5 Reasons For A Ski Trip To Europe!

The glitz, glamour and après ski of the Alps is calling. And some of the great ski destinations of the world are calling – Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, and more.Rossütte mit Blick auf Seefeld- copyright Olympiaregion SeefeldOlympiaregion Seefeld

A European Ski Vacation is as much about experiencing culture, history and alpine scenery as it is about skiing. The full European alpine experience is hard to beat – après ski thermal baths to soothe sore muscles; Italian cappuccino in Italy (after skiing in from Switzerland); drinking beer in Munich after a day of skiing on nearby mountains. A European ski vacation offers a unique experience on another continent with different cultures —and world class skiing!

Here’s 5 points to ponder if you are thinking it’s time for a ski trip to Europe:

  1. Why Europe?

Why not? If you haven’t been to Europe, you have to go (ski season or any season). Almost everything is different – language, cuisine, money, electrical outlets, time zone. And now add the ski specific differences in Europe – over 4,000 ski areas; huge terrain; great snow; incredible lift systems and super long top-to-bottom runs.

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  1. When To Go?

Generally speaking, most mountains in Europe open at the end of November and close mid to late April, with a few exceptions.

January tends to hold the best deals for European ski resorts and is less busy than peak holiday times. Most resorts are quiet and more peaceful. Fewer skiers on the slopes means that there are of course shorter lift lines! Prices can be almost double at peak times such as Christmas and New Year, and during the school holidays of Christmas, Easter, and particularly February Reading Week.

If you are going on your skiing holiday during late March-April (with longer and sunnier days), you’ll greatly reduce the risk of poor skiing conditions by skiing at a resort with a higher altitude. Val Thorens, France; Zermatt, Switzerland; Livigno, Italy all fit the bill. As a glacier, Zugspitze is skiable from early autumn until late spring, the highest (2,100m) and most snow-sure mountain in Bavaria, and just 90km from Munich.

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  1. Where To Stay?

Choices for accommodation range from traditional Alpine chalets and guestrooms in charming historic hotels to fully equipped apartments. Deluxe and moderate accommodations are available at most ski resorts in Europe. Austria and Italy are known in particular for their great value. If you’re after luxury, there’s no shortage of first-class transportation, five-star boutique hotels and world-class experiences! A few top Europe luxury ski resorts include Courchevel, France; St. Moritz, Switzerland and Cortina,Italy.

Modern ski resorts, (purpose-built ski resorts) are of course perfect for skiers and boarders. Purpose-built ski resorts are situated at higher elevations and have consistent snow conditions. They offer ski in, ski out and true slope side lodging. Think Val D’isère, and Les Trois Vallées, France.

Historic Alpine villages provide both true alpine ambiance and the quintessential Europe experience with skiing. Walk cobblestone streets; eat traditional local cuisine and stay in centuries old chalets. The nearby slopes are typically a short shuttle, train or cable-car ride away. Think Zermatt, Switzerland; Chamonix, France; and St. Anton, Austria.

  1. What To Do? (When You Are Not Skiing)

Many European resorts offer spas, boutiques, bars, restaurants and other off-mountain activities. Resorts near major cities offer city shopping, dining and sightseeing—perfect for a day away from the slopes. For example, skiers in Seefeld, Austria can take a quick 20 minute train ride down the mountain to Innsbruck. Or do it in reverse- stay in the city and travel to the slopes. Munich can be a perfect springboard to the nearby mountains of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Nearby Wallberg or Alpspitze are great options too. You can ride all day, and then enjoy the city of Munich by night.

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  1. Ski Terrain, Passes and Guides

Europe is home to thousands of miles of groomed and off-piste terrain, and several resorts are interconnected by lifts and trails. A multi-resort ski pass like the Dolomiti Superski Pass offers 700 miles of Italian Alpine terrain spread over a dozen resorts. The world’s largest ski area, Les Trois Vallees in France, includes Meribel, Courchevel, Val Thorens and 5 more resorts. The Milky Way Ski Area straddles France and Italy and offers the opportunity to ski across actual country borders (and have a croissant in France or espresso in Italy).

A local ski guide is also worth your consideration. An experienced local can take you through little known ski terrain and has the inside scoop on lunch spots for locals and après parties. A ski guide in Europe packs a ton of value and can go for as little as 250 euros per day.

And at the end of your European ski holiday, you can still have more Europe! Add on a trip extension to an iconic city like Paris, Berlin and Rome, rich in history and culture. Europe anyone?


Ski and Travel…

I’m a big fan of night skiing. When I was a kid, I was a member at a little ski hill called “Uplands”. I would walk over to the hill after school and ski into the night. I remember that each of 4 runs had one light on it near the top. It was primitive but it was the only way to ski during the week.

Fast forward a bunch of years. Instead of school, I’m at the office staring at my ultra-cool Rule#5 Snow Messenger Bag and thinking of skiing. The bag is made of waterproofed nylon with snow crystal print and ski runs named in the lining. It holds my laptop and and tech gadgets to and from work. I pack up and get ready for a quick after work trip to the ski hill. I still can’t wait to go night skiing!

My lifestyle involves travel and skiing in large doses. It’s what I work for. I love to travel and love to ski. Lifestyle products keep me thinking about “apres work” and keep me motivated. Besides the Snow Messenger Bag, Rule#5 has a Backpack, Slim Wallet, Dopp Kit and Regular Wallet under there ski inspired collection. Travelling with frequency seems glamorous but it’s not. Long days, flight delays, long transfers -fun!… The travel part of my life is easier to coordinate and plan with functional products like this. Check it out!

Where to Go in Lake Tahoe When You’re Not Skiing

Lake Tahoe, the cobalt blue lake where California and Nevada meet, boasts a reputation as the ultimate skiing destination for travelers seeking mountainside luxury and rugged adventure. This winter, Tahoe has experienced record snowfall fairly earlyin the season, so visitors looking to plan a trip should act fast, as local resorts will get quickly booked! And while Tahoe is primarily known as a skier’s paradise, with resorts like Sugar Bowl Resort and the upscale Northstar California Resort standing out as popular destinations, there are plenty of options beyond the slopes. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite things to do before or after a day of skiing — or for travelers who would rather take in the scenery than speed down a mountain.

Foodie-Friendly Dining

The Ritz-Carlton’s restaurant, Manzanita, is particularly popular for its refined dishes all made with local ingredients, along with a wine list featuring many Northern California favorites. For a more intimate experience, visitors should check out Cafe Fiore, consisting of seven tables in a tiny alpine cabin. Cafe Fiore is known for its hearty Italian fare, with its house special, scallops and other seafood sauteed in lemon and wine tossed with linguine, a particular standout.

Health-conscious travelers should make a point to stop by Sprouts Cafe, a natural foods cafe established way back in 1990. It’s informal atmosphere is family-friendly, with books and games for kids are scattered about. Another great casual option isBasecamp Pizza Co., which offers hearty fare, including pizzas laden with ingredients ranging from bbq chicken to crisp vegetables. The vibe is laid-back but lively, with a happy hour every day and live music every night.

Daytrip to Truckee, CA

Visitors should trek up to the north shore of the Lake and make a stop in the charming old railroad town of Truckee, CA, now an upscale, hippie town  with a bustling nightlife. The crown jewel is Moody’s Bistro Bar and Beats, tucked into the Victorian-era Truckee Hotel. A hip bar and live music (including past visits by regular Paul McCartney) will make for a lively night on the town. Those interested in a down-to-earth “dive” should stop by the Tourist Club, one of the oldest bars in town and somewhere a party is always happening.

High-Rolling in South Lake Tahoe

Those wishing to get a taste of Vegas-like activities should check out South Lake Tahoe, across the Nevada state line, where a small strip of casinos sits alongside the lake. Harvey’s, which is right along the lake, is known for its old-school atmosphere.  Just down the street is the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, which offers, in addition to its casino, three restaurants and two bars and lounges. The MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa is known for its nightlife, as its Opal Ultra Lounge is the place to go for a wild night out. (It’s a favorite of bachelorette parties!) For affordable lodgings in the area, consider the Holiday Inn Express South Tahoe, which is located near the main casino strip and also features a relaxing sauna.

Bustling Galleries for Art Lovers

Art fans should make sure to check out some of the galleries in the Tahoe area, which specialize in various styles of art, from painting to sculpture to glasswork and photography. A long-time favorite is Gallery Keoki, specializing in fine art photography and even offering the service of creating custom fine art installations for homes and office spaces. The James Harold Galleries has a large and varied collection of paintings and sculpture, all by new and known names in contemporary art. To take a piece of Tahoe home, visitors should definitely stop by the Jon Paul Gallery, which specializes in photographic artworks depicting the majestic natural beauty of Tahoe. Photographer Jon Paul even offers workshops for aspiring photographers, hinging on his philosophy of “bringing the fine art of nature home.”


This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on January 28, 2016.