You might be looking to spend your time on the mountain in a slightly quieter resort with fewer lift queues this year, or for a resort where you can avoid using enclosed lifts like gondolas and cable cars. So here are a few of our suggestions for our top recommended quieter ski resorts:
La Rosière, France
La Rosière sits on the French side of the San Bernardo ski area, shared with La Thuile in Italy. It’s a purpose-built resort with the convenience you’d expect, but offers a more sympathetic chalet style architecture than some of its purpose-built cousins. The ski area offers 160 km of skiing with gentler beginner and intermediate terrain on the French side and some more challenging pistes on the Italian side. The ski area is served exclusively by chairlifts and surface lifts on the French side, and there’s just one gondola on the La Thuile side which has a chairlift alternative – so a good place to avoid enclosed lifts and crowds. With a great selection of accommodation, we are delighted to be adding this little gem back into our programme this year.
Montgenèvre is a personal favourite of mine for those looking for great value and quiet slopes. It’s another resort whose ski area straddles the French / Italian border and outside of one or two school holiday weeks in February you’ll be hard pushed to find a lift queue here. Name me another high altitude (1860m) resort with a historic centre (complete with 18th century church), ski-in / ski-out accommodation, an extensive ski area and low prices and I’ll be very impressed! There is one gondola, serving one side of the mountain, but you can avoid that side, and still find plenty of terrain and varied pistes served by a modern uplift system. Nipping over to the Italian side for a delicious lunch in the sun is a must!
Tignes is one of the big hitters for British skiers and a bit busier than Montgenèvre and La Rosière, but the ski area and resort villages are well designed to manage the capacity. There are a number of gondolas on the Val d’Isère side, but very few in Tignes. In fact, from the bases where our accommodation options are situated, there is only one and you have the option of a chairlift which bypasses that without restricting where you can ski. Tignes offers doorstep skiing and modern convenience with a huge snow sure area that’s a great bet for a later season getaway.
A perennial favourite of both Ski Independence staff and guests, this purpose built resort perches on a cliff with panoramic views over the Morzine valley. It offers easy access into the enormous Portes du Soleil ski area, which straddles the border between France and Switzerland. The unique architecture of Avoriaz features a uniform cedar cladding called ‘tavaillon’ which makes the resort appear to melt into the surrounding landscape from afar. The ski area immediately around Avoriaz and extending right across the Swiss side features almost exclusively chairlifts, though you’ll encounter a couple of gondolas and cable cars in the other direction towards Morzine and Les Gets. It’s a great option for families looking for convenience and a short transfer from Geneva, as well as being a nice choice for a weekend getaway.
For those wanting to venture further afield, the Canadian resort of Panorama is a great bet. It’s around a 3 ½ hour transfer from Calgary and the slopes are generally very quiet as the resort doesn’t have any major towns or cities close by. The lift network is all chairlifts and outside of holiday weekends you’ll have the place to yourself. The self-catered accommodation offers a variety of condo sizes with a selection of friendly dining options in the village. There’s something for all levels of skier and snowboarder to enjoy here with wide pistes for learners alongside some of the best lift-accessed extreme terrain in Canada.
If you are interested in a ski holiday this winter to one of our featured resorts, we’ll be happy to put together a tailor-made itinerary for you. Please contact us on 0131 243 8097 or enquire online so we can start planning your perfect trip.