9 fun ski areas that you can check out in Europe


By AGENCY

On days like this, you can understand why the Portes du Soleil is named ‘gates to the sun’. — Litescape Media/Portes du Soleil/dpa

The Alps stretch across a good half-dozen countries. And so it comes as no surprise that in some ski resorts a border runs along the summit ridge leading to some apres-ski hotspot and duty-free shopping mecca, or a sophisticated luxury destination, or perhaps a more down-to-Earth mountain village.

Here are nine “borderline” skiing regions in the European continent ready to test your skills:

1. Matterhorn/Cervino Ski Paradise: Zermatt (Switzerland) and Breuil-Cervinia/Valtournenche (Italy)

In the shadow of the iconic peak is the Matterhorn Ski Paradise, which is the highest ski resort in the Alps at nearly 4,000m. You can get to the top from the posh Swiss resort of Zermatt in the Valais. There is likewise a connection to the Cervina Ski Paradise from Breuil-Cervinia and Valtournenche in the Aosta Valley in Italy.

If you buy the International Ski Pass, you can commute between the two countries via the Theodul Pass. A total of around 360km of ski runs are then at your disposal.

2. Silvretta Arena: Ischgl (Austria) and Samnaun (Switzerland)

Après-ski cult on the Austrian side, duty-free shopping on the Swiss side: Together, Ischgl in Austria and Samnaun in Switzerland form the Silvretta Arena. Below the highest point at 2,872m, a breathtaking ski area offers over 239km of pistes.

Those looking for variety will find it on some special runs – such as racing pistes or mogul slopes – and in the snow park. For an exploration of the entire ski area, there is the “Smuggler’s Round” in three variants – in reference to those bygone times when goods were still smuggled between villages on either side.

3. Fellhorn/Kanzelwand: Oberstdorf (Germany) and Kleinwalsertal (Austria)

Two countries, seven mountains, one ski area: With the two-country ski pass, winter sports enthusiasts can let off steam between Nebelhorn and Ifen.

The area offers a total of 130km of pistes. Among other things, the Allgaeu mountain range is home to Germany’s longest downhill run, at 7.5km.

4. Portes du Soleil: Twelve Mountain Villages on the Swiss-French border

On the border between France and Switzerland, the Portes du Soleil ski region forms one of the largest contiguous ski areas in the world.

Accessible from a total of 12 stations in the Valais and Haute-Savoie ranges, it offers endless possibilities – no wonder, given the total of 580km of runs and no fewer than 11 snow parks.

5. Steinplatte/Winklmoosalm: Waidring (Austria) and Reit im Winkel (Germany)

The family-friendly Winklmoosalm/Steinplatte ski area is located in the triangle of the states in Austria (Tyrol, Salzburg) and Germany (Bavaria). Most of the slopes are easy to moderately difficult, with only two of the 44km of slopes classified as difficult. On the Bavarian side in particular, the mountain slopes are gentle.

A children’s area and the “Triassic Funline”, designed as a dinosaur adventure with a wave run and tunnel, are intended to spark youngsters’ enthusiasm for winter sports. Experts, on the other hand, will find wonderful deep snow for freeriding at the Schwarzloferalm.

6. Via Lattea: Sestriere, Sauzed’Oulx, Oulx, San Sicario, Cesana, Pragelato, Claviere (Italy) and Montgenevre (France)

A ski area with the melodious name Via Lattea (Milky Way) can only be of enormous proportions. In fact, the Via Lattea between Italy and France is one of the largest skiing regions in Europe, with around 400km of pistes.

At the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, this was the centre of the alpine competitions.

7. Espace San Bernardo: La Rosiere (France) and La Thuile (Italy)

Drivers use the small Saint Bernard Pass to get from France to Italy. But winter sports enthusiasts certainly have more fun crossing the border in the Espace San Bernardo ski area right next door.

Here, within sight of Mont Blanc and Testa del Rutor, the Aosta Valley meets France. The French La Rosiere, with its gentle slopes, is particularly popular with beginners, while the Italian La Thuile, with its predominantly red (most difficult) slopes, allows for faster skiing. A great place to take a breather is the viewing platform at the Fort de la Redoute ruinee.

8. Kanin/SellaNevea: Bovec (Slovenia) and SellaNevea (Italy)

Skiing between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea: This experience is possible in the Kanin/Sella Nevea ski area. In one of Slovenia’s largest ski areas, the country’s longest cable car takes winter sports enthusiasts from Bovec up to 2,202m. Among the most popular downhill runs is a 5km stretch that leads to Sella Nevea in Italy. The merger around 10 years ago created a total of 30km of pistes in the Julian Alps. The Italian part is particularly beginner-friendly.

One of the highlights of the area is Kanin’s ski beach. In fine weather, you can enjoy the view of the Mediterranean Sea in the distance while soaking up the sun.

9. Zugspitze Ski Area: Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany) and Ehrwald (Austria)

If the standards are applied strictly, the slopes on the Zugspitzplatt do not quite meet the criteria for a cross-border ski area. All 20km of pistes are on the German side. However, you can also reach the glacier ski area directly from Ehrwald in Austria with the Tyrolean Zugspitzbahn. – dpa

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