Have you considered hitting the slopes in Europe? If you are accustomed to skiing/riding in North America, you may be in for a few surprises on European pistes (trails), but the differences aren‚Äôt too extreme. The point of taking a trip like this is to embrace new experiences.
First, if you are looking to beat the crowds, mornings and noon are the ideal times to get out on the slopes. Whereas most places in the U.S. have lines forming at the lifts shortly after the resort opens, in Europe you will find that the trails are virtually deserted during these periods. After a day on the slopes, people tend to gather with friends and family into the late evening, and lunch is traditionally a part of the day where one relaxes and takes their time to sit down to a good meal. Also, where off-trail skiing/riding is typically prohibited in North America, you will see that it is permitted at many European locations. It is vital to note that off-piste routes are not patrolled by resorts, and you proceed down these trails at your own risk. You absolutely must be aware of the potential for avalanches, your level of endurance, and the weather conditions before embarking on this type of chancy adventure.
Zermatt, Switzerland: The Swiss Alps
Think Swiss chalets and panoramas that will take your breath away. All this will be grabbing at your heartstrings before you have even purchased your life ticket. Do know that the charming town of Zermatt is a combustion-engine free zone, and it is strictly enforced so that air pollution is kept to a minimum. You wouldn‚Äôt want smog obscuring those incredible views of the Swiss Alps! The most popular form of transportation used here is the cog railway train, but there are electro-buses and sometimes horse-drawn carriages available for shuttle services. It is possible to start off skiing/riding atop a mountain in Switzerland and, via linking trails, end the run in Cervinia, Italy. The longest route of connected pistes to explore at this picturesque destination is 22 km.
Kitzb√ºhel, Austria: Kitzb√ºhel Alps
The brightly colored peach, green and yellow buildings in the town center warmly stand out amongst the white blanket of snow covering it during the winter. Time almost seems to stand still along the cobblestone streets of quaint Kitzb√ºhel. People here do not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. In fact, should you decide to rush around town impatiently during your stay, you will surely make a spectacle of yourself. When you ski/ride here, just go with the flow, relax, sit back and drink in the beauty of the surrounding terrain. There is a primary lift located in Kitzb√ºhel that will connect you to pistes leading to the towns of Aurach, Jochberg and Kirchberg. To ensure you will have enough time to fully enjoy Kitzb√ºhel‚Äôs slopes, on Thursday and Friday skiing/riding hours are extended into the evening.
Chamonix, France: Mont Blanc
This lovely winter haven is nestled in a valley at the base of Mont Blanc (White Mountain), and Chamonix boasts a number of impressive statistics. The first Winter Olympics were held here in 1924, and Mont Blanc is the tallest mountain in the Western European Alps. There is a tunnel that cuts under the mountain to connect Chamonix, France with Courmayeur, Italy. You have 6 main resorts to choose from in Chamonix Valley, and there is a free bus system that will drop you off at anyone of these locations.
Val Gardena, Italy: Val Gardena Valley
Situated in the Dolomites Mountain Range in northern Italy, the Val Gardena Valley is home to the towns of Urtij√´i, S√´lva and Santa Cristina. You may purchase a special Dolomiti Superski pass that gives you access to just over 1200 km of prime ski/snowboard trails spanning out over 12 zones. There is absolutely something for everyone here, and you have the choice of slopes ranging from beginning all the way through to expert levels. It is highly recommended for intermediate and above skiers/snowboarders to take the Sella Ronda Tour. This route is a 40 km roundtrip and takes about 6 hrs on average to complete. You want to be sure to set off first thing in the morning; otherwise you could miss the last lift of the day in returning from your excursion. The tour will take you through 4 valleys of interconnected trails and will surely be something you‚Äôll remember for years to come.
Bovec, Slovenia: Kanin-Sella Nevea Ski Resort
When you visit the tiny town of Bovec, Slovenia, you not only have the option of purchasing entrance to two separate ski/snowboard areas, you receive a pass that allows you access to pistes in two countries. The resort has a state of the art, massive cable car that spans Kanin Mountain from Bovec to Sella Nevea, Italy. The trail that runs between the towns is accommodating to skiers/snowboarders of all levels. Here, the climate allows for winter fun to run until the onset of May.
What are you looking for in a skiing/snowboarding getaway? How about the opportunity to encounter kilometer after kilometer of snow packed trails, magnificent vistas, enchanting European villages, and new experiences? Limitless adventures await you when you plan a trip to Europe‚Äôs plentiful, stunning mountain ranges. Whether you are booking flights to Italy or flights to Austria, get the best rates at 1800FlyEurope.com.