Posh Ski Resorts of Europe

Skier going downhill.
Skier going downhill.

Posh Ski Resorts of Europe

by Erica Fowler
Stripes Europe

If you’re seeking fresh powder in Europe, let us point you in the right direction. North American skiers will find some differences in the trail rankings. In Europe, pistes are categorized by a color-coded system shown in blue (easy), red (intermediate), and black (expert) trail signs. Many of the resort websites have fantastic slope maps and the status of their trails. Kids’ activity clubs or daycare options are sometimes available through larger hotels and may be included in the cost of your stay.

Courchevel, France

Season: December 2022–April 2023

Features: Kids’ club, multi-area ski passes, night skiing, ski schools, snow parks, alternative activities

If you aim to ski in France’s large Three Valleys region, Courchevel is at the center of the action. There are three ski areas and more than 200 accommodation options that often provide ski lift shuttles. Courchevel 1850 is the most luxurious for a temporary stay and it is so named to indicate its altitude in meters, like the rest of Courchevel’s neighborhoods. On the slopes, half of the trails are designated easy or intermediate if you don’t want to brave the toughest ones. The tallest lift of them all, the Cime de Caron cable car will take you to an altitude of 10,498 feet!

La Plagne, France

Season: December 2022–April 2023

Features: Kids’ club, multi-area ski passes, night skiing, ski schools, snow parks, alternative activities

La Plagne is just one of the doors to the sprawling slopes of the Paradiski area in the French Alps. The variety of activities is further enhanced with the Les Arcs ski resort, which also offers inclusive family-friendly options, including care, skiing lessons and unique snowy fun.

Over 450 winter lodging accommodations are available, from Club Med or Hotel Club Plagne 2000, to something more intimate or even unusual, like an upcycled and cozy snow groomer.

The alternative winter activities include snowshoeing, dog sledding, bobsleigh, paragliding and ziplining. And if you have never tried a “snooc,” then this fun French invention is waiting for you to rent. All you have to do is sit… and hold on tight! It looks like a small stool atop a mini ski.

Pull Quote: “If you have never tried a “snooc,” then this fun French invention is waiting…” If the French are doing it, it must be tried!

Zermatt, Switzerland

Season: November 2022–April 2023

Features: Kids’ club, multi-area ski passes, night skiing, ski schools, snow parks, alternative activities

With a view as iconic as the Matterhorn, it is no wonder that skiers come from around the world to experience the altitude so high that a portion of the slopes on the glacier are available for skiers year-round. The mountainous range lies along the border with Italy, so you can even ski across the border through the Theodul Pass. The cable cars, gondolas, and train routes are always being expanded, but you can always take a helicopter to the top of ungroomed trails. Plan to visit the igloo village for a unique dining or overnight experience, as the whole place is lovingly carved out of packed snow with intricate designs, complete with a sauna, fondue and schnapps.

Pull Quote: “With a view as iconic as the Matterhorn, it is no wonder that skiers come from around the world to experience the altitude so high that a portion of the slopes on the glacier are available for skiers year-round.”

Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy

Season: November 2022–May 2023

Features: Multi-area ski passes, ski schools, snow parks, alternative activities

These slopes in the Italian Alps will be the stage for the 2026 Winter Olympics. Ski pass packages allow you to enjoy four neighboring resorts’ worth of slopes. Lodging in this alpine charmer features well-accommodated hotels such as Cristallo, a luxury resort and spa, or you may prefer the peaceful ambiance of sleeping under the stars in the Starlight 360°, which comes with a three-course dinner. If you’re looking for reservations with English-speaking ski school instructors, The Cortina Ski School has you covered.

St. Johann in Salzburg, Austria

Season: December 2022–April 2023

Features: Kids’ club, multi-area ski passes, ski schools, snow parks, alternative activities

St. Johann’s winter scene bustles with snow lovers zipping by on their more 470 miles of pistes in the Ski Amadé area. Activities abound in this area, such as horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice skating, dog sledding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and the family-oriented ski area of Hahnbaum allows little skiers to ease into their newfound skills with ski schools and wide slopes. Luxury hotels like Alpina Family, Spa & Sporthotel additionally offer spa services, all-meal buffets and childcare for babies and children. If you’re looking for a country farmhouse or an apartment with walkable conveniences, they are also available right next to the slopes.

Zugspitze, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Season: November 2022–May 2023

Features: Kids’ club, multi-area ski passes, ski schools, snow parks, alternative activities

The highest peak in Germany boasts a Bavarian ski resort that stays in full swing for half the year. Ski passes allow you to ski the Garmisch-Classic area. Multiple-day passes allow you to cross the border to Austria’s Tyrol ski region to continue the fun. For a good meal above the clouds, Panorama 2962 is built into the summit of Zugspitze with spectacular views of two countries at once. The town supplies a variety of overnight accommodations, but here is one of the five locations in Europe where there is an igloo village to admire from a hot tub. Another option, Edelweiss continues to be a full-featured, welcoming accommodation for the DoD community, and is located in Garmisch.

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