We know some of the best holidays Irish people have are not in July and August but the winter months when the snow-capped mountains of Europe call groups of friends and families together to ski, relax and spend some time together. Although there are many places outside of Europe with ski holidays, travelling in the winter months can be especially difficult so we have focused on selecting some of the best ski resorts Europe has to offer depending on your ability and what you want from a winter holiday:
Val d'Isère has long been renowned as one of the top French ski resorts, with its impressive piste map of winding trails. While North Americans are proud of the Whistler Blackcomb area in Canada, the Espace Killy that includes Val and Tignes is five times bigger! Although the resort has not always been as glamorous as some of the other Alpine resorts, it has made big strides in recent years, offering refined dining experiences alongside traditional favourites.
Val d'Isere also boasts two renowned World Cup Men’s Downhill pistes and the Grande Motte glacier. But it’s the 24,710 acres of off-piste terrain that really makes it a paradise for freeriders from all over the world. Not only that, but you can also enjoy the legendary Folie Douce, chic nightclubs, and ultra-luxury chalets and hotels, making Val d'Isere a true ski icon. A 7 day ski pass costs €330 for adults between 19 and 64 years of age, with reduced prices and even free passes for those younger and older.
Touch down at Innsbruck airport and you can already see where you'll be skiing! You can realistically be skiing less than 2 hours after arriving. Innsbruck is perfect for confident intermediates - especially if they book into the Sporthotel Igls and take a run on the local Olympic bobsleigh. It's like being shot out of a cannon!
Off-pisters, look no further than the looming crags of the Nordkette - when there's powder, these avalanche-protected chutes offer some of the most thrilling descents in the Austrian Alps. The Adlers Hotel in the city centre is a super popular place to stay - it's only 10 minutes' walk from the funicular railway to the Nordkette and has a rooftop bar on the 13th floor. Get ready for an unforgettable ski adventure! Each ski resort have their own local lift passes. Most adult day passes cost around €40 apart from the larger Stubai Glacier. Kuehtai is generally regarded as the best value resort in the area.
Are you looking for a winter destination that offers more than just downhill skiing? Look no further than Yllas in Finnish Lapland! This beginner-friendly resort is the perfect place to try out several winter sports while enjoying the stunning scenery of the surrounding forests. You can ski down the slopes, go on a cross-country skiing adventure, take a sleigh ride, or even go on a dog-sledding safari. Plus, you can find great deals on accommodation and package holidays once the pre-Christmas Santa programme has been packed away, especially in January. Off peak adult ski passes for 7 days will cost €211. So why not come and explore the winter wonderland of Yllas?
Are you and your family new to skiing and looking for an all-inclusive ski holiday with a hotel, flights, transfers, and a holiday-company rep on-site? We understand that learning to ski is hard enough without having to worry about all the other holiday essentials, but finding a package during the school holidays that isn’t too expensive can be a challenge.
Fortunately, there is a solution! For a budget and family friendly ski holiday, consider Pamporovo in Eastern Europe. Its modest, tree-lined pistes are perfect for first-timers and the ski school is unpretentious and very helpful. Plus, tour operators offer bundles that include ski school, lift passes, and ski hire at a great price! You can expect to pay €250 for an adult ski pass for 7 days.
Ready for a ski weekend adventure? Look no further than Chamonix! This vibrant town is nestled beneath the majestic Mont Blanc and offers some of the most thrilling off-piste descents in the Alps. If you're up for the challenge, book a stay at the Hotel Les Grands Montets in Argentière and get ready for a 2,000 vertical metre ski experience like no other. Intermediates, however, may find the ski areas scattered along the Chamonix valley a bit too small. So why not save a visit for a more advanced skiing level and enjoy the slopes of Morzine, Megève, and La Clusaz in the meantime? Adult ski passes for all of Mont Blanc will cost €406 for 7 days. Definitely a worthwhile experience for anyone that’s serious about ski.
If you're looking for a winter wonderland that oozes charm, look no further than Lech. This traditional village of 1,600 inhabitants is home to chic boutiques, art galleries, and stylish hotels. Plus, it has the highest density of award-winning restaurants in the world, including the must-visit Rote Wand Chef’s Table. And of course, there's the renowned White Ring ski circuit, which links Lech, Zürs, Zug, and Oberlech. With two modern new cable cars, the slopes are more accessible than ever this season.
For a luxurious stay, book a room at the five-star, family-run Hotel Almhof Schneider. This Alpine escape boasts an impressive art collection, serene spa, and a 25,000-bottle wine cellar. Or, for a boutique experience, check into Hotel Kristiania, established by Olympic skier Othmar Schneider and still run by his family.
As part of the Arlberg, Austria’s largest inter-linked ski area, Lech offers 87 lifts and cable cars, 290 kilometres of marked slopes, and 195-plus kilometres of backcountry runs. Plus, one-day lift tickets start at just €53. So what are you waiting for? Get ready to experience the winter magic of Lech!
From Oligarchs to British Royals, Courchevel 1850 is the diamond in Europe's crown, and it's easy to see why. With its slicked pistes, seriously expensive hotels, and more Michelin-starred restaurants than you can shake a ski pole at, this resort offers a unique experience. Ski the legendary Grand Couloir, take a break for a hot chocolate, and then enjoy a louche, rosé-fuelled lunch at Le Cap Horn - all with easy lift access. For the ultimate experience, stay at Cheval Blanc, with its three-Michelin starred restaurant and incredible spa. Alternatively, nearby 1650's Portetta offers a restaurant from Angela Hartnett and the team behind The Pig brood of hotels in the UK. Come for the skiing, stay for the lobster lunches - Courchevel 1850 has it all! A family pass works out at €288 per skier for 6 days.
Are you looking for an affordable ski holiday in Europe? Look no further than Aussois in the Maurienne Valley! With discounted lift passes and ski rentals available with advance booking, plus cheap ski lessons and self-catering apartments, you can have a holiday for less than €680 per person (excluding food) for four people sharing! Plus, the slopeside Flocons d’Argent residence has its own pool. The 34 miles of south-facing slopes are perfect for beginners and intermediates, and the top-to-bottom run drops through a muscle-melting 1,250m. For the more adventurous, take a day trip to one of Aussois' five neighbouring resorts with a six-day Aussois lift pass.
Make sure your ski holiday is a safe one! Protect yourself and your loved ones with an AIG multi-trip policy. With this policy, you'll get free Ski and Winter Sports insurance for up to 17 days within your year of cover - so you can enjoy your ski holiday with peace of mind!