Go for a weekend away between longer breaks
Posted by - James Eliot on Thu 2nd August 2012
We all try and get away to the slopes for a week or two each year. However, ski holidays don’t have to be long: a ski weekend can be worthwhile too. It’s the ideal way to keep up your skills between longer ski breaks and allows you to get skiing without using up precious annual leave. Most of all, it’s fun: who doesn’t want to spend more time on the slopes?
If you’re looking for a resort for a ski weekend break, you need a short flight and a short transfer time – trips to North America simply aren’t feasible. You might also want to look at some of the smaller resorts that you wouldn’t necessarily consider for a longer break: some resorts might not have enough skiing to keep you occupied on week-long ski holidays, but could be perfect for a weekend. Here are some of our favourite weekend ski resorts.
Isola is one of France’s less well-known resorts and, while it lacks the glamour and facilities of places like Val d’Isere, if you just want to concentrate on skiing for a few days, it’s perfect. It has 47 runs, mostly intermediate, but with enough challenging runs to keep experts happy for 48 hours.
With much of the skiing above 2500m, Isola’s season is long and snow-sure: ideal if you want a late or early season break. The resort is just an hour’s drive from Nice airport and one-and-a-half hours from Turin, so you could combine a short skiing break with a city break. Go in spring and you could even find yourself skiing in the morning and sunbathing on the Med in the evening.
Engelberg in Switzerland is a fantastic resort with a stunning backdrop. The resort is around an hour-and-a-half from Zurich airport and an hour from Lucerne. It offers great skiing, with plenty to keep experienced intermediates and experts happy.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that only one of its 25 pistes is black. Many of its reds are very challenging, being steep and difficult to groom: you certainly won’t get bored of the skiing here. There are also some fantastic off-piste routes – indeed, many people come here solely to sample the virgin powder. What’s more, Engelberg has a glacier, meaning you can ski in summer and be assured of skiing late into the standard season, too.
If you’re after a ski weekend with plenty to keep non-skiers occupied, then Megeve is for you. This charming French resort combines an appealing medieval old town with lots of top-quality facilities and activities. These include Michelin-starred restaurants, upmarket shopping, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and spas and a casino.
Unlike some French resorts, Megeve is a working town with a large year-round population, making it a great place to soak up some French mountain culture alongside your skiing. The local slopes are relatively low altitude so sometimes lack snow, particularly early and late in the season. However, you can access the huge Chamonix-Mont-Blanc ski area by cable car, giving you access to plenty of higher-altitude, snow-sure slopes. Transfers from Geneva take around an hour-and-a-half, so journeys to and from the resort are minimal.