Trip the white fantastic

By Will Kirkpatrick

FRANCE

Le Corbier

Nestled in the French Alps is a multi-purpose mountain resort. If you can survive the steep incline up to the paradise, you will soon be shooting down on it later. In the winter time, it is a picturesque masterpiece of snowy mountains, laced with snowboarders and skiers. In the summer, that melts and becomes a hiking and mountainbiking hotspot.

With highly capable and multilingual instructors, it’s a brilliant place to learn to ski on real snow with amazing views to reward your bravery. A diverse place to learn to ski, get beautiful views and the full experience, unlike what somebody would get at the Chill Factor for example. Skiing on real snow in the alps is something which is good enough to put on a bucket list.

However, with its heat there is a possibility of lacking snowfall in the winter months, meaning it is a risk to wish to ski there. Le Corbier offers a plethora of diverse courses for skiers of all capabilities.

Le Corbier also boasts multiple small shops owned by locals, ranging from restaurants to snow equipment.

There are also a range of hotels that are dotted around the outskirts of the mountains, not too far away from the tracks. These offer diverse rooms which are mainly standard and simple – but you wouldn’t be spending lots of time in the rooms anyway.

Both inexperienced and experienced skiers are welcome due to its range of difficulty in courses for people. Learning to ski is also not made demanding and it remains fun due to the instructors.

As a getaway in the winter months and to blow off steam, it is a great place to spend a week and prevent you from merely lazing around.

Val Thorens

Val Thorens is a high rated ski resort and has been voted europeanbestdestinations.com’s best ski resort for three years in a row. Val Thorens boasts the largest ski area in the world at 600 kilometres of skiable land. It is also at the highest altitude of any European ski resort at 2,300 meters high.

Nestled in the French Alps, the resort boasts the ability to have fresh snow on its hills everyday due to their high altitude. The fresh snow also makes for a brilliant skiing experience as it makes the ski down a feel like you reach euphoria.

Val Thorens also boasts a shop district, run by locals, which include ski shops and restaurants. Also due to its popularity, you can feel at home at Val Thorens as the majority of hotels boast free WiFi and have staff who speak most languages. Ski instructors would also be bilingual.

A beautiful, picturesque place to blow of steam and leave your mark in the snow with your skis.

Le Tikal

The best value for money stay in Val Thorens, Le Tikal is a three star aparthotel which can cost as little as £50 per night. With diverse room types to cater for all people, you can choose from typical hotel rooms, to suites or even studio-type rooms.

Le Tikas location is its main drawing point as it is centred in the Val Thorens district, meaning it is very close to both ski shops and slopes. The hotel also offers use of a fitness centre and sauna for when you hop off the slopes. Great value for money, great for families and a wonderful place to stay.

AUSTRIA

Kitzbühel

Kitzbühel is Austria’s number one multi purpose mountain range for sport activities. In the winter, the mountains are painted white in thick, fresh snow which gives you an entirely unique experience. The views at the top of the alps are stunning which give you a reward for braving the cold.

Kitzbühel features a world famous downhill course in Streif. The Streif course is famous for being a high intensity extreme ski course, sponsored by Red Bull. This course starts at 1,665m above sea level and finishes at 805m while covering a distance of 3,312km. Speeds can reach around 80mph (120-130km/h) to give you that injection of adrenaline. This is obviously a more advanced route and there are multiple route options for differently skilled skiers or snowboarders.

Kitzbühel guarantees 155 days of snow so in the winter months and early spring, you don’t have to worry about. Kitzbühel also grants a ski pass valid for the full region to save you time and money.

In the Summer months, the hills are littered with hikers with both themed walks and guided tours. Cycling is also on offer as the Austrians take advantage of the mountainous landscape and golf is available on multiple different holed courses. Kitzbühel also has small facilities for people to have a good time close to the hotel – mainly for children – with activities such as wall climbing, ice hockey, paragliding and rafting. Kitzbühel also plays host to many open-air concerts in the main area of the centre.

Salzburg

Zell-Am-Zee has a beautiful landscape which is perfect for skiing down. Nestled in Salzburg inside Austria, it borders the Eastern Alps and has been a skiable mountain range for 89 years.

With approximately 130 days open each year from December to April of snow for skiing and snowboarding, it is a range where there are multiple opportunities to inject some adrenaline into your blood. With a peak of 2,000m and a 1,250m ski down, it is a great place to ski and with the scenic sights you see, you may never want to leave.

There are over 28 runs and 26 lifts to chose from so you have a wide selection of routes to spend time. There is also a wide selection of difficulty runs meaning that anybody is able to ski here, intermediate to expert. The length of the slopes equate to 138km, meaning that you have plenty of time to enjoy yourself as you speed down the mountains.

SWITZERLAND

Gstaad

Gstaad is often overlooked as being a celebrity ridden hotbed due to the Swiss market and secluded environment. With a miniscule population, Gstaad is home to more cows than locals. That doesn’t hinder it from being a great place to ski.

Being such a secluded place in South West Switzerland, those that are close to the ski slopes may become a little pricey per night, the cheapest being around £100, but that extra price makes for a more “chilled” atmosphere. Gstaad is a very friendly and diverse atmosphere as it combines the many spoken languages in Switzerland and the languages of the tourists.

Gstaad is a mountain range in the Swiss alps which thaws in the summer time. During that time, some cattle roam the hills but it doesn’t stop the mountain being a great place for hikes and mountain biking.

During the winter time, snow blankets the slopes to create a great place to ski and snowboard. Locals run small businesses which sell winter gear for getting up and down the hills and you are never too far away from a bit of food. The ski slopes offer a diverse range of runs from beginners to experts.

For a quieter experience to the normal slope experience, Gstaad is great for couples or those who are a little older. Slalom in style and peace.

ITALY

La Thuile

La Thuile is a brilliant ski resort for people of all skiing abilities. It offers multiple different routes and courses so much so that you could spend a whole day doing different courses. With dedicated instructors to aid all different skill levels, you can never feel alone on these slopes.

La Thuile also offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountain ranges. On clear days, Mount Blanc is visible and the overall setting of the ski area is beautiful when the snow blankets the tops. With over 68 different courses, these range from beginner, intermediate and advanced runs, there is something for everyone.

A ski school is available for anybody who visits the resort. La Thuile also includes a selection of “nursery slopes” for those starting young. With free childcare, La Thuile is perfect of families. La Thuile also includes very steep expert courses with multiple different races and time trials on offer to heighten the experience. La Thuile also includes a modern lift system to get people to the top of the mountains.

Hotels are in prime locations around the resort with the majority able to be skied up to for ease. Hotels are a small ski away and are close to a local district with restaurants and small ski shops.

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