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Inside The Outdoors

Top Weekend Ski Resorts

23.01.2015 | Ski Hints & Tips

Fancy carving up some powder but only have a weekend to fit it in? A weekend ski holiday can be just as satisfying as a full week away but it’s important to make sure you choose the best resort to give you the most time out on the slopes.

There are a few vital things to consider when choosing which resort would be best suited to a weekend getaway:

  • Can I get there from a nearby airport? Getting to the airport can seriously eat into your time. Try to fly from regional airports such as Bristol for the south west or Birmingham for the Midlands.
  • What time are the flights? Ideally you want to fly out early in the morning and return as late in the evening as possible to allow you to be skiing on both arrival and departure days. It goes without saying, the shorter the flying times the better.
  • How long is the transfer time? You don’t want to spending most of your short weekend skiing, on a train or bus from the airport. Choosing a location which will get you to slopes in less than an hour and half is ideal.
  • Is the skiing close to the accommodation? A resort where the main skiing area is located close to the accommodation is best so you don’t waste time on the ski lifts.
  • Can I book for 2 or 3 nights instead of the usual 7? Picking a resort with more hotels and booking in the quieter months will help.
  • Is the resort quiet? If you are just going for a spot of skiing or snowboarding then a quieter resort would be ideal. One with as little queuing time as possible will get you skiing quicker. You may have to compromise if you are looking for decent après ski too.

Here are 10 of top weekend ski resorts:

Chamonix, France

Chamonix, France

1. Chamonix, France – Chamonix is probably one of the best known ski resorts in Europe and is very popular amongst skiers worldwide. The large town is full of character and is well known for its lively night life.

The resort offers some challenging runs for those more advanced skiers and has some great off piste powder as well. Chamonix is roughly 88km away from Geneva airport and also has access by train and car to Chamonix itself.

2. Megeve, France – Megeve is on a smaller scale than that of Chamonix with a low lying village and skiing up to 2350 metres. The French village offers some fantastic skiing for all abilities from long green runs right through to some good off piste skiing. Snow conditions can however be varied so its advisable to check.

The night life is quieter here than in Chamonix but there are plenty of eateries and shops to keep you occupied. Megeve is about 88km away from Geneva and can be accessed by road or public transport pretty easily.

Morzine, France

Morzine, France

3. Morzine, France – Morzine is one of 14 resorts within the Portes du Soliel ski area. This resort offers a great village feel with many hotels to choose from along with over 40 bars and restaurants. Morzine is ideal for beginners and intermediates with plenty of gentle pistes. Those who are more advanced can also enjoy some fantastic off piste skiing areas within the Portes du Soliel area itself.

Morzine is 75km away from Geneva airport and can be accessed via road if you choose to hire a car from here. Alternatively high speed trains run to either Cluses or Thonon les Bains where there are regular bus transfers to the resort.

Sauze d’Oulx, Italy

Sauze d’Oulx, Italy

4. Sauze d’Oulx, Italy – Sauze d’Oulx is a pretty lively village which is best suited to intermediates skiers. The resort is known for its good night life so is ideal if you are looking to let your hair down a bit.

Sauze d’Oulx is around 90km from Turin Caselle Airport. Public transport to the resort can be a little bit more complicated and road access is definitely a lot easier. Hiring a car would be your best bet.

Cormayeur Italy

Cormayeur Italy

5. Courmayeur, Italy – Courmayeur is a quaint traffic free town with cobbled streets and some beautiful architecture. The town centre is lined with plenty of bars and clothes shops and the night life is fairly busy here too.

The resorts ski area isn’t as high as some resorts but does offer a good snow cover due to its northern facing slopes. This resort is recommended more for the intermediate or advanced skier due to the impressive off piste.

Courmeyeur is 100km from Geneva airport or 150km from Turin Caselle airport. Trains are available from both airports to Aosta where buses run from there to the resort. The resort lies just beyond Chamonix and can be easily reached through the Mont Blanc tunnel.

6. Innsbruck, Austria – Innsbruck is a former Olympic city surrounded by nine ski resorts which are all accessible via a free shuttle bus service. Although Innsbruck itself isn’t a ski resort, it is very easy and convenient to get to. It has a small ski park 25 minutes away and has plenty of intermediate slopes scattered around it too. The centre of Innsbruck is very lively and offers up plenty of bars and restaurants. The airport is a 15 minute drive from the city centre.

7. Mayrhofen, Austria – Mayrhofen is best known for having a decent expansive terrain and a very lively atmosphere. It offers 157 km of skiable terrain which is suited to all abilities. There are plenty of brilliant untracked off piste areas to explore too. In April, the annual snowbombing festival draws hundreds of party goers to the resort. You will find Mayrhofen 65 km from Innsbruck airport. Using public transport from here will take you about an hour and you can choose to travel by train or bus.

8. Sierra Nevada, Spain –Spain may not cross your mind as a typical skiing location but the Sierra Nevada area of Spain offers some great skiing over the weekend if you’re heading out later in the ski season.

The resort has a good snow record and offers up 87 km of slopes and is ideal for the intermediate skier. On a Saturday night be sure to take full advantage of the night skiing that is available. Party goers will enjoy the lively night life.

The resort is only 45 minutes’ drive from Granada airport and if you fancy heading to the beach then you’re only an hour and a half from there too.

Verbier Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland

9. Vebier, Switzerland – Verbier is often thought of as the Swiss alternative to Chamonix, but is a little more on the pricey side. It offers some fantastic back country skiing and has some of the best free ride terrain in the Alps. Verbier has some fantastic night life and has plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. You can reach Verbier in just under two hours from Geneva airport or 45 minutes away from Sion airport.

Glenshee, Scotland

Glenshee, Scotland

10. Glenshee, Scotland – Glenshee isn’t like your typical European resort but is ideal for beginners and intermediates who want to improve. Glenshee has the largest ski lift system in the UK and the resort covers four mountains and three valleys. A café, ski hire shop and a ski school are also available.

Glenshee is very popular amongst residents of nearby Scottish towns and cities, such as Edinburgh. Glenshee is 69 miles from Aberdeen airport and 100 miles from Edinburgh airport. Public transport isn’t ideal with the nearest train station being 32 miles away in Pitlochry and no transfer service through the winter. Driving to Glenshee is often easier as it lies 9 miles south of Braemar on the A93.