For many skiers and snowboarders, the best ski runs are the ones where it is just you and the piste and all you can hear is the sound of skis against the snow. For many heading to the renowned ski areas such as The Three Valleys or Espace Killy, whilst they have epic slopes, the likelihood having a calm, undiscovered and uncrowded pistes is slim.
We’ve compiled our top underrated resorts for a more peaceful and quaint ski holiday, some of which you may have never even heard of!
Just an hour away from Geneva airport, Samoëns is a traditional quaint alpine village situated in the fourth largest ski area in France, the Grand Massif ski area. Linking with Flaine, Les Carroz, Morillon and Sixt, they combine to create 265km of slopes which cater for all skiing and boarding abilities. Plus, 80% of the slopes are north facing so it’s a fantastic snow sure ski area too! Samoëns definitely is the resort to visit if you love picturesque resorts. Think snow-capped trees and chocolate box chalets, it is just like a photo from a Christmas card!
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Borovets is Bulgaria’s oldest ski resort and is a great choice if you are looking for a budget ski holiday, including the après ski! Although it’s not the biggest of resorts with 53km of pistes, it is an ideal resort for first time skiers, beginners and families as the resort is known for its quality ski instructors. The resort is a stunning woodland resort and has also improved its lift systems significantly over the years to ensure the best comfort and convenience for its visitors.
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Part of the Ski Juwel area offering 145km of runs and linking with Alpbach, Auffach and Oberau, Niederau is a picturesque Tyrolean-style village at the heart of the Wildschönau valley. Just an hour away from Innsbruck airport, it is an ideal resort for families, beginners and intermediates due to its gentle nursery slopes and friendly ski schools. Niederau still has character, with lively après ski happening in full swing at the local bars.
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La Tania, France
Neighbouring the popular resorts of Meribel and Courchevel, La Tania is the resort in the Three Valleys that often gets forgotten about. The lowest purpose-built resort, it has a friendly feel in the village and although its local runs are limited, there is easy access to the vast 600km of pistes on offer in the Three Valleys ski area. It is great for groups of friends and families with a lively après ski scene, tree-lined runs and it is also traffic-free. There are a number of chalet and apartment options in resort for easy access to the slopes in resort and further afield in the epic ski domain.
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Part of the 1,200km of pistes in the Dolomites ski areas, Kronplatz is characterised by long, fast pistes and efficient lift systems and having more gondolas than chairlifts! Its local area has 119km of slopes including 4 top to bottom runs to keep your legs burning! Kronplatz is great for all abilities as well as freestylers as it has two parks and has fantastic snow-sure conditions, especially at its peak at 2,275 metres.
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One of the cheapest resorts in Austria and part of the SkiWelt area covering 280km with Söll, Westendorf, Hopfgarten, Scheffau, Brixen, Going and Itter, Ellmau is a peaceful resort and ideal for families. Having its own ski hill, its local slopes are beginner friendly and the resort is also the quietest part of the ski area. Although its local slopes won’t satisfy intermediate to advanced skiers for a week, Ellmau has good links to the SkiWelt Circus where more advanced terrain can be found.
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Soldeu is the largest resort in Andorra and is often overlooked as a ski destination. Part of the Grandvalira ski area offering 210km of pistes, it is a great choice for a budget-friendly ski trip thanks to it being tax-free. But the resort doesn’t bring many party-goers (Pas de la Casa is the party resort in the ski area), so it is one of the best quiet family-friendly resorts. Snow reliability is also good in the area as most of its slopes are north-facing but if you fancy some warmer weather then you can also do a ski and city break by combining your ski trip with a city break to nearby Barcelona!
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Referred to as ‘Europe’s best-kept secret’, Champoluc is an unspoilt village in the Monterosa ski area offering 180km of pistes with the neighbouring resorts of Gressoney and Alagna. It resembles the ski domain of The Three Valleys in France because of its efficient interlinked lifts and pistes across three adjacent valleys. Although the scale is far from the same with The Three Valleys offering 600km of pistes, it is the quality of its long runs, off-piste terrain and its relatively undiscovered and uncrowded slopes which makes Champoluc a fantastic resort.
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