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Going skiing can be one of the most thrilling holidays you’ll ever experience. You may want a lot of black runs, suitable for expert skiers that want to hurtle themselves down an extremely steep avalanche chute; or alternatively you may want the best ski school possible to enable to you conquer the easiest slopes around. Whether you class yourself as a pro or a beginner skier, you’re going to want to know the best places to go for snow!
The sunniest of all Bulgarian resorts, Pamporovo, is located in the heart of Rhodopi Mountain. It is known for its extremely well preserved slopes. With over 36KM of piste (most of which is green and blue rated), it makes for a perfect place for beginners. It has a gentle profile with rounded slopes and summits which makes learning to ski easier! You rarely ever get bad visibility here, so it’s great for learners. The ski school in Pamporovo has been voted as one of the best in Europe and the easy-to-navigate mountains mean you shouldn’t get lost. One of the things that makes Pamporovo unique is that they have plenty of snowmaking machines; so regardless of the 270 days of sunshine, you’ll always be able to get practising on the pistes. Head up to the lookout tower and admire the views, you won’t be disappointed! On clear days you’ll get clear views over the mountains and the valley from the top of the slopes.
The red and black runs for expert skiers aren’t actually that steep, so if you’re feeling brave then you can always test them out! “The Wall” is the steepest slope in Bulgaria and is one of two blacks at the area, it will offer a steep and challenging mogul field. If you are good at off-piste skiing then the natural, un-groomed space and the natural distribution in the ski zone are attractive to the free riders. If by any chance you’re not coping with skiing very well, head off on a husky sled ride or jump on a ski doo snowmobile and tear up some snow.
The popularity of the French resort of Les Arcs comes from the variety it brings. Renowned for everything from wooded beginner runs to high-altitude skiing, it means you can progress your skills. Les arcs links to La Plagne to create the Paradiski area, meaning 425km of pistes for all abilities. 46% of slopes here are intermediate runs, with long descents, steep banks, excellent woodland runs and lots of genuinely challenging skiing. Advanced skiers should head up to Aiguille Rouge, the highest point in Les Arcs at more than 3226m. Don’t forget your camera though, the views are amazing!
Les Arcs is made up of four modern resort units which are all apartment dominated and all purpose-built. There is a fast cable car link to La Plagne, The Vanoise Express; this one of a kind cable car can carry 2000 people per hour in double decker cars. It only takes four minutes to span the entire 2KM between Plan Peisey and Les Coches. The aerodynamic shape of the cabins ensures that they have good wind stability for a more comfortable journey.
Snowboarders and skiers rejoice, as you can head to The Snowpark and pull off your best tricks! With woops, jumps and mini pipes all available, you can improve your technique steadily. Experts can also get in on the action with the shred line. Don’t miss out on the big air bag either, you can try out your tricks with a soft landing. Feeling brave? Take on the water slide! Head to the top of a 30m run up and try to conquer a 15m swimming pool without getting wet. Failures are always the funniest!
Verbier in Switzerland is the perfect mix of adrenaline and relaxation. This place is a hit with advanced skiers. Head to Chassoure-Tortin, considered to be the most challenging itinerary run in the Verbier. The first part is a little steep, but the moguls are well formed so you can expect good skiing on firm but grippy snow. It’s still a little tame in comparison to true off piste skiing though. The stunning Mont Gele is an excellent challenge, located 3023 metres above sea level, it tests the most skilled experts to their limits. Verbier offers world class off piste skiing, with many mountain guides in the resort to help discover the former black route pistes.
Verbier is infamous for freeriding and is home to the Verbier Xtreme free ride contest. Brush up your skills at the La Chaux snow park which is located at 2,250m altitude. This multitude of diverse and varied modules is suitable for all levels and its maintained daily for your enjoyment. The park even has a camera system that allows visitors to have their run through of the park and airbag filmed and shared online! Anyone with a lift pass can ride in the park, though it can seem a daunting place so ride safely!
Après-Ski is great in Verbier too. Although quite expensive, there are places to enjoy a chilled out drink. Enjoy some live bands or head to the club to dance the night away. There are a vast amount of lively and sophisticated bars, along with traditional-style pubs and cosmopolitan discos. With approximately 10 – 15 bars to choose from, you can drink from 3pm till 2am!
ONE YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT…
Gulmarg boasts the best skiing in India. You’ve conquered all the big slopes all over the globe, and now the one left is this place. Gulmarg ski resort is perfect for advanced and expert riders, especially those who enjoy off-piste back country terrain. Mt Apharwat has the highest ski lift in the world, topping out at around 4,000m, with the summit a few hundred metres above. It provides 1,500m of vertical descent and even some of the bowls off the summit have a straight 1,200m of thigh-destroying vertical!
Gulmarg’s first ski club was set up in 1927, so it has established itself since then as a popular destination among skiing enthusiasts. Its natural beauty, lush meadows, forests and mountains have made it a perfect place for movie makers. Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Great Himalayas.
If you can cope with adventure then enjoy the terrain, avalanche risk and complexity of exits. Though it is recommended that you get yourself a quality guide. There is the opportunity to learn skiing and snowboarding with expert ski instructors. Lifts will take beginners and intermediates to their slopes. Alternatively, sledging and zorbing is available for those that are more laid back. Jump in a large inflatable ball and hurtle down a slope at breakneck speeds.
Let’s be honest though, no snow-vacation can be complete without snowball fighting and snowman sculpting!