Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice to the slopes, everyone can enjoy the winter wonderland escape of a ski holiday. Majestic mountains, snowy ski schools, hot chocolates in cosy chalets and lively après ski scenes - a ski holiday has it all, whether you want a glamorous getaway or a fun family holiday.
And with more airlines flying to ski resorts from London Stansted Airport than ever before, we’ve rounded up the closest airport to fly to if you’re hitting the ski slopes this season.
Blessed with a long and lavish snow season, it’s no surprise that Austria is known as one of the best skiing destinations in the world. The snow on the ground is generally powdery and fluffy long into springtime, and there are over 400 resorts catering to all skill levels and ages, with over 100,000 people taking to the slopes for Austria ski holidays each year.
If you’re skiing in Germany, you’ll find Kitzbühel, one of the country’s most popular ski resorts near Munich, with luxury hotels, a stunning 750-year-old city centre, a lively après ski scene set along charming cobblestone streets, and, of course, unrivalled skiing – including the most demanding route on the World Cup circuit.
Venture 60 miles south-west of Salzburg and you’ll reach Zell am See-Kaprun, which wows its guests with panoramic views of Lake Zell. The Salzburg skiing resort includes sun-blessed Schmittenhöhe, with excellent ski schools, fun slopes and snow parks for families, as well as Kitzsteinhorn - Salzburg’s only glacier ski resort, and the ultimate destination for free riders and ski tour enthusiasts.
If you want to combine picture-perfect peaks with urban energy, visit Innsbruck. The capital of Tirol has hosted the Olympics twice, and is surrounded by 13 ski resorts, each with its own personality. Collectively they’re known as Olympia Ski World, and the enormous area can all be explored with just one ticket, the Ski Plus City Pass, which also includes activities like tobogganing and bobsledding an Olympic run. Over the festive season it’s also a tourist trap for its Christmas markets in the surrounding villages.
With flights to Bergen
Claiming many ‘firsts’ when it comes to skiing as a sport (in the 1800s Norway held the first ever public skiing race in Tromsø, founded the first ski clubs in Trøndelag, and held the first ski jumping competition in Trysil), Norway can proudly call itself the home of skiing. So whether you’re looking for a romantic escape or a fun family holiday, Norway ski resorts have it all.
Known as the adrenaline capital of Norway, Voss turns into a skiing paradise during the winter months, with both alpine slopes and cross-country skiing tracks. Together, the two ski resorts of Voss Resort and Myrkdalen Mountain Resort have 70km of slopes and 20 ski lifts, and owing to the fact that Myrkdalen has the most snow in all of Europe, the off-piste terrain is unbeatable.
Situated between Bergen and Olso you’ll find Gelio, one of the biggest and most versatile ski resorts in Norway, with 45 slopes catering to beginners and advanced skiers. You need to take a train to get there, but this journey frequently features on lists of the most beautiful train rides in the world. You could even stay at Finse 1222, a hotel by the station that can only be reached by train or on foot, with otherworldly views of the surrounding wilderness in the frosty grip of winter. At the Geilo ski resort you can always ski on the sunny side, as the resort is located on both sides of the valley, with buses shuttling you back and forth.
But a skiing holiday is about more than just flying down the slopes - strap on cross country skis to explore more of this stunning land, or join in activities, like a ‘fat bike’ adventure (it’s like mountain biking in the snow), snowmobiling, a toboggan run, or sledging at Dagali Fjellpark.
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With flights to Bolzano
For stunning scenery and a taste of la dolce vita, take a trip to Italy’s Dolomites, for some of the best skiing, food and wine in the Alps. In fact, Dolomites ski holidays are so impressive that they draw in lots of visitors from neighbouring Switzerland and Austria, which is a high compliment considering their own respective skiing credentials.
The Dolomites has also been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the distinctive rocky mountain landscapes make it easy to see why this place is known for its breathtaking natural beauty. People flock here for the skiing and snowboarding, but also for its wonderful foodie scene, and you’ll see its passion for the good life everywhere, from its low-end rustic eateries and street food to its Michelin-starred restaurants.
A couple of hours east of Bolzano (Bozen) Airport is Cortina d’Ampezzo, a historic town known as the ‘Queen of the Dolomites’. It’s part of the massive Dolomiti Superski, connecting skiers and riders to nearly 750 miles of slopes, and while it’s home to some supremely luxurious ski resorts, it’s also managed to hold on to a low-key and relaxed vibe. The 1956 Olympics were held here, and it will once again host the games in 2026. Yet this place might be better known for a fictional ski visit by the one and only James Bond, driving his winter-equipped white Lotus Espirit Turbo through the snow in The Spy Who Loved Me…
Thrill-seekers might like to head to Bormio, a medieval mountain village in northern Italy. It’s known for its high-altitude activities and super-technical World Cup ski course, the Stelvio, and also lays claim to the greatest skiable vertical drop in Italy, with lifts that whisk skiers up 5,905 feet. Or perhaps visit Livingo, where the Mottolino Snowpark is a go-to destination for freestyle skiing and snowboarding, with everything from modest beginners’ rails to mighty jumps open only to the pros.
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In the film version of these destinations, the French and Swiss Alps would be a sell-out blockbuster, with cinematic mountainscapes of glistening snow cascading from chiselled peaks, and picture-book forests, chic chalets and bustling bars and restaurants where people are feasting on fondue, drinking hot chocolate and sipping champagne. While part of the holiday pull may be joining the merry mayhem of fellow snow skiing enthusiasts, if you’re seeking a quieter winter escape then avoid peak season at Christmas and February school holidays, when accommodation and transport prices skyrocket.
Fly to Chambery to visit Val d'Isère. It’s considered to be a skier’s paradise, and while it’s known for its snow-sure slopes, it’s also the largest artificial snow-making plant in Europe - so if the weather doesn’t deliver, the region has a foolproof backup. This mega resort is also known as a hotspot for its après ski scene, with multiple uber-cool bars and restaurants featuring expansive terraces for DJ sets. For a more rustic skiing experience, head to Châtel, which straddles the border between France and Switzerland, making it easy to reach from both Chambery and Geneva airports. The village is a working farming community and bursting with charm and alpine authenticity, and the terrain is ideal for beginner and intermediate skiers.
And of course, there’s St. Moritz - the oldest winter holiday resort in the world, and the celebrity of the Swiss ski slopes, within easy reach of Bolzano (Bozen) Airport. Here, the combination of the almost-eternal sunshine (the sun shines 322 days a year) and dry air has led people to refer to the St Moritz weather as a “champagne climate” - which may be one of the reasons, along with the endless luxury hotels, restaurants and off-piste slopes, that the region attracts the rich and famous, and those wanting to live the winter high life.