If you've experienced the thrill of skiing down a deserted double black diamond piste, with the wind in your hair, the sun on your back and an endless expanse of 'big white' stretching out before you - congratulations, you're officially a ski freak! Only those with a true passion for skiing can understand the addiction of pitting oneself against a mighty mountain and coming out victorious. But here's the thing about addiction... we'll always be looking for something more. |
If you're after a new challenge, or perhaps coming back for a rematch, these top ski resorts in Europe are some of the best for advanced skiers.
Italy - Sauze d'Oulx
Sauze d'Oulx not only makes claims (and delivers) on fantastic opportunities for expert skiers, they also claim to have invented the sport! The resort is built into a steep hillside in the famed Via di Latte (Milky Way) ski region, which encompasses over 400km of pistes. In the immediate Sauze resort there are five black pistes, with a combined length of 20km, along with 34 reds taking in 60km. There's also some fabulous advanced off-piste action to be found amongst the larch-lined runs and powder bowls coming down from Fratieve - that's a whole lot of adrenaline infused fun right there!
The resort sits at an elevation of 1510m, with the highest lift ascending to 2800m, offering excellent high-altitude skiing and snow-sureness. And if you're wondering about the après-ski - it's renowned as one of the most energetic scenes in Italy, so you can ski hard and play hard. Bellisimo!
Austria – Schmittenhöhe - Zell am See
With 25km of black pistes, jaw-jarring mogul slopes, multiple free ride and deep snow areas, and the enigmatic snow covered slopes of the 2,000m Schmittenhöhe glinting in the winter sun, Zell am See is pretty irresistible to skiers who thrive on adrenaline – and who have the skills to back it up.
The elephant in the room is the extraordinary Trass run, one of the steepest in the Salzburg region, which drops 900m (70%) in just four heart-thumping kilometres. Accept the challenge if you dare, but be prepared for the burn (and always keep abreast of avalanche warnings)! With a total of 77kms of pistes and 24 lifts, Zell am See has the feeling of a more intimate resort, and is exceptionally well facilitated.
When you come off the slopes, if you have the energy left you can give your legs the wobbles in a different (and very Austrian) way with some fun in one of the legendary schnapps huts. Prost!
France – Courchevel
The ultimate French resort on any serious skier's hit list, Courchevel, in the famous Trois Vallees (Three Valleys), is part of the largest interconnected ski region in the world, which also includes Val Thorens, Meribel and Les Menuires. And for that title you'll have access to 30 monster black runs and 111 reds, for when you need a little rest!
Courchevel is the favourite for advanced skiers in the Trois Vallees, with a vast network of high altitude blacks at 2,000-2,700m. You're in the Alps and up there practically floating on a cloud, so the views are always impressive, but the black run heading down towards Le Praz is nothing short of breathtaking – in more ways than one! If you like the idea of taking a tumble on a black and tangling skis with a star, you're in luck as Courchevel is also a favourite A-list celebrity resort. So that dream of becoming the next Mr Winslet or Mrs Clooney still holds out a glimmer of hope…
If this season's ski holiday is still just a dream in your head or a hope in your heart, why not up the odds of getting out there on the slopes – for free! Travel Club Elite have a fantastic competition running, with the first prize of a one-week holiday for two in your choice of European ski resorts! All you'll need to fork out for is an annual holiday insurance policy (because now you'll be going twice, right?), and you could be whizzing down the slopes in France, Spain, Andorra, Austria, Italy or Bulgaria for absolutely nothing.
What have you got to lose? Kate and George are probably planning their winter break right now…
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip and annual holiday insurance policies. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.
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