Where is Your Perfect Alpine Ski Resort?


(2019-04-05 16:29:50)

 

Alongside questions like travel plans, date and budget, choosing which resort to visit ranks among the first questions eager skiers and snowboarders in search of their next trip to the Alps have to answer. If you’re an experienced skier, choosing the next mountain destination could be simple – but for the uninitiated, finding your perfect ski resort in the Alps can take time and effort.

There’s a broad range of factors to bear in mind when you choose where to ski or snowboard, like for instance what ski levels are your friends and family at? What resort requirements do you have? How much money are you looking to spend? And there are questions over nightlife preferences, ski schools and childcare requirements to consider, too, plus ski access and terrain park/off piste requirements. Before jumping in and placing your ski holiday booking, these diverse queries must be carefully thought through. Here, we’re on hand with a little help and advice to consider during your ski holiday research.

The ski area

One of the biggest factors to weigh up when looking into your ideal ski holiday destination is the size and scale of the ski area itself. Are the nursery slopes located within easy reach of the resort centre? Will advanced skiers and boarders in your group have enough terrain to keep them happy for a week? At first glance, most of the most popular or larger resorts cater perfectly to a wide range of group requirements, but there are a few pitfalls to be wary of. One example is Chamonix – which is ideal for advanced skiers but offers very limited terrain for nervous learners.

Chamonix works wonderfully well for groups of advanced-level skiers and snowboarders

One good way to ensure everyone in your group feels catered for is to select large ski areas where you can be sure there’s diverse terrain for everyone. French ski areas like the Three Valleys (which includes the popular resorts of Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens among others,) the Espace Killy (which includes Val d’Isere and Tignes) and Paradiski (which covers les Arcs and la Plagne) are ideal in this respect. And over in Austria, resorts including Solden or St Anton have enough diversity of slopes to cover a wide range of abilities.

Traditional alpine charm, or purpose-built functionality?

Charming and traditional mountain towns like Morzine or Ischgl contrast starkly with purpose-built destinations like Tignes or les Menuires – but they work well for different group requirements. Traditional mountain towns tend to offer plenty of charm and character, but the chalets and hotels can be farther from the lifts and slopes. On the other hand, purpose-built resorts are built for easy ski access, but they may lack a certain alpine character.

If you’re more keen to experience a little traditional Alpine charm, perhaps turn your attentions to Kitzbühel, Saalbach-Hinterglemm, St Anton am Arlberg, Zermatt, Ischgl, or Megève – where attractive architecture and a traditional atmosphere combine. Most of the Alps’ purpose-built resorts sprang up in the seventies, and they’re not always very attractive places to ski. Examples include ski resorts like Avoriaz, les Arcs, Tignes, Val Thorens, la Plagne, and Flaine – none of which are very attractive, but they all have one thing in common; wonderfully hassle-free ski access.

Tignes offers hassle-free ski access, but lacks traditional Alpine charm and character

Accommodation

Once you’ve got a shortlist of potential ski resorts to hit, selecting your chalets or hotels of choice will narrow down your options nicely. You can choose from a huge range of half-board catered ski chalets, welcoming hotels, hassle-free apartments and more – and they all come with various pros and cons depending on the kind of ski holiday experience you’re looking for.

Many of the large groups we help here at Catered Ski Chalets opt for the privacy and convenience of a catered chalet, and it’s a tried and tested way of enjoying the Alps in comfort. Skiers looking to make their money go far on the snow often gather friends and family and place their booking early. Being an early-bird means not only can you choose from the widest range of accommodation options in your top-choice resorts, but you can benefit from a tempting range offers and incentives to bring the cost down across your group. You can read more about placing your booking in our blog, Top Tips for Timing Your Ski Holiday Booking.

Ski Access

Easy ski access is key factor for many skiers and snowboarders keen to maximise their time on the slopes. You can opt for a piste-side hotel or ski in/ski out chalet for the ultimate in convenience, or rely on your chalets shuttle service or the resort’s public busses.

As mentioned earlier, the simplest ski access can usually be found in those purpose-built resorts – which offer wide selections of chalet-apartments and suites right on the side of the pistes. Whilst they win no awards for charm or prettiness, for parents with children or groups of young adults keen to focus on having fun and scoping out the slopes, effortless ski access is a real priority.

It’s also worth noting that there are many resorts which offer little by way of ski in/out accommodation but do have a swift and comprehensive bus system, and resorts such as Verbier, Morzine and Val d’Isere are good examples.

Family-friendly

In ski resort choice, overall ‘family-friendliness’ is determined by very many different factors but parents’ preferences and requirements are often very similar. Families with children in tow should ideally focus on resorts with a swift airport transfer so they don’t have to keep the children amused in a long coach transfer.

Resorts offering high quality ski schools, good nursery slopes and reputable childcare all factor highly amongst skiing families too. Some of the best examples of these resorts include les Gets, la Rosiere and Courchevel in France. In Austria too, for example, many skiing families consider resorts like Obergurgl, Alpbach and Mayrhofen to be ideal.

The winter 2019/20 ski season is now on sale and eager skiers and snowboarders are snapping up their ideal chalets and hotels in their top resorts of choice. As always, we’re on hand to help. You can call 0203 0800 202 or reach us online via our handy chat service.