The Most Popular Ski Fields in Europe

Ski season in Europe is nearly upon us but can you tell your Chamonix from your Zermatt? Well this guide will help you out and guide you to the best skiing spot for any late ski deal this winter.

Chamonix, France is in a valley 10 miles long that has five ski areas and some of the steepest slopes in the world. The Aiguille du Midi is a cable car that takes skiers up 9,187 feet to the tip of Aiguille for access to Mont Blanc, the Vallee Blanche and Couloir des Cosmiques. Those who ski all the way to the valley floor have a vertical drop of 10,000 feet. The less expert skiers go to the Vallee Blanche for a rolling schuss of 13 miles down a glacial valley that is surrounded by the Alps. It is best to have a guide to attempt these skiing fields.

St. Anton, Austria is famous for its après ski and the 200 miles of runs and 440 miles of back-country terrain. A guide will help skiers avoid the queues at the tram to ski the chutes at Valluga peak. Lech is near-by with many more lifts and a lot more glamour. Skiers can have lunch there and ski back to St. Anton.

Kitzbuhel, Austria is famous for the Streif, which is considered the most dangerous downhill trail in the world with two miles of hairpin turns, steep pitches and huge airs. There are also 105 miles of slopes, 60 groomed trails and 54 lifts. The Ski Safari takes intermediate and advanced skiers along the most famous trails. Less experienced skiers stay on the sunny side of the Kitzbuheler Horn for groomed trails. #

Zermatt, Switzerland, is a charming town with chalets clinging to the sides of mountains as well as cobblestone streets and the spectacular Matterhorn in the background. It has 217 miles of marked trails and 12 miles on the Zermatt Theodul Glacier. The Monte Rosa Massif has the Marinelli Couloir, the longest corridor in Europe.

The Bernese Oberland, Switzerland offers access to the Jungfrau, Monch and Eiger peaks. The Haute Route links Chamoix and Zermatt and is very popular during the winter. There is a cog train from Wengen, a pedestrian village, that takes skiers to Klein Scheidigg, where they can transfer to another train that winds up the side of the Eiger to the Jungfraujoch. From there, they ski down the Aletschgletscher, a 14 mile glacier, which is the longest in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is considered best for skiers of all abilities to take a guide for this run.

Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy is in the Dolomite Mountains and is famous for the many nursery slopes and well groomed pistes. With a Dolomiti Superski pass, skiers have access to 761 miles of interconnected trails. There are several excellent ski-in restaurants along the trails.

Alagna, Italy is the best place for big-mountain freeriding. It is on the southern side of the Monte Rosa Massif. There is one gondola on the main mountain and two other ski areas, Chapoluc and Grissoney. These three areas have 115 miles of runs and two couloirs in the backcountry as well as a six mile run called La Balma that runs down a glacier.

Val d’Isere, France is the home of Jean-Claude Killy the Triple Crown of Alpine Skiing in the 1968 Winter Olympics. There are 186 miles of slopes as well as an updated terrain park with a wide variety of terrains. The Tignes slopes are also part of the resort. The Tour de Charvet is excellent for expert skiers as is glacier terrain off-piste and the 55 degree drops. The two chairs, five T-bars and drag lifts are free. The Col d’Iseran area of the resort has spectacular views of the Alps and the valley has many groomed trails and off piste routes.

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