Top European Ski Resorts To Avoid The Crowds
Booking a quiet ski holiday is getting more difficult every year as skiing is becoming more popular. So, if you're heading to Europe this season and are wanting to avoid the crowds, then look no further than our list of the top European ski resorts that will help you do just that! From small and quirky to some of the largest in Europe with spectacular views, this list has it all.
Les Menuires, France
Photo Credit: Florian Pépellin
The easy-going cousin of Meribel and Courcheval in The Three Valleys area, Les Menuires is a cluster of 60s hotels and more attractive modern chalets. There is a fairly limited choice when it comes to après but for those who prefer a quiet soak in the hot tub after a long day, it is practically perfect. The ski area has a vast 160km of gentle slopes for beginners or those looking to relax while the Three Valleys area has more challenging and varied terrain.
Photo Credit: F. Ceragioli
Sestriere, while seemingly quiet, is a very popular ski resort in the heart of the Via Lattea (Milky Way), high in Italy’s western Alps. It offers access to a whopping 400km of trails which helps to dilute any crowds during potentially busier periods. If you are planning a ski trip with the family during February half term it’s worth remembering that Italian schools don’t take time off in February so will be considerably quieter than French resorts. Do check their events calendar before you book though as Sestriere is often host to key events in the snowsports calendar so you’ll probably want to avoid these times.
Photo Credit: Jean & Nathalie
Fieberbrunn in Tyrol is a hotspot for the freeride scene whether you’re just starting out or looking to improve your skills. There is also a fantastic ski area for families and plenty of winter hiking and tobogganing to be enjoyed. Before you book anything do be sure to check their events calendar as they are often hosts to the Freeride World Tour, as well as other events, which would undoubtedly increase the number of visitors to the area.
Photo Credit: Dave Usher
For those on a budget looking for uncrowded ski slopes, Pamporovo, in the Rhodope Mountains, offers 55kms of piste as well as 38km of cross-country ski tracks served by 18 lifts. While they average about 150 days of snowfall each year winters here can be relatively mild. The resort often has 120 (or more) sunny days between December and May which should equate to at least a couple of bluebird days in any given week.
Photo Credit: W. Bulach
Located in the heart of central Switzerland, Melchsee-Frutt is the perfect ski destination for beginners, experts and families alike. With 16 lifts linking around 36km of slopes, it offers a range of sunny slopes from gentle hills to more demanding steep slopes for expert skiers. Fruttpark is great for freestylers, offering rails, kickers and boxes while Fruttli-Land is fun for the kids, featuring a magic carpet and carousel, keeping them entertained throughout their stay. The Hotel frutt Lodge & Spa is the perfect place to wind down after a long day, relax in the sauna or have a quiet drink from their award-winning wine list in the bar area. As always it’s a good idea to make a note of their events in order to avoid larger crowds.
Photo Credit: Dokaspar
Geilo (pronounced Yay-low), is situated in the valley of Hallingdal, Norway. It is one of Norway’s largest ski resorts, ideal for beginners and families and offers an award-winning ski school perfect for first-timers. Although not aimed at the more advanced skiers, there are still a few steep runs for those who are looking for something a little trickier. The après scene is fairly quiet so it is unlikely you will be disturbed by rowdy party-goers but there’s still the option for a few, perhaps more civilised, drinks in the evening in the bars situated around the village.
Photo Credit: Graham Maclachlan
The Garmisch-Classic ski area interlinks the Hausberg, Alpspitze and Kreuzeck mountains which together provide 40km of pistes. With a variety of slopes from gentle hills to more extreme ones, this resort caters to all whether beginners or experts. Families are also welcome and the kids can learn the basics at Kinderland which includes a magic carpet and slopes from easy to medium difficulty. There are 2 separate ski areas which helps to reduce crowding on the slopes, however, as they often host major sporting events, it is always a good idea to keep up to date with their events schedule to avoid busier times.
Photo Credit: Terence Wiki
Arinsal is located in a steep valley in the north western mountains of Andorra. With a range of slopes Arinsal is perfect for first-timers as well as the more experienced skiers. With free lift passes for kids under 12yrs and a ski school, Arinsal is also the ideal destination for families looking to improve their skills or perhaps learning to ski for the first time. Accommodation ranges from luxurious hotels to cheaper alternatives such as apartments, all situated close to popular bars and restaurants in the area. The neighbouring village of La Massana offers a relaxed atmosphere and a variety of restaurants to choose from after a fun day on the slopes.
Photo Credit: Böhringer Friedrich
Malbun is the only ski resort located in Liechtenstein. It has 7 lifts leading to 23km of pistes, ideal for the whole family whether beginners or experts. Malbun also offers a small fun park which is perfect for freestyle skiers and snowboarders alike. Despite Malbun being relatively small, the resort offers uncrowded slopes and a friendly atmosphere. Small and quirky, it is a brilliant destination if you’re looking for somewhere a little different to your usual ski resort.
Photo Credit: Ninara
Saariselka is the northernmost ski resort in Finland, located in the north of Lapland. It offers a range of pistes suitable for all abilities from beginners to experts, all linked with 6 lifts. Saariselka offers an array of fun activities for all the family including tobogganing down the slopes, illuminated with light art along the way and is renowned for its excellent cross-country ski trails. Here, you can also find luxurious accommodation options including glass igloos.
Known for its laidback atmosphere and excellent après scene, you can choose between a lively night out or a cosy relaxing evening watching the northern lights from the comfort of your own bed. Again, to avoid busy times, it’s wise to make a note of their upcoming events.
Photo Credit: Dmitriy Karfagenskiy
With 89 slopes and an 890m vertical, Åre is Skandinavia’s biggest ski resort. 42 lifts link slopes ranged from extremely easy to difficult which makes this resort one for everyone no matter their skill level. The Skistar snow park offers a blue, red and black line along with many jumps and rails for freestylers while the quiet slopes of Björnen include green jumps and terrain courses for beginners looking to improve their skills.