Silver Swan’s Top 5 Ski Resorts
What’s not to like about Val D’Isere? The town is stunning, the skiing is awesome and the nightlife is great! The town itself is a quintessential ski resort, with stone chalets and pretty hotels lining the main street. It still has a really ‘French’ feel in the centre, with traditional bakeries and local shops, so although there is plenty going on, it still has its charm. There’s always a party somewhere in Val D’Isere, so you’re spoilt for choice for somewhere to eat, drink or dance. We love Arctic Café for fresh, healthy lunches and snacks – and for the best ski hire in town, head to Snowberry for quality equipment and always a friendly face. Up the mountain, skiing doesn’t get much better, with a good selection of areas for beginners right through to avid backcountry skiers. One thing that they all have in common though is that come 3pm, everyone will be dancing to the DJ on the deck of the Folie Douce before heading down to Blue Note to carry on the party!
Verbier has a bit of a reputation as a millionaire’s playground, after attracting a bunch of celebrities, and even the royals in recent years. Aside from the glitz and glamour of the exclusive bars and expensive shops in town, there’s actually plenty for the average visitor and seasonaire alike too. Known for the epic off-piste skiing, Verbier is part of the 4 vallees, extending over 340km of piste, so there is plenty of snow to play with…but be warned, the skiing here is definitely more suited to intermediate skiers and above! European Snowsport offer the best lessons to get rid of any jelly legs. Our favourite part about Verbier is all the mountain restaurants with fantastic views across the mountains and into the valley below. We love Le Dahu for a quick goulash and a chill out on the bean bags, Chez Dany for a banging Tartiflette and La Vache for a perfect pizza in cow-themed surrounding, best known for it’s famous owner, the Verbier-regular James Blunt.
Meribel regularly seems to be the seasonaire’s resort of choice and we can see why… It has the perfect mix of beautiful scenery, awesome skiing and wild nightlife! Part of the three valleys, Meribel is part of, arguably the best linked ski area in France (the Three Valleys, linked with Courchevel, La Tania and Val Thoren), and being able to ski in and ski out to a large chunk of chalets in town is a massive bonus! There are plenty of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants to keep you busy on your days off, and even a Sports Centre for those not getting enough of a workout on the slopes. Our perfect afternoon in Meribel would start on the mountain at the Folie Douce or down at Rond Point where there is a lively après scene. Followed by a trip to La Taverne, Barometer, or Evolution for cheap drinks, easy food, and live music. For those still standing, we’ll see you in Dick’s Tea Bar!
The undisputed king of Après Ski, St. Anton is one of our favourite resorts to do a ski season. It seems to have the perfect mix of Austrian charm and bustling resort life, making it an ideal place to spend a winter. The ski area is huge, especially after this year’s €45 million investment into new gondolas linking St. Anton to a range of other resorts including Lech and Zurs. Don’t worry though; there are still plenty of the pretty tree-lined runs that Austria is known for! Off the piste (or still on-piste depending on how far you get), the Austrians have a reputation for doing après right. The most famed bars include the Krazy Kangaruh and Mooserwirt, where you will be dancing on tables in your ski boots with a jaeger in hand by 4pm. If you make it down the mountain, you’ll come across the main street of shops and restaurants – it’s a pretty, traditional village that has the added appeal of being ski-in, and some super chalet and hotel options if you’ve got friends or family looking to pay a visit.
In the heart of the Portes-du-soleil is Morzine, a pretty little French town with year-round appeal. Although it’s just as bustling in the summer, winter is where it’s at for us, and seasonaires flock to this part of the Alps for the epic skiing (650km of it to be exact). We’ve heard on the grapevine that Morzine has one of the best snowparks around – perfect for the daredevils out there…although we prefer to spend our down time in Satellite Coffee, the new healthy café on Rue du Bourg, where you can grab a smoothie bowl, avocado on toast or a (not so healthy) slice of cake. With Avoriaz and Les Gets just around the corner, you wont run out of things to do – there’s even a huge swimming pool and ice rink in town if you don’t fancy heading up the mountain. Some of our favourite chalets are in Morzine, with Simply Morzine being a familiar face around resort and Boutique Chalet Company flying the flag for luxury properties.
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