It’s difficult to imagine an Alpine ski resort that isn’t beautiful. Even without the usual charm of the resorts, the mountain scenery is guaranteed to be stunning. Some resorts, though, have that little bit extra. The style of the buildings and the views of the surroundings have a lot to do with it, but some things are less tangible. A great ski resort has an atmosphere and personality that’s like no other, and skiers who fall under its spell will return again and again.
Here are just a few of the most beautiful;
Nowhere does beautiful ski resorts
quite like the Tyrol region of Austria. As if the picturesque mountains weren’t enough, the Tyrol has an old-world charm, typified in Kitzbühel by its quaint buildings, cobbled streets and traditional cuisine. As far as skiing goes, Kitzbühel is the premier location for racing, featuring the world-famous Hahnenkamm race every January. The racers tackle the Streif, a precipitous ice-slope that’s 40.4 degrees at its steepest. The race briefly transforms the resort into a wild party town, before it returns to its usual Tyrolean charm.
Familiar from the video to Wham!’s 1984 hit Last Christmas, Saas-Fee is a lovely Swiss village of Alpine chalets
and traditional granaries surrounded by stunning glaciers and no less than 13 peaks above 4,000 metres. The ski runs are mainly intermediate, but the glacial landscape keeps them interesting. To get the most out of Saas-Fee’s breathtaking mountainscapes, you can visit either the Britannia Hutte, a favourite with climbers, or the top of the Mittelallalin funicular — at 3,500 metres, the world’s highest revolving restaurant.
Popular with British tourists since the early years of the 20th century, Morzine forms the centre of the vast Portes du Soleil ski area
that straddles the border between France and Switzerland. Surrounded by mountains and lakes, Morzine is a charming Alpine town, substantial enough to have its own life besides serving the skiers who flock there. The slopes cater for all levels of skill, and there’s plenty of alternative activities, both in the town and up on the mountains, from snowshoeing and ice-diving to shopping and excellent après-ski.
Nestling above the Trentino Valley, Folgaria
is a quintessentially Italian village, its centre pedestrianised to allow carefree wandering among its shops and bars. It’s surrounded by tree-lined slopes that form an expansive ski area. Whether you’re taking advantage of the wide range of slopes on offer, exploring the historic, atmospheric village, or enjoying the varied après-ski, Folgaria shows what the often-overlooked Italian Alps have to offer.