Europe has the ideal combination of tall mountains and lots of snow and that means it has plenty of great skiing destinations come winter.
Of course, you don’t want to waste your time hitting average ski resorts or slopes, we want the best there is. I will share my research on the top European ski resorts and what they offer. In preparation I went out and bought some new ski clothing and gear for the trip.
La Grave, France
If you want an ideal ski mountaineering location, you can’t do much better than La Grave. This location is only for the most intense and thrill-seeking skiers, boasting 7,000-vertical-feet of glaciers, cliffs, couloirs, and no-fall zones. This slope is also free of patrols, lifts, and just about everything you’d expect from a resort: because there is no resort.
You’re on your own up there unless you hire a guide, which may be what some individuals want. Either way, it’s definitely one of the most exhilarating choices on this list, though it is obviously only suited for experts. Dressing appropriately here is not an option, from what I have read, the weather can change on a dime and a very warm, breathable ski jacket and pants is not an option.
Also have an avalanche transmitter is a great idea as well. I don't want to scare you away(and me) but this is a place where you need to pay attention to the changing conditions.
Saint Anton, Austria
Looking for a great après-ski destination? If so, look no further than Saint Anton, with over 200 miles of runs and twice that in back and side country terrain. Aside from all that, there are several nearby towns and cities that offer great recreational activities when you call it quits on skiing for the day.
If powder snow is more your thing, Andermatt has the stuff in abundance every year, coating its massive slopes, including the 9,721-foot Gemsstock, which houses the five thousand foot Giraffe, a twisting and turning slope filled with bowls that are sure to make for one wild ride. Thankfully there is plenty of urban life nearby, so you’ll have plenty of other things to do when the day comes to a close and you’re done skiing your heart out.
The best place in Europe for long cruisers? Alagna, next to a rustic and tiny farming community and mostly unadorned by the usual trappings of a ski lodge - though it thankfully does have a gondola to get you to the top. There are several skiing areas available on the mountain, including up to one hundred and fifteen miles of runs. However, the real appeal of Alagna is the Malfatta and Vittoria couloirs, two marquee backcountry lines, and La Balma, a six-mile route that twists through a glacier for some wicked skiing. Unfortunately, the nightlife here is pretty dead end, so you’ll definitely want to come for the skiing and the skiing alone.
In the end, Europe is a treasure trove of excellent ski destinations and resorts, but they all fit a different bill to a T. Take into account what you’re really looking for in an ideal winter sports getaway, and you’ll have a much better chance of picking out a location that will guarantee a satisfying trip and even more satisfying entertainment, whether that’s in skiing itself or the night life party afterwards.