Am I Guaranteed Snow On My European Ski Trip?
People often wonder why Brits are so fascinated by the weather. The simple answer is: because we get so much of it! When we pull open our curtains every morning, what the weather report has predicted rarely corresponds with what we see out the window. Head to some of Europe’s most popular ski resorts, though, and the climate becomes far more predictable. After all, what good is a ski resort without the white stuff?
Although there are numerous resorts which cannot guarantee snow, often relying on snow cannons to keep the slopes useable, there are a great many locations where good quality snowfall is a safe bet – if not during the ski season, then almost all year round. These lengthy seasons are mostly thanks to resorts being located at a high altitude, with access to a glacier to ski on. Such resorts include:
Val d’Isère/ Tignes, France
With 60% of its slopes at an altitude of above 2500m, the 300km of Espace Killy ski area provides some of the most reliable snow in the Alps. Val opens in late November with a season that lasts until May. Tignes opens its lifts on the Grande Motte glacier at the start of October, with the season closing in May.
Sharing its ski area with Zermatt, Cervinia is the most snow-sure location of all the major Italian resorts, with its top lifts taking you 3899m to the highest ski area in Europe. These lifts open in October and the season usually lasts until May. Cervinia is popular for its lengthy runs and is also a great location for beginners.
While there is only 100km of ski area, what Saa-Fee offers is of high quality. Most of the slopes are between 2500m and 3500m, offering one of the highest average skiing heights in the Alps. The lifts for the car-free resort open in the middle of June for summer skiing and lasts all the way past winter, staying open until the end of April.
The resort at Sölden sits at 1380m, with slopes between 1350m and 3250m in height. As a top choice for discerning skiers, the area boasts two glaciers, the Tiefenbach and Rettenbach, which make up 38km of pistes. In winter, the resort is open from mid-November and stays open until late April, while the glaciers remain open until May. In addition to 146km of varied slopes, the resort also has a reputation for its wild nightlife.
Photo source: flickr.com/photos/bjarlestam