I've said elsewhere on this site that I love skiing and even met my wife on a ski trip.
Well, here is a section for some of the places I've visited for skiing trips.
Initially, these pages will mainly contain photos. I will add links and commentary as I
Most of my skiing these days is done through
Gold Hill Holidays and indeed, I help lead
for them as well.
Nearly all of my skiing has been done in Switzerland. It is the home of tourism as invented by the Victorians. Swiss ski resorts may not be the largest and you may need to travel for some time each day to get to the slopes but the scenery is second to none! The resorts are clean, resonably well run and friendly and they don't tend to get too crowded.
By the way, many people think that Switzerland is very expensive - it's not! It is generally no more expensive than skiing in France and though the ski areas may not be quite as large, they tend not to suffer from the terrible queues that France does. Even when you are in a queue, it is a rather more genial affair with much less pushing and shoving. Oh, and by the way, the petrol is still cheaper than the UK (up to 2004 at least when I last updated this).
Here are some of the areas in Switzerland I've skied:
Grindelwald, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Mürren
This is the area I've most visited over the years and is where I learned to ski. I doubt there is a more picturesque ski resort anywhere. See the photo's I've posted if you don't believe me! This is probably the oldest ski resort in Europe, started in Victorian times as a trendy place to be seen.
It has a friendly, family atmosphere and is fairly laid back. It is good for intermediates but not so good for absolute beginners or Pro's. It tends to suffer from a relative lack of snow sometimes as it is sandwitched between other mountain ranges. None the less, it is my favorite resort for all round enjoyment with some of the best scenery anywhere.
This great resort has only become well known in the last few years and is a favorite of the Swiss themselves. It is more like American resorts in that it is a series of open bowls and you can ski pretty much anywhere. A good place to learn off-piste skiing. Great resort and it is only an hours drive from Zürich.
Nice resort with some great skiing and at least one wonderfully long red run. Sadly, the slope is south facing so gets a bit too much sun.
- Four Valleys
If you want to sample a big resort but don't like the crowds, this one is for you.
- Saas Fee, Saas Almagell, Saas Grund
Guaranteed snow! Sadly, also guaranteed to be freezing cold as the best part of the resort is on a glacier which tops out at over 3,000m (over 10,000ft). The three resorts are well connected but it takes a long time to get between them and even longer to get to the top of Saas Fee.
Reasonable family resort with limited ski area but advanced skiiers can ski pretty much all of the mountain and need not be restricted to the main runs.
I've only skied in France a few times. Whilst the skiing can be good, their closed attitude
to anyone trying to help lead a holiday there makes me not recommend it as a destination. It can
also be crowded and the resorts can be very ugly.
I've only skied in the USA once, for a couple of weeks, but it was great. Tends to be different to most European resorts in that the slopes are generally wide and open. Attitudes to customer support are also very refreshing. Unfortunately, it is expensive for Europeans, even with favourable exchange rates and the jet lag is a bit of a killer.
- Heavenly, Kirkwood, Squaw Valley
Heavenly is right on the California/Nevada border in the USA. This is a great resort that I can highly recommend. I went there at the beginning of March 1998.
Great skiing, great views (mountains, lake and desert!), good instructors
and mountain hosts. The ski pass covers half a dozen resorts including Kirkwood and
Squaw Valley which are also excellent resorts. Each of the resorts has a different
flavour & there is good skiing for everyone.
Main downside is that you really need a car (don't forget snow chains either!)/li>
- Mt. Ruapehu, Whakapapa
Had some nice though limited skiing here in 1990 so it has probably changed a lot since then. A car is advisable since the weather is very variable and you might want to do something else in between good skiing days. Ruapehu is one of three volcanoes in a chain and they are still active so read the safety instructions in the visitors centre!