Where to go when it starts to snow; the lowdown on some of the
best ski runs in the Alps.
Cosy resorts are nice, but I like to ski in the larger ski areas.
Skiing is all about travelling across mountains and valleys, from one resort to another;
stopping at quaint mountain restaurants along the way for a vin chaud or Gluhwein. And of
course, the ultimate long run down to base camp at dusk.
There's been good some snow in Europe before Christmas this year,
so choosing a resort for early skiing is not that hard.
Sylvia Eder in Crans Montana
� Michel - TravelNotes.org
Quite often, skiing in Europe at Christmas often means aiming high.
Smaller, lower ski areas like Appenzell (near
St. Gallen, Switzerland) are often only suitable for grass skiers.
When I asked the lady in the Appenzell train station for a piste map,
on Christmas Day some years ago, I was looked at like I'd arrived from another planet.
Although it was obvious that there was no skiing in the area that
Christmas, I already have a large collection of piste maps and like to add to it whenever
The beauty of European resorts is still their quaintness and Appenzell
is indeed very quaint. Even without the guaranteed snow of resorts like St.Moritz and
Zermatt, Appenzell continues to draw the day-trippers for it's charm and authenticity.
The shops were closed that Christmas Day, but still the main
pedestrian street was full of sightseers admiring the exquisite architecture of a place
better known for its cheese than its ski slopes.
Just to be sure of the snow conditions before you pack your skis, it's
always wise to surf the webcams.
This is my favourite bookmark for looking at conditions around Switzerland.
Skiing in Austria
Austria has had its share of tragedies in past seasons; with
avalanches and the deadly fire in a train, carrying early season skiers up through the
U-Alpin mountain tunnel, at Kaprun.
The country has put this all behind them and visitors to Austrian ski
resorts can enjoy a good party atmosphere when the skiing is over for the day, with St. Anton still very much a party animal's
The best way to reach St. Anton is to use the train. There is limited
car-parking in St. Anton itself and the train station is only a short walk from the
St. Anton is also easily reachable from southern Germany or eastern
Austrian Railways - �BB; Deutsche Bahn - DB; Swiss Federal Railways - SBB; and the regional
train from the St Gallen/Lake Constance area of Switzerland, the Bodensee-Toggenburg-Bahn.
Another popular venue in Austria, for the downhill fans, is Kitzb�hel; where the famous Hahnenkamm race takes place.
Zell am See, located
on the shore of a lake, is beautiful in Summer; although winter sports enthusiasts prefer
the hills, near Salzburg, a fluffy white.
The Kitzsteinhorn ski area,
at 3,000 metres, has plenty of runs open early in the season.
If you're staying in Zell am See, the Schmittenh�he area is the most accessible,
although a little lower. Almost half of the 500 acres of slopes have snow cannons,
guaranteeing ski descents right down to the valley.
As Apr�s Ski is considerably cheaper in Austria, than Switzerland or
France, the country is very popular with party animals on a budget; the Kangaroo Bar in
St. Anton is legendary.
Weather in the Region
Meteo Alpin provide graphical
coverage of weather affecting the Austrian Alps, with text in English, German and Italian;
you'll need to scroll down the small frame in the bottom right hand corner.
Skiing in France
If you like it bigger, better and higher, then it has to be Val Thorens; the highest ski resort
in Europe and, with three ski areas, the largest skiing domain in the world!
year-round skiing, so the lack of snow is never a major problem here. They call it Espace
Killy, after the famous French skier. There's an excellent webcam page; with nine views of Tignes
from various positions. The piste-map
is huge and is available as PDF
Chamonix is a
gorgeous alpine town in the shadow of the Mont Blanc; famous for the Vall�e Blanche ski
tour and adventurous climbers.
Discover even more ski regions at Ski France.
Skiing in Italy
is my favourite ski region in Italy; skiing the Della Ronda and sipping an afternoon
Grappa in Grappa is a wonderful way to pass a sunny Winter's day.
If you'd like to discover the Rendena Valley, try the less touristed Madonna di Campiglio. The Skirama is well worth the
Skiing in Switzerland
Switzerland really is the ski centre of Europe for me.
The Davos ski
area is great for mileage seekers (315 km). It links to the elegant Klosters, where Prince
Charles and Princess Diana used to ski, and Prince Charles still does. When they
separated, Diana preferred to go to Lech; in Austria.
Saas Fee often
loses out to its famous neighbour, Zermatt. The skiing in Saas Fee is more challenging,
especially the Sommerski run.
Saas Fee Webcams.
Zermatt and the
Matterhorn are synonymous with Switzerland.
I always have a soft spot for this car-free resort, since I worked
there as a teenager. I have returned there many times and the magic never fades.
It gets very cold up on the Klein Matterhorn, so wrap up well. If the
snow is good, you can even ski over to Cervinia, in Italy.
Weather and Zermatt Webcam.
Verbier has always been
a popular resort area with the English, for much longer than Prince Andrew's ex-wife has
been going there.
The 4 Valley Ski Area is immense, at 360 kilometres, so you will have
no problems getting away from the sloanie cries.
The nearby Portes du
Soleil region is another wonderful ski area. From the quaint resort of Chambery you can ski over to the
purpose-built, French resort of Avoriaz.
And last but not least, St Moritz is where you can ski with
the rich and famous in Switzerland's premier resort; or try Gstaad, if you like your high-life
a little more low key.
Hotels in Austrian Ski Resorts
Achensee, Alpbachtal und
Tiroler Seenland, Arlberg, Bad Kleinkirchheim, Bregenzerwald, Brixental, Dachstein, Dachstein West, Defereggental, Fiss - Serfaus -
und M�lltal, Hermagor, Hochmontafon, Innsbruck,
Seefeld und Leutasch, Kaprun - Zell am See, Kitzb�heler Alpen, Klagenfurt, Kleinwalsertal, Obertauern, �tztal, Pitztal, Stubaital, Villacher Skiberge, Zillertal.
Hotels in French Ski Resorts
Chamonix, Is�re, Le Grand Massif, Les Arcs et La Plagne,
Les Portes du Soleil,
Les Trois Vall�es, Meg�ve, Serre-Chevalier, Val-d'Is�re, Vall�e de l'Ubaye.
Hotels in German Ski Resorts
Hotels in Italian Ski Resorts
Adamello, Alpe di Siusi
- Sciliar, Alta
Val Pusteria, Alta Val
Venosta, Alta Val
d'Isarco, Alta Valsugana,
Alta Valtellina, Altopiani di
Folgaria e Lavarone, Altopiano
della Paganella, Altopiano
di Asiago, Altopiano
di Pin�, Altopiano di
Renon - Val Sarentino, Auronzo,
Misurina e Sappada, Bolzano
and Strada del vino, Breuil-Cervinia,
Cogne, Cortina d'Ampezzo,
Courmayeur, Dolomites, Gran Paradiso
National Park, Gran
San Bernardo, Gressoney, La Thuile, Marmolada - Arabba,
Civetta, Ortles, Pila, Plan de Corones,
Latemar, San Martino
di Castrozza, Sella Nevea,
Sella Ronda, Stelvio National Park,
Tarvisio, Val Badia, Val Brembana, Val Camonica e
Val di Scalve, Val
Gardena, Val Germanasca,
Val Rendena, Val Senales, Val Venosta, Val d'Ayas, Val d'Isarco, Val d'Ultimo, Val di Corteno, Val di Fassa, Val di Fiemme, Val di Non, Val di Rh�mes e
Valgrisenche, Val di Sole,
Val di Susa, Vallagarina e Monte
Baldo, Valle San
Giacomo, Valle Varaita,
Valle Vermenagna, Valle del Po, Valle dell'Adige, Valle di
Biois - Falcade, Valli
di Tures e Aurina, Valmalenco,
Valsassina, Valsesia, Valsugana orientale
Hotels in Swiss Ski Resorts
Aletsch, Alpenarena, Andermatt, Arosa, Crans-Montana, Davos Klosters, Engelberg, Gstaad et
Ch�teau-d'Oex, Jungfrau, Les Quatre Vall�es, Saas Fee, San Bernardino, St. Moritz, Zermatt.
Alpine Skiing @ Travel Notes.
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