers, gloves, goggles, and socks for skiing.
- Scarves can easily be caught on items. You can leave scarves at home, or use a lightweight snood.
- Your boots should be properly fitted. If your boots are too tight, your feet will freeze and you won’t be able ski well.
7. For families: Montgenevre, France
Montgenevre is part of the 400-km-wide Milky Way ski region. It’s a village made up of traditional wooden Alpine cabins. About:blank
You can also snowboard on the spot, which includes an international standard halfpipe and a toboggan track to go whizzing down. The Durancia spa-pool complex offers a children’s lagoon and a wellness area for those who aren’t as athletic.
6. For apres ski: St Anton, Austria
St Anton, nestled in the Tyrolean Alps is the ‘cradle’ of Alpine skiing. Johann ‘Hannes” Schneider, who developed the techniques that would define modern skiing, was born here in the early 1900s.
The resort is known for its long history and well-established bar scene. The apres-ski parties start in the morning and get more lively as the evening progresses.
Tabletop dancing is possible by the end of the afternoon.
5. Tignes, France – For thrill-seekers
Tignes is made of many villages spread across a large skiing area. You can find almost every winter sport here. You can go snowtubing, husky dog sledding, or snowshoeing through sparkling Alpine forests before you ice skate across a frozen lake.
These activities may not provide enough adrenaline, but you might also consider paragliding or heli-skiing.
4. For foodies: St Moritz, Switzerland
St Moritz, which dates back to 1864 is the oldest resort for winter sports in the world and the jewel of Southern Alps. Celebrities frequent the resort, which is known for its luxurious hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants.
Many visitors find the delicious food even more appealing than the snowy slopes. There are many Swiss-inspired options, such as fondue or raclette, along with influences from Italy. The nusstorte, a walnut-caramel shortbread, is a must-try from Hanselmann. It’s a St Moritz institution that has been around since 1894.
3. For wellness: Bad Gastein, Austria
Bad Gastein is a spa town that combines modern snowboarding and skiing with a historical centre filled with charming Belle Epoque hotels. Book a treatment at the thermal spas and healing caves that Emperor Franz Joseph I first made famous in the 19th-century health resort’s heyday.
The town was built around a steep gorge within the Hohe Tauern mountain range. It is also divided by a 200m high waterfall. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even zipline over it. You can also take the Stubnerkogel skilift and travel 140m along a suspension bridge to reach the mountaintop restaurant.
2. Chamonix, France, for dramatic scenery
The shadow of Mont Blanc hides Historic Chamonix. This is where the first Winter Olympics in the world were held in 1924. It is the highest mountain in Western Europe and its snowy peak rises to 4,808m into the sky.
You can hike along the lower slopes of Chamonix or ride a cable car to enjoy 360deg views from the Aiguille du Midi peak. The Montenvers cog railroad runs to Mer de Glace. It is France’s largest glacier, measuring 7km in length and 200m in depth.
Take a look at the jagged mountains of Les Drus or Les Grandes Jorasses, or descend into an ice cave formed by a glacier.
1. For medieval charm: Kitzbuhel, Austria
Kitzbuhel is known for its famously difficult Kitzbuhel Hahnenkamm Streif. This race attracts thousands each January. It is a popular year-round destination because of its attractive medieval town center and surrounding valleys.
Kitzbuhel has many outdoor activities, even in winter. You can explore the snowshoe-friendly landscapes of Kitzbuheler Horn on snowshoes or hike up the Kitzbuheler Horn. You can also spend the day shopping in the town’s exclusive boutiques, if you prefer to be inside.