Can’t wait for your next snow fix? Sit back and get ready to plan your trip, as Skiing Europe author Matt Barr rounds up the best options for an action-packed season ahead.
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4 Best Early Season Powder Resorts
CLOSEST AIRPORT: Grenoble
TOWN: Sister resort to Val d’Isère, but with more of an emphasis on skiing than hard partying, Tignes is split between Val Claret, Le Lac and Le Lavachet.
MOUNTAIN: Tignes is a high-altitude resort, with the Grande Motte glacier open almost all-year round and the lift system topping out at a hefty 3,456m. As such, it gets some great early season powder but can be a little dangerous. Book a guide at www.dragonlodge.com if you’re not confident going solo.
CLOSEST AIRPORT: Basel
TOWN: Tiny Andermatt is real Heidi country, a small village wedged high in the Swiss Alps. It has long been popular with expert skiers but relatively unknown to the mainstream market. A new development is set to change that, so head there now before the secret is truly out.
MOUNTAIN: As Skiing Europe co-author Gabriella Le Breton puts it: “Andermatt gets dumped on. Brilliant.” There are three mountains here: Gemsstock, Nätschen and Winterhorn. From the top of Gemsstock, take the famous Bernhard Russi-designed black run down two glaciers and into some great terrain. As ever in the high mountains, a guide is recommended.
CLOSEST AIRPORT: Memmingen (Munich West)
TOWN: Stay in nearby GarmischPartenkirchen, a classic Bavarian spa town with an international flavour thanks to the proximity of a US military base. It’s completely beautiful and more of a Chamonix-style town than a purpose-built resort such as Tignes.
MOUNTAIN: Although there are five areas near Garmisch, head to Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany. A lack of trees and rocks make it perfect for early season skiing, and with it being the highest spot you can find brilliant snow in the middle of November.
CLOSEST AIRPORT: Friedrichshafen
TOWN: Forget Lech and Zürs’ much-vaunted exclusivity and concentrate on the brilliant skiing. True, there are six five-star and 40 four-star hotels here, as well as more award-winning restaurants than any other Austrian village, but that mountain is a great leveller.
MOUNTAIN: This place gets some of the highest snowfalls in Europe, with nearby Warth-Schröcken netting the biggest average fall in the Alps. Yet, nobody has ever heard of it so the snow lasts for days. Experts may have just found their new favourite resort.