With the ski season now in full swing, many avid skiers are looking forward to escaping to beautiful mountain scenery and hitting the slopes. But if you’re looking for a ski getaway that offers you great skiing without teeming crowds of Val d’Isere or Verbier, where should you go?
In this article, we’ll share six hidden-gem ski resorts in Europe.
1. Baqueira-Beret, Spain
This little-known Pyrenean resort is the favourite ski spot of many a Spaniard – including some members of the Spanish royal family. It’s home to more than 150km of slopes, including suitable options for skiers of every experience level, as well as 35 lifts that make the different slopes easily accessible. The resort typically receives an excellent snowfall thanks to the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, the 2022-23 season saw a total of 29 days of snowfall, as well as an average thickness of 66 cm. The local village features some great places to eat, including plenty of tapas restaurants, as well as a good selection of luxury hotels. The nightlife isn’t too lively, making Baqueira-Beret a great choice for families looking for a relatively quiet ski spot.
2. Sainte Foy, France
Situated in the Tarentaise Valley of the French Alps, Sainte Foy is a tranquil and unspoilt ski resort that offers some fantastic skiing. Although the local ski area is fairly limited, offering only 43 km of slopes, this is more than offset by the fact that it’s extremely rare to encounter crowds. Most of the slopes practically guarantee snow, reaching altitudes of 2622m. The slopes are varied, including nursery slopes for beginners, longer blue and red slopes for intermediates, and even some great opportunities for experts. The resort is also an ideal base from which to explore the rest of the Tarentaise, including larger resorts such as Tignes, Val d’Isère and more.
3. Trysil, Norway
Norway’s largest ski resort is located in Trysil, only two and a half hours from Oslo. With its ski season stretching from December to April, this resort attracts skiers of all ages and abilities throughout most of the year. Its 71km of slopes are especially suitable for beginners looking to refine their skills, thanks to its dedicated beginner zones. You’ll have many options when it comes to accommodation, with choices including both large hotel resorts or quaint cabins and chalets in the woods. You don’t have to spend all your time on the slopes, as there’s a diverse selection of non-skiing activities to choose from, including dog sledding and ice fishing. And when you’re all done for the day and looking for a quality meal, you’ll enjoy more than 30 eateries and restaurants in the area, including many offering fresh, local cuisine.
4. Borovets, Bulgaria
This small town in Bulgaria on the northern slopes of the Rila Mountains is home to Bulgaria’s oldest ski resort. Sitting close to Mount Musala, the highest peak in the Balkans, the area gets an average 150 days of snow a year, which lies in thick blankets on its ski slopes and pine forests in equal measures. Most of the runs are rated easy to intermediate but if you want somewhere to practise some more advanced skiing then Borosport Snow Park is close by. The area has much to offer when it comes to life off the slopes, with venues as varied as traditional Balkan pubs and buzzing nightclubs where you can dance until dawn. Borovets is known as a surprisingly budget-friendly resort, with its hotels, bars and restaurants all offering visitors great value on accommodation and amenities alike.
5. Soldeau, Andorra
Located in the Grandvalira ski area, Soldeau is the largest resort in the little-known principality of Andorra, offering more than 200km of pistes. Most of the slopes are north facing so you can rely on there being some good blankets of snow. Not only does this beautiful resort offer great ski slopes, but also a varied selection of local restaurants. Although there are some bars to cater to a young adult audience, the resort doesn’t have a thriving nightlife scene – meaning it’s a great choice for quiet, family-friendly ski trips.
6. Champoluc, Italy
Although Italy is considered by some to be the underdog of European skiing, ski resorts like Champoluc explain why the country is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for British skiers. The largest resort in the Monterosa region, Champoluc offers 180km of pristine and quiet slopes that are ideal for beginner and intermediate skiers. One remarkable aspect of this area is how well it has preserved its authentic Italian atmosphere, despite its steady influx of visitors. Unlike many better-known Italian resorts, Champoluc’s accommodation and dining are available at reasonable prices, allowing you to enjoy high value-for-money if you elect to visit. The nearby airports of Turin, Milan and Geneva make it easy to get a quick airport transfer to the ski resort.
Which of these hidden-gem ski resorts in Europe would you most like to escape to?