Skiing in the Alps is great – no doubt about it. However, outside of the Alps, there are numerous ski areas in Europe and all over the world that are absolutely worth visiting for a ski holiday. SnowTrex presents 5 extraordinary ski areas outside of the Alps.
Small country, big ski area. Whoever goes on a ski holiday to Andorra will be delighted by the Grandvalira ski area and the two traditional ski resorts of Soldeu and Pas de la Casa. In this ski area in the middle of the Pyrenees, winter sports fans can look forward to around 210 kilometres of pistes between 1,710 and 2,640 metres altitude. This makes the ski area the largest in Europe outside of the Alps! The resorts themselves have offers for families and après ski lovers alike. They are characterised by chalet-style houses with wooden roofs and stone walls. Similar to Bulgaria, Andorra is also a bit easier on the wallet, as Andorra charges very little tax compared to the rest of Europe.
The Whistler-Blackcomb ski area is the largest interconnected ski area in North America. Up until 2010, the ski area was relatively unknown internationally. Since becoming the venue for the Olympic Alpine skiing competitions, more and more winter sports fans from all over the world are discovering it for themselves. It’s no wonder, as the ski area northeast of Vancouver offers a total of around 200 kilometres of pistes and peaks of up to 2,283 metres. Since the area also includes a glacier, skiers and snowboarders don’t have to worry about having enough snow. You can ski down the pistes until springtime! Both beginners and advanced skiers will find something for themselves. Families with children in particular will appreciate the several large children’s parks, where even the smallest skiers can practice their first moves on the snow. Those who prefer to stay off the groomed slopes will not be disappointed either in the Whistler-Blackcomb ski area: the opportunity for freeriding is fully available here.
In the Swedish ski area of Idre Fjäll, winter sports fans can always ski on the sunny side – the area has pistes running in all four directions. With around 40 kilometres of pistes and an altitude of up to 890 metres, this ski area in the Swedish province of Dalarnas Iän is particularly popular with families with children. Most of the pistes are of easy and medium difficulty. Only the “Chocken” (shock), “Toker” (the madman) and “Ravinen” (the gorge) runs should not be attempted by beginners. The Chocken piste, for example, has a 45 degree incline. Winter sports fans should be just as advanced when they practise their jumps in the fun park in Idre Fjäll. The Idre Fjäll ski area also has a celebrity factor: the official training centre for the Swedish national cross-country skiing team is located here.
Fancy one of the most southern ski areas in Europe? Then head to the Pamporovo ski area in the south of Bulgaria! Here, the weather is mild, but still snowy, so even those who are sensitive to the cold will get their money’s worth when visiting. The Pamporovo ski area offers 37 km of well-groomed pistes at an altitude of up to 1,925 metres. The views of the Rhodope Mountains are particularly impressive, which makes winter sports twice as fun. Furthermore, if you’re looking for relaxation in the evening, Pamporovo is also the right place for you. The cosy mountain village offers various restaurants and places to go out. The village and ski area are also highly recommended in terms of cost, unlike many tourist hotspots in the Alps.
Špindlerův Mlýn (Spindler’s Mill)/Czech Republic
In Špindlerův Mlýn (Spindler’s Mill) in the Czech Republic, winter sports fans can look forward to the Spindleruv Mlyn ski area with a total of around 24 km of pistes. It consists of the two ski areas Medvedín and Svatý Petr, which are connected by a ski bus. For families with children, the Medvedín area, with its numerous easy slopes, is particularly recommended. There is also a fun park where freestylers can let off steam. In the Svatý Petr area, there are also challenging red and black slopes where advanced and ambitious skiers and snowboarders can practice and hone their skills. The resort of Špindlerův Mlýn itself has a truly special atmosphere, as the Elbe, which has its source only a few kilometres away, flows right through it.