The Essential Skiing Guide: The rest of Europe

Almost every country in Europe – even Croatia, Cyprus and Portugal – has at least one ski area. And as well as the "big four" Alpine nations, UK tour operators offer holidays at dozens of resorts in eastern Europe, the Pyrenees and Scandinavia.

Resorts in Spain and Andorra have invested heavily in superb new lifts and have better snow records than you might expect, but lift prices can be high at the top areas – higher even than Switzerland.

There are about 1,000 ski areas spread across eastern Europe, most of them basic. British tour operators currently offer holidays to some of the best in Bulgaria, Slovenia and, cheapest of all, Romania. Most of these now have modern facilities, but services and snow cover can be patchy if you're unlucky.

Scandinavia offers snow-sure skiing and exceptional opportunities for cross-country skiers. Resorts in Lapland (through Inghams) offer dog-sledding, snowmobiling and reindeer safaris, along with limited downhill skiing and the magical atmosphere of the far north, including, hopefully, a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Closer to home, Scotland's five ski areas have had three good seasons in a row, and with a white covering in late October it's looking promising for this winter, too. Those empty roads they use in the car adverts await if you drive up, or there are good rail and air links.

Did you know?

Spain's Sierra Nevada, Europe's most southerly snow sports resort, stands above the Mediterranean close to Malaga.

Germany's Garmisch Partenkirchen will host the World alpine skiing championships this February – the biggest event in winter sports outside of the Olympics.

Some bargain berths, from £19, are available on Scotrail sleeper trains from London to Aviemore or Fort William for the Nevis Range.

Andorra's Grandvalira ski region has grown to be one of the world's 50 largest, but the €221 six-day lift pass is now pricier than in Cortina, Courchevel, or Lech.

For a late-season trip, Riksgränsen in the Swedish Arctic offers great value heli-skiing and skiing under the midnight sun from late May.

Best resorts for novices

Kranjska Gora, Slovenia (00 386 4 5809440; kr-gora.si); Lecht, Scotland (01975 651440; lecht.co.uk); Tryvann, Norway (00 47 22 145482; tryvann .no); Vallnord, Andorra (00 376 878 078; vallnord.com); Vemdalen, Sweden (00 46 684 15300; Vemdalen.com).

For intermediates

Baqueira Beret, Spain (00 34 973 639010; baqueira.es), Bled, Slovenia (00 376 4 5741122; bled.si); Grandvalira, Andorra (00 376 808900; grandvalira.com); Nevis Range, Scotland (01397 705825; nevisrange.co.uk); Sierra Nevada, Spain (00 34 958 249100; sierranevadaski.com).

For experts

Åre, Sweden (00 46 647 17754; areresort.se); Glencoe, Scotland (01855 851226; glencoemountain.com); Hemsedal, Norway (00 47 32 055030; hemsedal.com); Lillehammer, Norway (00 47 61 289800; lillehammerturist.no); Riksgränsen, Sweden (00 46 980 40080; riksgransen.nu).

For families

Aviemore, Scotland (01479 810930; cairngormmountain.com); Formigal, Spain (00 34 974 490000; formigal .com); Levi, Finland (00 358 16 6393300; levi.fi); Ruka, Finland (00 358 400 200; ski.ruka.fi); Ylläs, Finland (00 358 16 5705700; sportresortyllas.com).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

    £25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager

    £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator

    £25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator A...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent