Skiing in Europe
For those of you who love winter sports... The ski season has begun! Step out of your comfort zone this year and find new challenges in new places. Top quality snow, modern facilities, stunning scenery and, last but not least, a great après-ski atmosphere! Here is a selection of the best ski resorts in Europe:more info
Innsbruck – the Snow Paradise
Innsbruck is the paradise of snow-sliding sports enthusiasts. Here, one advantage is that the ski runs are just a stone’s throw from the city. Indeed, enthusiasts are treated to abundant white snow and blue skies. In other words, a dream come true for any skier, freerider, snowboarder or hiker worth their salt. The nine ski resorts in the Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck are relished by skiing enthusiasts. Here, too, lies the Kühtai ski resort which, at an altitude of 2,020 metres, is the Alpine ceiling. Fortunately, Innsbruck is not only about snow-related activities. After a day on the pistes or hiking through the mountains, there is a host of options open to you, including the Christmas markets, of which there are no fewer than six here. But, this time we’re focusing on their resorts.
The Nine Ski Resorts Around the Three-time Olympic City
Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck features a grand total of nine ski and snowboarding resorts, from family runs to pistes designated for professionals. Here you will find the right piste for you and moving between the different ski runs is facilitated by a free, eco-friendly ski bus.
This is one of the steepest pistes in Europe, with a gradient of 70%. The descent from Hafelekar to Seegrube is an experience for any adrenaline junkie. One of the features of this resort is that it is easily accessible by cableway or funicular from the city centre. At Seegrube there is also a chill-out area for those who prefer to swank around. This piste is very complete and includes a Kids Arena for the young ones. Nordketten Skylinepark also has night lighting and a 2,000-watt, surround musical system.
Located south of the city, the “gentle giant” faces the Nordkette mountain range. The runs on Mt Patscherkofel are three times Olympic (1964, 1976, 2012). Skiers can reach the pistes in comfort on the Olympia-Express and Patscherkofelbahn cableway, while freeriders will discover their own winter idyll at Snowpark Innsbruck.
Situated just 12 kilometres from Innsbruck and next door to Patscherkofel, the Glungezer ski station has pistes with panoramic views over the river Inn. It boasts the longest descent in Tyrol, stretching over 15 km. What’s more, as it lies further away from the city, it is less crowded than other spots.
The Muttereralm ski resort is ideal for the whole family and is easily accessible from both Mutters and Götzens. Its attractive, sun-drenched ski slopes provide fantastic views over the Inntal and Wipptal valleys. Here you will find MAP 6020; in other words, the longest snowpark in the Innsbruck region.
5. Rangger Köpfl
A mere 15-minute car ride from Innsbruck, the Rangger Köpfl ski station has beginner- and intermediate-level pistes. A cable car with a capacity of 8, four ski lifts and a snowpark for beginners round off the amenities for ski lovers. The Höhenweg trail also enables hikers to enjoy the restorative Alpine winter air.
6. Axamer Lizum
The Axamer Lizum ski resort stands out for the quality of its pistes. Up to 12,000 people per hour can move about it, with practically no waiting times. With its north-facing slopes, this resort is a veritable paradise of powdered snow. Those game to go there are encouraged to eat at the Hoadlhaus panoramic restaurant.
Among the highest resorts in the Alps. Far from the other, crowded stations nearer the city, Kühtai has broad pistes and a guaranteed supply of snow until well into the spring. It also has numerous ski lifts, genuine Alpine shelters and night skiing twice a week. Further, K-Park Kühtai is a thrill for freeriders, as they can ski above the treeline.
8. Schlick 2000
The Schlick 2000 resort is all the rage in Alpine sport. Here, in the Stubaital valley, you can do downhill and cross-country skiing, carving, snowboarding, sleigh-riding, as well as walk in the snow or go paragliding. In the children’s section at the Ski School Stubai, tutors take care of children from the age of 3 months.
The platform on top of the Stubai glacier affords views of a hundred and nine 3,000-metre summits, as well as over the giant glacier itself. Skiers have at their disposal 110 km of pistes and 25 ski lift systems in this, the largest glacier skiing resort in Austria, while Stubai Zoo is one of the best snowparks in Europe. The resort opens from October to June.
Further information at Innsbruck Tourismus. Why wait to discover the best snow experience on the continent? Check out our flights here.
Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
Images by Innsbruck Tourismusmore info
Five destinations to ski and do some sightseeing as well
Escape for a few days to the best ski resorts in Europe and discover some new places while you're there. There's time for everything!more info
Asturias – Your Ski Destination This Season
Two ski stations – Fuentes de Invierno and Valgrande-Pajares – promise exciting days of skiing, as well as good food in a cosy, family environment. They are ideal for families, and for those who want to get away from it all, eager to seek out tranquil, more relaxing destinations.
Fuentes de Invierno – The Last Glacier in the Cordillera
Located in the municipality of Aller, Fuentes de Invierno boasts the most up-to-date ski lifts of all stations in the Cordillera Cantábrica. It is the ideal resort for enjoying the white sport in tip-top conditions. The rugged mountain terrain, combined with small clusters of forest and cabins dotted across the lower reaches of the resort, make this diminutive skiable tract (8.7 km) one of the most picturesque spots in the Principality of Asturias.
The beginner slopes, halfway up the resort (1,650 m), and the areas of La Llomba and Entresierras for the more seasoned enthusiasts, will appeal to all skiers, whatever their level. At the end of the day, make sure you stop off at one of the villages near the resort, such as Felechosa or El Pino, where a large number of restaurants offer the finest Asturian cuisine (pote, fabada, picadillo, carnes roxas), as well as succulent dishes typical of Aller. You are certain to find game on the menu – plentiful in this part of the Montaña Central – in addition to such confectionery delicacies as cuayá or panchón.
Valgrande-Pajares, the Oldest of the Cantabrian Resorts
Inaugurated in 1954, the Lena resort of Valgrande-Pajares has had skiers on its pistes for over 60 years. It is considered one of the benchmark ski stations in the Cordillera Cantábrica. With a skiable tract of 21.5 km, it is strategically located at just over half an hour from several major cities (Oviedo, Gijón and León), and is equipped with snowmaking systems to guarantee hassle-free skiing throughout the season. The ski lifts that connect the whole resort start out from the base station (1,350 m), where all the main facilities are located.
At its highest point (1,870 m), towered over by the Cuitu Nigru,Cellón and Tres Marías peaks, you can see out across the landscape of the Cordillera Cantábrica range, and even catch a glimpse of the sea on clear days. Depending on your level of expertise, from this point you can access the beginner’s area, traverse the main axis of the resort – the Valle del Sol – or get to the crown jewel – El Tubo – the only officially sanctioned competition piste in Asturias.
Whether you’re reluctant to try out skiing, or have skied your heart out and need to regain your strength, make sure you head for the Cuitu Negro café and indulge in a veritable culinary tribute. Their tripe and the meat stew are some of the hallmarks of the house.
The ski resort’s ease of access and its accommodation capacity of 150 at the foot of the ski slopes make Pajares the perfect destination for those eager to do sport as well as spend time visiting the main cities and towns in the vicinity to enjoy other activities – cultural tours, shopping, cinema, concerts, theatre…
In short, both Valgrande-Pajares and Fuentes de Invierno are ski resorts with charm. Their friendly service and family atmosphere are paramount, and you can enjoy skiing starting at €24 – peerless prices for a winter getaway.
Here, then, is our advice, if you are undecided about where to head this winter. Check out our flights here.
Text and images by Turismo Asturias