With lots of options, choosing the right ski resort can be a difficult decision. Knowing what you want from your trip has a big impact on what resort would be best suited to your needs. Do you want to learn whist you’re out there and have daily lessons? Do you want to spend your days mastering new tricks in the park? Do you want a good night scene or somewhere that’s child friendly? For us, a big ski area is a must as we tend to cover a lot of ground. Below are some of my recommendations if you’re planning a trip to Europe.

Val Thorens, France

Val Thorens is a cheaper option compared to its more desirable neighbours Courchevel and Meribel with just as much to offer, including a Michelin star restaurant. VT (as it’s referred to by the seasonaires) is the highest ski resort in Europe, thus it’s a pretty snow sure resort. Being higher up than its neighbours also gives you the advantage of getting up the mountain before the crowd as you’re already half way there. The Three Valleys range is the biggest ski area in the world (in terms of pistes), you will never get bored with such a big area to explore. Be sure to stop off at the legendary Folie Douce on you last run of the day for wildest afternoon parties, just make you’re in a fit state to ski back to town. The resort centre itself is small but lively with a good choice of bars and restaurants.

Recommended for eating

The Frog –  highest pub in Europe – great for cheap pub grub eats and early evening après drinks.

Johns American (or they have a separate Scandinavian restaurant) – best burgers in VT along with tasty Tex-Mex and BBQ options.

Jean Sulpice – Michelin star restaurant fine dining with fantastic panoramic views.

Recommended for après

Folie Douce – dance on tables in your ski boots whilst having champagne squirted over you.

Malaysia – carry on the party in to the early hours.

Avoriaz, France

A purpose built pedestrianised ski resort on the Portes du Soleil range. Avoriaz is a much quieter but in a much better position than Morzine which sits at the bottom of the mountain. From Avoriaz you have much easier access to the larger ski area, you can ski to Switzerland whereas, in my opinion the Morzine side of the mountain more limited. If you’re in to your park riding be sure to check out ‘The Stash’, a 100% natural snow park developed Jake Burton himself. There is also a ‘Mini Stash’ for the kids, and us grown up too. Avoriaz is more of a family resort, if you’re wanting to be part of the party scene then Morzine may be more suited to you. Having said that, there are still a couple of bars that get a bit lively in the evening

Recommended for eating

La Chapca – simple, good value and friendly service.

La Taniere – large varied menu with everything from pizza to traditional raclette. Be warned this place does get busy.

Recommended for après

Le Globe Trotters – ideal stop off on you’re way back from the mountain to your digs.

Le Yak – Avoriaz’s only night club.

Sauze d’Olux, Italy

Sauze is one of the larger, more popular resorts on the Milky Way range that covers both Italy and France. The resort is nestled between larch tree forests with many of the best runs winding through the trees back to the town. It’s a red run paradise, making it ideal for rookies progressing off the blue runs but tasty enough to keep the more exspeienced skier happy. Sauze d’Oulx, Sestriere (Olympic village) and San Sicario were all part of the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. If the conditions are good and you’re feeling brave head over to Sestriere where you can ski the Olympic downhill and super-g. Being in Italy the food in town is generally of a good standard and surprisingly reasonably priced. The apres is a quite or as lively as you want to make it, with most bars hosting happy hours.

Recommended for eating

Old Inn – Italian BBQ at it’s best cooked in front of you on an enormous grill.

Ristorante Assietta – Super tasty pizza’s.

Sugo’s – Traditional Italian pasta dishes.

Recommended for après

Derby Bar – busy during happy hour. Comfortable sofas to chill and watch skiing on the TV.

Il Lampione – wine bar and music.

Other places to consider

Tignes, France – High, fairly snow sure and big ski area.

Soll, Austria – biggest ski area in Austria with a good après scene.

Pas De La Casa, Andorra – tax free and friendly on the pocket.

Are you planning a ski trip soon? I’m off to Les Arcs in France on the 4th February.

Have you read my other  Winter Series posts?


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