Skiing in the Alps is a must-do for any winter-sports enthusiast. Whether you are a beginner in Cerkno, or an advanced skier bombing down Zermatt, you won’t be disappointed.
The Alps make up the highest, most extensive mountain range in Europe, stretching from France to Slovenia – eight countries in total. They’re also home to Mont Blanc, one of the most prominent peaks in the world, at 4,808m (15,774ft) above sea level.
Approximately 80 percent of the world’s major ski resorts are found here, attracting millions of visitors each year. There is so much variety – from glacier skiing in Switzerland to ski jumping in Germany. The perfect destinations for winter breaks.
Family-friendly and reasonably priced, Avoriaz is a must-visit ski resort in the Alps. Purpose-built in the 1960s, it’s popular for its snow-sure slopes and two excellent snow parks. You can cruise 650km (404mi) of runs offered through its connection to the Portes du Soleil area. Well-known bar La Folie Douce moved into town in 2018, allowing you to enjoy the party until the sun goes down. Note that it does get very busy during peak holiday weeks.
With the famous Matterhorn punctuating the skyline, Zermatt is an iconic Alps ski resort. Thirty-eight 4,000m (13,123ft) peaks surround the high Alpine village, guaranteeing skiing each winter. The runs here are mostly suited to intermediate and advanced skiers. However, there’s also plenty to occupy non-skiers, from the Matterhorn Museum to the infinity pool at the Resort La Ginabelle. The only downside is the cost – a one-day lift pass is expensive at 79 Swiss Francs (£65.45).
Famed for its lively après-ski scene, Mayrhofen has a dual personality, attracting both families and snowboarding party animals. Each year, it’s home to the famous Alps music festival Snowbombing and comedy event Altitude. Those looking for a typical snow-covered Tyrolean village won’t be disappointed. With 142km (88mi) of pistes (some of which are wide), it’s easy to lose the crowds in this huge ski area, before ducking into a cosy cabin restaurant for a hot chocolate.
With towering peaks and fur-coat-clad clientele, Cortina is one of the more glamorous Alps resorts. Grand Victorian hotels line the streets, and it’s particularly popular with weekenders from Venice and Milan. The resort comprises three ski areas, with runs for all levels, especially intermediates. Keep an eye on this destination, as it’s hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics, along with Milan.
As the centre of Germany’s winter sports, Garmisch-Partenkirchen has hosted not only the Winter Olympics but also an annual New Year’s ski-jumping competition. Views over the craggy Zugspitze peak are impressive, with lifts reaching a lofty 2,100m (6,890ft). While the runs aren’t the most extensive in the Alps, the town has hundreds of restaurants, a pool, an ice-skating rink and a casino to entertain you once the lifts shut.
At the far eastern end of the Alps, you’ll find Slovenia. Cerkno is one of the country’s most famous ski resorts, with high-speed chairlifts that will whiz you to the top of runs – there are 18km (11mi) to explore. It’s a great place to learn due to its small, family-friendly vibe. Afterwards, visit the Alpine Pearl, Cerkno’s popular lunchtime spot, and tuck into a hot bowl of goulash or klobasa (local sausage).