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Best Ski Resorts in Europe for Experiencing True Ski Paradise

Ski resorts in europe
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Updated January 14, 2024

The 2024 ski season is still very much underway in Europe and, in some regions, will last into early May. While snowfall isn’t at an all-time high (yet), and the specter of last season’s lack of snow still hangs over the region, there are plenty of places to hit the slopes abroad.

If you’re based in the U.S., you can jump on a flight to London and catch Eurostar’s new snow train to destinations in the French Alps, like Chambéry, Albertville, Moûtiers-Salins-Brides-Les-Bains, Aime-la-Plagne, or Bourg-Saint-Maurice, all leaving from London’s St. Pancras International. If you prefer the Swiss Alps, ski resorts are easily accessible when you fly into Geneva or Zurich, or if you’re flying within Europe, Basel is a great option for U.K. flights of origin. Italy’s Dolomites region is a good choice for individuals and families seeking a less crowded, chaotic experience than skiing the Alps, especially in the spring. Austria is a popular destination, too, and you pay less to stay there than in Switzerland.

We’ve rounded up some of the best ski resorts in Europe to help you decide the best places to ski and stay this season. (In Europe, most ski resorts are multi-village areas—a ski resort in Switzerland or France, for example, may encompass kilometers and hundreds of pistes, gondolas, chairlifts, and ski schools—so on our list, a ski resort doesn’t necessarily mean a single place, like a Carribean resort destination.) Grab your travel tote and carry-on luggage and let’s hit the slopes!

Best family ski resorts in Europe

Alpe Cermis (Italy)

Alpe Cermis

Closest airport:

Most airports, including Venice and Bologna, are approximately a three-hour drive to Val di Fiemme. If you fly to Rome, you will have to take a train.

Ski season:

Late November to mid-April

Price range:

Up to $2,500 a week (depending on month/location, and length of stay)

The resort of Alpe Carmis in the Val di Fiemme region of the Dolomites mountains has 16 miles of ski runs. It’s a good choice for families because of its ski school (Cermis Ski School), which has instructors who speak English, if Italian isn't your forte—there are children's group ski lessons and private ones. There are easy and medium slopes, plus the 7.5 km long Olympia slope with a drop of 1.4 meters, if you feel like channeling your inner gold medalist.

There is a free shuttle to the resort from most of the nearby hotels, and in addition, the area offers a robust children's (three years to 10 years) program (Kinderheim Cermislandia) and a designated ski area at the Doss dei Laresi middle station, offering outdoor and indoor activities. Stay at the La Roccia Wellness Hotel and enjoy a game room, a heated pool, and a nine-minute walk to ski school. Breakfast is included as well, and the cute, chalet-style architecture will likely delight families looking for an Alpine experience.

La Roccia Wellness Hotel
La Roccia Wellness Hotel

La Roccia Wellness Hotel

Avoriaz Ski Resort (France)

Avoriaz Ski Resort

Closest airport:

Geneva, Switzerland or Chambery, France

Ski season:

December to April

Price range:

Up to $7,000 a week (depending on month/location and length of stay)

This was voted among the best ski resorts for families by European Best Destinations, which conducts in-depth research based on thousands of visitor reviews. Located in the middle of France's Portes du Soleil ski area, there are 650 km of ski slopes to appeal to everyone in the family. Unlike some ski-in and ski-out resort villages, you can also walk or sled to destinations in the area.

The Children’s Village in the resort is a ski school and provides facilities like the Kids’ Parkway, designed for younger children to learn to navigate the slopes (as a bonus, under fives get to ski for free, so the stroller crowd can learn to ski while you save). Stay at the Résidence Pierre & Vacances Premium L'Amara, where you can ski and enjoy heated swimming pools when the kids get tired, plus a sauna and wellness center for the adults.

Résidence Pierre & Vacances Premium L'Amara
Résidence Pierre & Vacances Premium L'Amara

Résidence Pierre & Vacances Premium L'Amara

Saas-Fee Ski Resort (Switzerland)

Saas-Fee Ski Resort

Closest airport:

Fly into Sion Airport, then take a 2.5-hour train ride or approximately 120-minute taxi. Depending on your hotel or homestay, you may be able to access a shuttle.

Ski season:

Mid-August to late April

Price range:

Up to $3,000 a week (depending on month/location, and length of stay)

Saas-Fee (nicknamed the pearl of the Alps) is a great option for families with kids of mixed age groups who want to avoid the party ski crowd at bigger Swiss resorts. You still find snow in the summer, and the season often stretches into late April. The winter months are a highlight for seasonal skiers, with packed powder and all-terrain conditions. There are plenty of slopes for experienced teen skiers, and younger siblings can enjoy lessons and multiple indoor and outdoor activities while older kids and adults enjoy the miles of powder for skiing and snowboarding at Terrain Park.

This resort has 22 ski lifts and over 100 kilometers of trails, meaning there is something for every skier to enjoy. Because it’s a car-free resort with three ski areas, your family doesn’t have to worry about having a vehicle. There’s an English ski school on-site, plus kids under nine ski for free. The quaint Alpine village has shops, Swiss restaurants, and après ski bars to enjoy.

Stay at The Hotel Bristol with your brood if you want easy access to the slopes and lifts, including beginner slopes and an ice skating rink. The resort also boasts an Adventure Park with a mountain roller coaster (SassFeelitz), snow tubing, and an 11-kilometer sled run. If you visit at Christmas time, you can take guided torchlight hikes, night sledding, and even a Fairy Tale Path walk.

The Hotel Bristol
The Hotel Bristol

The Hotel Bristol

Best ski resorts for beginners in Europe

La Rosiere, France

La Rosiere

Nearest airport:

Chambery, France

Ski season:

Mid-December to April

Price range:

$218 a night and up (depending on month/location, and length of stay)

Beginners and advanced skiers will appreciate the low-key family atmosphere, easy starter slopes, and ski schools at this resort in the Tarentaise Valley in the Savoie region of south-eastern France. Snow magazine hailed it as being among the best destinations for beginners, recommending the “wide, gentle Perdrix and Tétras blue slopes” as two favorites for beginners and intermediate skiers who may not be ready for more complex runs.

Stay at Club Med La Rosiere (ski-in and ski-out) with dazzling views and easy access to the beginner slopes. The hotel provides guests with all-inclusive packages, including ski lessons, lift tickets, meals, and more. It’s also a popular spot with families, offering childcare on-site, an indoor pool, a fitness area, and bars and restaurants.

Club Med La Rosiere
Club Med La Rosiere

Club Med La Rosiere

Les Arcs, France

Les Arcs

Nearest airport:

Lyon, France

Ski season:

December to April

Price range:

$200 a night/$1,000 a week and up (depending on month/location and length of stay)

This French ski resort caters to novices and experienced skiers alike, but new skiers will appreciate that there are beginners’ lifts, which are also free. There are several slopes for beginners and intermediate skiers, with wide and gentle sloping areas designed for inexperienced skiers—adults and kids alike—so you can progress and build up to more difficult slopes as you go. There are many resorts in Les Arcs, so you can explore as you gain experience. Private and group lessons are available for snowboarding as well. After you get your ski legs, you can buy one-off lift tickets as you learn to tackle more difficult pistes.

The four main village bases are Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950, and Arc 2000, and each base caters to novice snowboarders and skiers. This situation is great for beginners who want to avoid feeling penned in by only one area in a resort region. When you’re ready to relax off the slopes, you can rent a chalet in any of the villages or stay at the Hotel Taj-I Mah by Les Etincelles in Arc 2000, home to a 15-meter heated swimming pool, hammam, and sauna, along with gourmet meals.

Hotel Taj-I Mah by Les Etincelles
Hotel Taj-I Mah by Les Etincelles

Hotel Taj-I Mah by Les Etincelles

Val d’Isère, France

Val d'Isère

Nearest airport:

Geneva, Switzerland

Ski season:

December to April

Price range:

$123 a night and up (depending on month/location and length of stay)

While known for its excellent skiing conditions and runs for experienced skiers, you’ll also feel at home if you’re a beginner. There are many wide, easy slopes and slower runs for beginners (piste tranquille and green on the map), including the mountain station that’s reachable by cable car. Many beginner slopes don’t need a lift ticket because they’re accessible without a lift, which will save you money to spend on a private or group ski lesson from one of the many ski schools in Val d’Isère.

There are two main beginner areas–one in the resort’s center and one in La Daille, at the bottom of the pistes. Enjoy the 10-person gondola when you feel ready for a higher altitude, but still skiing green runs. The Solaise area is an easy place for all beginners to start their ski season, so consider staying at Le Refuge de Solaise, which has 16 rooms and suites, four family-style apartments, and a heated pool. Access the hotel via the Solaise gondola, which will take you to the beginner (and other) slopes each day.

Le Refuge de Solaise
Le Refuge de Solaise

Le Refuge de Solaise

Best luxury ski resorts in Europe

Gstaad, Switzerland

Gstaad

Nearest airport:

Geneva, Switzerland

Ski season:

Mid-October to the beginning of May

Price range:

Rooms and stays start at $554 (high season); other prices will depend on month/location, and length of stay

You can’t make a list of luxury ski resorts without considering Gstaad. It’s celebrated for its high-end, upscale charm and is known for its expensive shops, gourmet restaurants, and five-star hotels. Gstaad isn’t a party village but a peaceful and picturesque Alpine getaway for those who can afford its quiet luxury, snow, and well-groomed pistes. It’s home to 200 kilometers of ski slopes, family, and beginner-designated learning areas, modern lifts, and popular night ski sessions.

Regarding staying in Gstaad, numerous options are available, including 43 hotels and 165 holiday apartments, mountain inns, and quaint bed and breakfasts. To experience extreme luxury, we suggest Gstaad Palace, with 90 suites and rooms, five restaurants, indoor and outdoor heated pools, and a sprawling spa full of amenities to help you unwind when you’re wiped out. Worth noting: Gstaad Palace is extremely expensive and could cost upward of $11,000 or more a week, depending on your dates.

Gstaad Palace
Gstaad Palace

Gstaad Palace

Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt

Nearest airport:

Sion, Switzerland

Ski season:

365 days a year!

Price range:

$93 a night up to over $1,500 for the week or more (depending on month/location and length of stay)

Zermatt never disappoints its visitors: It’s massive, stretching 360 kilometers, and home to the famous Matterhorn Glacier Paradise area. The resort, unlike some in Europe, has modern lifts to get you where you need to go. The viewing platform at Matterhorn is the highest in all of the continent, and non-skiers or beginners can enjoy the mountain without having to be an expert.

Another ski resort with a no-car zone, travel is easy—strap on skis, lace up your hiking boots, or hail a small electric taxi. There are restaurants, high-end hotels, winter markets during the holiday season, luxury shops, and plenty of opportunities for enjoying and relaxing après ski in local cafes and bars. If you plan to stay, The Omnia and Nomad by CERVO Mountain Resort are luxurious and offer easy access to lifts and amenities, like spas, hot springs, and swimming pools, for recovery and relaxation off the slopes.

The Omnia
The Omnia
Nomad by CERVO Mountain Resort
Nomad by CERVO Mountain Resort

Nomad by CERVO Mountain Resort

Courchevel, France

Courchevel

Nearest airport:

Geneva, Switzerland or Chambery, France

Ski season:

December to April

Price range:

Anywhere from $300 a night to upwards of $1,500 or more (depending on month/location and length of stay)

When you go to Courchevel to ski, you can choose between four villages that make up this high-end resort in France's Three Valleys, home to 600 kilometers of piste. Well-maintained, these pristine runs are less hectic than other resorts, making them good for beginners and seasoned skiers who value tranquility and good snow.

Multiple five-star hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants are concentrated in Courchevel. The highest peak–and largest of the four villages–is Courchevel 1850, which offers family-friendly activities, shopping, superb ski conditions, and five-star hotels. Courchevel Moriond is known for its après ski scene and traditional and modern amenities, and its terrain makes it a better place for intermediate and advanced skiers than beginners. You’ll find an authentic Alpine French village when you set up your skis at Courchevel 1300, a designated beginner zone. Usually, the lower the elevation, the more the potential for less-than-perfect snow, but overall, Courchevel’s four villages offer well-groomed, maintained runs that don't disappoint.

Best All-Inclusive Ski Resort

Club Med Alps Ski, Various Locations

Club Med Alps Ski

Nearest airport:

Various

Ski season:

Depends on venue

Price range:

In February 2024, rates for Club Med properties in the Alps start at $3,126 (all-inclusive) per night; March 2024, starts at $3,000 a night (all-inclusive)

If you prefer an all-inclusive resort experience, Club Med operates 14 ski resorts in the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps, with 3,340 hectares of ski slopes, including, in total, 196 green (for beginners), 635 blue (intermediate), 520 red (experienced) and 244 black (expert) slopes. You’ll find state-of-the-art ski lifts, beginner areas, Alpine villages, and opportunities to try snowboarding, sledding, ice skating, and other wintertime activities.

Club Med Alps offers stays in the top ski resort areas like Tignes, La Plagne, and Grisons, Switzerland, among others. When you book via Club Med, you can purchase an all-inclusive package that includes lift tickets, gear rental, plus all the perks of staying at an upscale ski resort hotel.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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