To mark Mountain Day, we’ve taken a look at some of Europe’s most attractive running routes, of which they are plenty! Here are just a shortlist of five, including some slopes in some countries you might not associate with ski!
1. Villars, Switzerland
Distance from Geneva Airport: 2 hours (74 miles)
The Villars resort is one of the most sophisticated in the whole of Europe. Surrounded by beautiful mountains that border the north-west side of the Alps, the slopes here have proven to be highly popular with tourists.
With its variety of slopes, Villars is an excellent option for groups of varying abilities. So, whether you are a newcomer to skiing or a seasoned veteran, there will always be things to do. Away from the runs, you can explore the delightful local village where there are many extraordinary restaurants, stunning chalets and impressive hotels.
The resort is part of the Aples Vaudoises area and offers access to 220km of downhill skiing, including 121 individual pistes. Travel around the resort is done through a ski lift pass, which will enable people to visit the local resorts of Les Diablerets and Leysin.
The resort is only 90 minutes away from Geneva airport by train and there are accessible roads nearby to make it even easier to reach.
2. Chamonix, France
Distance from Geneva Airport: 1 hour, 20 minutes (61 miles)
The Chamonix valley sits on the border of France, Switzerland and Italy. It is an enormous resort with ten ski areas for tourists to explore that offer slopes designed for experienced riders and newcomers alike.
These are: Grand Motets, Brevent-Flegere, Ealme Vallorcine, Les Houches, Planards, Vormaine, Savoy, Tourchet, Poya, Chosalets. With beginner, intermediate and expert slopes at the resort coupled with magical views of the French mountains, Charmonix is one of the most visually pleasing resorts in Europe.
Each of these areas offer their own unique attractions, with Grand Motets featuring a freestyle park and three individual slopes. Elsewhere, the Balme Vallorcine ski area provides great runs on two mountains on the border to Switzerland.
As well as this, there is a ski school at the resort, offering a great way for newcomers to start one of the most exciting sports in the world in a magical environment.
3. Campo Imperatore, Rome
Distance from Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport: 3 hours (116 miles)
Campo Imperatore is one of the top skiing resorts in Europe, boasting around 350 metres of vertical slopes. With five pistes and over 20 km of runs, the mountain is a great option for intermediate skiers, while there is also a ski park for snowboarders to explore.
During the summer months, Campo Imperatore’s change in climate also makes it an excellent hiking option and allows travellers to take advantage of some truly jaw-dropping views. Situated within the mountains of Abruzzo, Campo Imperatore enjoys heavy lasting snowfall and runs for cross-country and downhill skiing. Terrain is also in a range of ruggedness, making for some beautiful settings for skiers.
Located around two hours away from Rome, there is always the option to incorporate an exciting city break as part of your time away. A few days on the slopes and a tour of one of the most romantic destinations in the world? Who could resist?
Thanks to the introduction of a better transport network, skiers will be able to access the different resorts with ease. The motorway network ensures that the pistes can be reached by cars and the resort has its own rail station.
4. Vodafone Ski Resort, Serra de Estrela, Portugal
Distance from Faro Airport: 4 hours, 30 minutes (330 miles)
The Serra de Estrella resort in Portugal is one of the top spots for skiing across Europe. The resort was initially introduced in the early 1950s and is now packed with modern facilities, including lifts to all nine of the runs on the site.
To help visitors get around the beautiful site there are four ski lifts and the vertical drop is 130 metres at its highest point. Based almost 2000 metres above sea level, the resort is at the top of the country but remains easily accessible for tourists.
As well as providing some of the country’s best runs, the neighbouring scenery is outstanding, allowing skiers to view the nation’s exceptional landscape and take stunning postcard-worthy photos.
The resort has become an extremely popular option for tourists and the laid-back attitude of locals makes it an excellent holiday destination for families, couples and single travellers alike.
5. Troodos resort, Cyprus
Distance from Larnaca International Airport: 1 hour, 30 minutes (68 miles)
Cyprus is ordinarily known as a great beach holiday destination, but many people are not aware of its appeal as a skiing destination. The island offers the extraordinary mix of high quality skiing facilities and delightful summer weather.
The top resort in the country is Troodos, which is right in the middle of the island. At just under 200m, the resort collects enough snow between December and March in order to be suitable for skiing.
The resort is roughly an hour away from Nicosia and Limassol, making it easily accessible for visitors. In fact, you could visit for the afternoon and then relax on the beach, offering the best of both winter and summer holidays.