By Tim Baker
Weekend getaways are invaluable for how they refresh your attitude to life and invigorate your soul. No wonder hundreds of British snow seekers escape every weekend over the winter. It won’t matter whatever the weather. Just being in the brisk mountain air is a wakeup call. Some resorts are obviously more popular than others and the British have their preferences for good reason.
Any weekend adventure is going to be full on action from the time you can leave work until you slink back a few days later. You need easy and slick connections to get on to the slopes a.s.a.p. This means the most popular countries for weekend getaways from the U.K. are France, Austria and Italy in that order. All of the resorts below can be accessed easily from hub airports within one or two hours by car, bus, or train or minutes by helicopter. You might like to check here for more information on resorts high in the Alps that guarantee good snow cover, charming villages with fun après ski and excellent places to stay, while the ones with lower altitudes are more mid season dependant.
Chamonix is a well deserved favourite resort to choose with its pride of place under towering Mont Blanc. It has plentiful ski runs, authentic village life, and great après ski entertainment. You can get to Chamonix from Geneva easily. As for the skiing everything is in Chamonix from beginner slopes to black run drop offs. Some are worth it just for the view.
Morzine is also a short drive from Geneva with plenty of transport options. Morzine is a traditional Savoyard mountain village that has embraced the winter ski life. Set smack bang in the centre of the Port du Soleil ski area there are plenty of runs to explore. You could even ski to Switzerland.
St Anton. Fly into Innsbruck and within an hour or so you are in St Anton am Alberg surrounded by Tyrolean delights. There are more than enough runs to suit every level of skier and enough après ski activities to pack a whole lot of fun into a couple of action packed days. Jagermeister in hot chocolate always helps.
Mayerhofen is also easily accessible from Innsbruck. As well as groomed runs for all, there is some excellent off piste skiing to be explored. Vans Penken Park is one of the best in the Alps for boarders and freestylers. And of course there is more than enough après ski activities to be enjoyed in the lively evening atmosphere.
Schladming is further to East, accessed by Salzburg. Again with its charming village style Schladming is the perfect place to clear your head and “Bend zee knees”. Schladming’s ski area crosses three mountains so there is more than enough choice especially for intermediate skiers. The village itself is vehicle free so you can wander to your heart’s content checking out the après ski life.
Sauze d’Oulx is easily accessed by Turin Caselle Airport. In Sauze d’Oulx you will find action from the get go, on piste and off. There are plenty of runs to check out as the resort is part of the aptly named Milky Way ski area between Italy and France. If the après ski scene is as good as usual, plentiful blue runs might be the best option for the morning after.
Courmayeur is a ritzy traffic free town not far from Chamonix and so is accessed via Geneva. The skiing can be on the tricky side so many slopes suit competent skiers looking for an edge. However if the moguls are too testing Cormayeur is a place to see and be seen. You can take some après ski time wandering along the Via Roma checking out the shops and bars.
Glenshee is worth a schuss when the season is good especially if you live in northern UK. The closest airport is Aberdeen but most people self drive to the ski field. The ski area spreads across four peaks and three valleys and in a good season there are more than enough runs to explore over a weekend. As for après ski, you can taste a dram or two in Braemar.
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These are just a few of the most popular resorts and ski areas for weekend getaways for British snow seekers. Remember, a “weekend getaway” doesn’t have to be over Saturday-Sunday anymore so consider a short midweek adventure as well. The earlier you book the better however check out late minute bookings for great package deals. Last minute snow is calling you. If you have in mind something completely different for you next winter adventure check out skiing further afield. There are longer term adventures to be had.