Winter is approaching rapidly and soon will fall the first snow. In winter season, many people are turning to the mountains to practice their favorite sport – skiing. Many are able to directed outside the country – to the famous resorts in the world where there are excellent conditions for practicing this sport. However, you do not need to travel too far to enjoy the hobby – Europe has a number of great places that have become world famous destination for skiers – professionals and laymen. There luxury goes hand in hand with the sport. As they say, champagne goes with everything, even with snow…Here are some of the best ski resorts in Europe:
St. Moritz, Switzerland
The Swiss resort of St. Moritz is also called “boutique resort in the Swiss Alps.” It is one of the most famous and prestigious ski resorts in the world, especially since it hosted the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948 (only three cities in the world have hosted the games more than once). Today its name is synonymous with sophistication and elegance, and a number of celebrities have properties in the city. The resort is mentioned in several books, as well as in the famous movie series of James J. Bond.
St. Moritz is located in Engadine in Grisons and is mainly influenced by two cultures: that of the German-speaking majority and those who speak Romance languages (mainly the nearby Italians). Initially, the city became an important center, thanks to its healing mineral springs, which have been known for over three millennia. Even in recent years the resort is more popular in summer than in winter, although the winter season is the most important business of the resort.
The combination of soft snow, good weather and excellent altitude is ideal for anyone who wants to spend their holiday in nature. Advantage is the variety of winter sports, which have the potential tourists – bobsled, tobogganing, horse racing, polo, cricket, curling, skating on the frozen lake, ski jumping and others.
It is not advisable to try to get to St. Moritz by car as there is only one path leading to the city and there are parking problems. The best way to go there is by train, as connections are regular and accessible from all parts of Switzerland and neighboring countries.
One of the biggest resorts in the Swiss Alps, Verbier is preferred by a number of celebrities. Verbier is located in the canton of Valais – the largest resort area in Switzerland. The population is about 2800 people, winter sometimes number increase to 35,000 people.
The altitude of the slopes is between 1500-3330 m and the total length is 410 km. Among them there are 19 slopes for beginner, 20 intermediate runs and 5 runs for experts. They have a total of 35 lifts. The high altitude of slopes ensure snow during the whole season.
Verbier is one of the resorts with the best conditions for skiing outside the processed tracks. The slopes are suitable for snowboarding. If you want to get away from ski atmosphere, go to Mont Gele – one of the few areas in the region, which are not built ski slopes.
The entrance to the resort is passing through Geneva, a distance of 160 km. From there you can get a train coupling, and then get the gondola or bus to Verbier. Access by car is not impossible, but it is risky because of the harsh winter conditions.
According to some experts Courchevel is the most expensive ski resort in Europe. Their ranking is made based on the average price per square meter of living space (square meters costs almost 37 thousand euro), the value of the weekly card for use of ski facilities and the cheapest beer offered. There often stays Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, the Italian millionaire Flavio Briatore, supermodel Naomi Campbell, footballer David Beckham family and actor George Clooney.
Guests of the resort can choose between 275 tracks located in a vast area. Actually Kurshvel is a whole area – the largest linked ski area in the world in which sectors are named according to the altitude. Best known is Kurvshel 1850, which is the higher. The city is polished to the last detail – even here cobblestones warm underneath to prevent icing.
The resort has its own airport, although the landing and take-off are quite risky. So far there are direct buses from Geneva airport, but there is an option to travel by train link Muti – Salen – Brides-les-Bains.
DIzer Val, France
Yet another one of the most expensive and prestigious ski resort in Europe – fourth in the rankings. There, the average price per square meter is 15.6 thousand. Euro. There often stay Bono U2, actor Gerard Depardieu and supermodel Helena Christensen.
Val d’Isere is a small city in France, located in the department of Rhone-Alpes, just 5 km from the border with Italy. It held the World Cup races in Alpine skiing. Its population is about 1,800 inhabitants. Some call the resort “The most beautiful ski area in the world” – it is located at such a height that people can ski all year. However, there is a problem with global warming, for which part of the glaciers melt and shrink in size.
Val d’Isere has a tradition of skiing since the 30s of last century. Today, tourists can stay in the ultra-modern cabins equipped with all amenities. There they can enjoy a bunch of activities – both pistitem and beyond.
The nearest train station is Bourg Saint Maurice, about 30-45 minutes by car (bus) from the resort. Air can get to Geneva, Chambery or Lyon, where there are train and bus connections to Val d’Isere. There are options for access by car, but they are for those who are not afraid to go on the road slopes.
Kiruna is a city in northern Sweden, Norrbotten linen. It is located about 960 km northeast of the capital Stockholm. The population is just over 18,000 inhabitants. Kiruna is one of the most popular winter sports destinations in Sweden. The resort boasts one of the strangest hotels in the world – the hotel Jukkasjarvi, built entirely of ice. Permanent snow cover makes Kiruna especially suitable for all kinds of winter sports, including downhill skiing, cross country skiing and sledding races, and it all year round. The city’s history dates back six thousand years, when the glaciers began to retreat north. Unlike ski resorts in the Alps as Kiruna offers tourists the opportunity to enjoy the night sun (May 30-July 5) or the polar night (December 13 to January 5).
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Called the “Queen of the Dolomites” (Southern Alps), Cortina d’Ampezzo is the largest resort in the magnificent mountain range. It is the most luxurious ski resort in Italy. The city is located about 40 km from the Austrian border and about 160 km from Venice.
The popularity of the Cortina d’Ampezzo starts in 1956, when the resort hosts the Olympic Games. After the games popularity of the resort increased significantly. The games in 1944 have also been planned for the city, but were canceled because of World War II.
Additional opportunities for entertainment and sports in the mountains include Snowshoeing, tobogganing, skating, curling and ice climbing.
To Cortina d’Ampezzo is not so easy to get because the options are not so many. Besides the car, you can get by bus. The nearest airports are located in Treviso, Venice, Verona and Innsbruck, Austria. Direct bus there are through Milan and Bologna.
Luxury, snow and fun combine in this medieval town that is rapidly gaining fame as a ski resort. Narrow streets surrounded by colorful houses, leading to expensive restaurants of the highest class, cosmopolitan clubs and spectacular boutique shops. The resort is located in the Tyrolean Alps and offers excellent conditions for ski lovers.
Near the town is river – Kitzbuhel Ache. The resort altitude is 762 meters and its population is about 8300 people. In Kitzbuhel there is railway station, the city is situated about 90 km northeast from Innsbruck. The nearest airports are located in Munich, Salzburg and Innsbruck. From there you can take a car or take a train to Kitzbuhel.