TOP 5 QUIETEST SKI RESORTS
To jump straight on a chair lift, look out over unspoilt views and then cruise down quiet freshly groomed pistes is any skier or snowboarders dream. Unfortunately, those days seem few and far between as resorts become more crowded and queues build up. To help you find your escape in the mountains, we've rounded up our five must-visit quieter ski resorts.
The sheer size of SkiWelt makes it a great place to come if you’re seeking to escape the crowds. Austria’s largest interconnected ski area has 280km of pistes and connects eight villages. What’s more, it is home to Austria’s largest night skiing resort - with 13km of runs lit up you can ski later into the evening to make the most of your time in the mountains.
The resort is modern and boasts many eco-credentials, like ski lifts which operate on 100% renewable electricity and 100% eco-friendly snowmaking.
Plus, when it comes to getting there, you get the added benefit of short transfers from Innsbruck or Salzburg so you can avoid the stress of escaping Geneva airport.
Åre may be Sweden’s number one ski resort, but as it is still relatively unknown to brits, it’s a great choice if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of more well-known European resorts.
The area consists of three separate ski areas and villages and with over 1,000 acres of slopes, there is something for every level of skiing. Beginners, are well catered for in Duved, Åre has plenty of runs for intermediates, while for advanced skiers, there’s the famous World Cup run and the Hummelbranten mogul field to take on, as well as plenty of breathtaking backcountry to explore.
And if you prefer park to piste, you won’t be disappointed as there’s a dedicated floodlit park, meaning you can carve up the slopes by day and take the park by storm at night.
At just 350km south of the artic, you can be confident of snow in Åre from late November right through to early May.
Trysil is probably Norway’s best-kept secret and although offering epic skiing isn’t well known internationally. But that’s only a good thing if you’re looking to spend more time on the slopes and less time battling queues.
With 71km of pistes, four ski bases, two main villages and one mountain, it is the largest ski area in Norway. The range of slopes makes it good for families or groups of different abilities. Høyfjellsenter and Turistsenter are ideal for beginners, while Skihytta offers a mix of beginner and intermediate pistes.
For those looking to test themselves, Høgegga is the area to do it with seven steep black runs. While adrenaline seekers may prefer the endless play of the Parken Trysil snow park, which is home to the resort’s largest jump, Night’n.
And, if you’re travelling with non-skiers, there are loads of activities to keep them busy, from dog sledding and sleigh rides to spa trips.
Val Di Fassi, Italy
Val Di Fassi is a resort that has it all - located in the middle of the Italian Dolomites, you get easy access to one of the largest ski areas in the world, but you’ll feel a million miles away from more well-known resorts nearby.
Like the SkiWelt in Austria, sheer size is something Val Di Fassi boasts, with 1,200km of pistes giving you plenty of opportunities to carve your own way through the mountain. For those who prefer the challenge of off-piste skiing, popular routes include Val Lasties, Val Mezdi, Marmolada and the Pordoi Pas.
The resort itself has a charming traditional feel and consists of seven villages spread throughout the valley. Penia is the quietest village and a great base if you're looking to get away from it all, whereas Canazei is ideal if you still want to bag some apres as it has plenty of bars and restaurants.
Les Menuires, France
A hidden gem, Les Menuires may be found in the Three Valleys, but it’s a world away from the crowded pistes of Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens. Offering incredible value-for-money and almost snow-sure from December onwards, it’s the perfect place to hone your skills.
With 160km of beginner-friendly runs, you can choose to stay local and take advantage of the mainly ski in and out accommodation and less packed peaks. The Pointe de la Masse zone often sees lower levels of traffic, so is a great place to head when seeking space on the slopes.
For the more experienced skiers, the 600 km of slopes of the Three Valleys are within easy reach for more epic runs and off-piste exploration.
Nightlife in Les Menuires itself is generally quiet, which means you can focus your efforts on your skiing or boarding.
Get your gear sorted
Make the most of your time on the mountains by getting your gear sorted before you go. Whether you're looking for hardware, layers or accessories at Snow+Rock our in-store experts have years of hands-on experience so can help you find the right gear and make your ski holiday the most epic yet.
Top tips for avoiding the crowds
- Avoid big name resorts, and seek out less well known areas. Like we’ve proven, you can find hidden gems sitting alongside some of the bigger resorts giving you the best of both worlds.
- Follow the snow – if there’s one thing that will make or break a skiing or boarding holiday it’s the snow, so follow reports of potential areas and look at how they top up the real powder if it's scarce on the ground.
- Avoid school holidays if you can. If you’ve got kids this probably won’t be possible, but if you haven’t, then the best way to avoid the crowds is to steer clear of peak periods. Remember it’s not just UK school holidays you need to be aware of, check the country you’re going to as well to avoid a clash.
- If you have your own snowsports gear, take it with you and avoid the queue for rentals. But, if you do have to rent, pick it up on the night you arrive, so that the next day you can hit the slopes straight away.
- Research the area – familiarise yourself with the piste map, so if a run does start to get busier you can head off elsewhere. And, don’t be afraid to ask for advice, many locals will know places off the beaten track and are willing to share their insider knowledge.
- We can’t make any promises but if all else fails, take an early or late lunch. Between 12:30pm and 2pm, the pistes tend to get quieter while the restaurants get busier.
Discover more of our top tips on how to beat the crowds in our blog on how to avoid ski lift queues.
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