Let’s face it, winter in London sucks. The snow turns to slush as soon as it hits the ground and the weather is grey and windy. Yes, we will have some nice cold days to spend at Christmas markets and yes, the warm brews will keep us warm but nothing beats cruising down a sunny slope before having a fondue, something that will really keep you warm. That’s why Felix has put together the top spots to get away to ski this winter!
The train from St Pancras will get you to Zermatt in 10 hours or a 90-minute flight to Geneva will leave you with a three-hour train. Zermatt is one of the few resorts with no cars, which is quite refreshing after London.
But what really makes Zermatt stand out are the pistes. The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is 3883m high and is the highest station accessible by cable car in Europe. The Gornergrat (3089m) and the Rothorn (3103m) also provide extreme sensations and breath-taking views. And there are plenty of bars to drink the night away.
The Papperla Pub is popular and we highly recommend it. Zermatt is known for being one of the more expensive resorts for accommodation and ski passes but the cable cars run all year so you can strike a bargain in the off-peak season.
Geneva has the closest airport and Verbier is a two-hour drive from there or 40 minutes more than that by train. All up you can get there from London in about five hours. Verbier is known for its off-piste slopes so if powdery snow is your thing then this is the place for you. You will find there are a lot of Brits in Verbier.
James Blunt owns a restaurant there, the Royals seem to hit the slopes every year and Richard Branson owns a lodge there as well. If you’re looking to practice your French and forget about British life for a few days this may not be the place for you but if you want to feel at home and meet other Brits then Verbier is exactly where you want to be.
It has a vibrant nightlife and as a result it is a popular spot for New Year’s celebrations. Like most Swiss ski resorts Verbier is pretty expensive but you can find rooms for under £100 a night.
St Anton, Austria
The easiest way to get to St Anton Am Alberg is a two-hour flight from Heathrow to Innsbruck and then a one to two-hour train. St Anton is known for inventing the sport of alpine skiing and that history is reflected in the choice of pistes at the resort. There are 305km of pistes and another 200km of off-piste itineraries leaving you with lots to explore.
St Anton is probably best suited for more advanced skiers so it might not be the best place if you’re starting out or taking kids. This resort is also known for its crazy nightlife. The two spots to check out are the Mooserwirt and the Krazy Kanguruh where you’re sure to see plenty of beer flowing and perhaps some table dancing.
As for accommodation, St Anton is cheaper than the Swiss resorts listed above and you will have no trouble finding rooms for less than £70 a night.
Val Thorens, France
Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe at 2300m. The closest airport is Chambéry, about a two-hour flight from London and a bus from there will take another hour and a half. Val Thorens has pistes for all levels and its high altitude means you can ski from November to May.
The nightlife is very worthwhile – check out The Frog and Roast Beef which some claim is the highest British pub in the Alps, or Le Malaysia which claims to have the largest dance floor in the alps (700 sq m)! Val Thorens is easily the most affordable resort on our list as you can get a five-day ski pass and accommodation for about £600.
by Dominic Luca