When organising a group ski holiday, there are already plenty of components to take into consideration. Choosing a snow-sure resort that suits a group of mixed ability skiers is the first challenge, which is where our expert’s knowledge comes in.
We have chosen our favourite resorts factoring in slopes with varying difficulties, including wide quiet runs and challenging terrain. After a day’s skiing, it’s just as important for the group to reconvene at après and have fun off the slopes together.
The variety of skiing, apartment-led accommodation and high-speed lifts makes Les Arcs a great choice for groups. The resort has four purpose-built villages that are in between the trees and have spectacular views of Mont Blanc and the Nancroix valley. Part of the Paradiski area, there are 425km of slopes thanks to the gondola connecting Les Arcs to La Plagne.
Arc 1950 has a quiet nightlife and is better for families, while Arc 1800 is popular for its après and nightlife. Arc 2000 has a sporty reputation, those looking for a challenge should try the vertical seven km Aiguille Rouge. The run starts as a black, then peels off into a red at the top of the Lanchettes chairlift.
Experts can tackle the steep runs to Pré Saint Esprit, while intermediates can play in the woods at lower levels and the Edelweiss and Renard cruisy blues. Take the Vanoise Express over to La Plagne where there are gentle pistes for beginners and younger children. La Plagne also has an Olympic bobsleigh run and Europe’s longest funslope that has rollers, tunnels and slalom posts.
Find out more about visiting Les Arcs here.
As the largest resort in North America, Whistler caters for all abilities with 200km of varied ski slopes. Collecting around 12m of snowfall per year, Whistler is a snow trap catching weather spells from the Pacific Ocean. The season runs from mid-November through to April and has a reliable snowfall throughout.
A great spot for beginners to learn, there are plenty of nursery slopes and proficient ski schools with English-speaking instructors. Intermediates will enjoy the turning space on Blue Line and flying into the powder-filled Lakeside Bowl black run. While experienced skiers should head to the steep couloir, Surf’s Up, which is said to have the highest quality snow on the mountains. There are also five terrain parks – three on Blackcomb and two on Whistler – a half-pipe, 150 features and more than 40 jumps.
Whistler village is partly pedestrianised, which is great if you have little ones running around. Après isn’t as lively as Europe’s, with skiers tending to have one or two drinks after skiing. This allows you the whole evening to try the winter activities, including the kilometre-long zip line, helicopter rides, concerts and spa treatments. Dining options are numerous with plenty of international cuisine and world-class restaurants.
Discover more about Whistler here.
Méribel has a reputation for its lively après bars and fantastic restaurants, making it the perfect resort for groups looking to ski and socialize. Each afternoon and evening, the bars in the village have live music, starting with the mountainside Folie Douce and the Rond Point, affectionately nicknamed ‘the Ronnie’. In the village, taste premium craft beer at The Brewer’s Den, sip on cocktails at Copiña Tapas Bar or dine at the contemporary Barometer.
Part of the extensive Les Trois Vallées ski area, there is an incredible 600km of slopes. At an elevation of 2,952m, Mont Vallon is Meribel’s highest point and usually has good snow coverage. Runs around the resort are wide blue runs, which are fun for those looking to improve their technique and those practising slalom turns or tricks.
Those who aren’t avid skiers can find plenty of off-piste activities including swimming, climbing and ice skating at the Olympic Centre. There are also hotel spas that you can visit for a treatment and a bi-weekly farmers’ market on Route de la Montee where you can buy local cheese and charcuterie.
Discover Méribel for yourself here.
Ski in Norway’s untamed wilderness in Myrkdalen, the resort has an amazing snowfall record, wide pistes and impressive off-piste terrain. Just two hours from Bergen, it is the largest ski resort in western Norway. It caters for all levels with a beginner’s ski area, snow park with four sections and a ski cross slope. In total there are 21 slopes, without accounting for the slopes that are accessible in the backcountry.
Beginners can learn the ropes in ski school on the wide, open runs, while intermediates are well catered for with long, cruisy blues. At the base of resort, there is a dedicated area for young and beginner skiers made up of four green slopes and a magic carpet. With more powder than many of the European resorts, you can access off piste from the top of chairlifts at the top of resort, or between the tree lines lower down.
Accommodation consists of four-star Myrkdalen hotel and two four-star apartments. There are several off-piste Scandinavian adventures that include horse-drawn sleigh rides, dog sledding and our top pick, a trip to the fjords.
Discover more about skiing in Myrkdalen here.
Alpe d’Huez has 250km of slopes that vary in difficulty. There are plenty of greens and blues as well as some more challenging reds and blacks. Nursery slopes can be found at Rif Nel and Les Jeux and there are 41 green runs to practise on. Advanced skiers can tackle one of the region’s most thrilling black pistes, Le Tunnel, which runs between two rocky outcrops. Sarenne is the longest black run in the Alps, at 16km long. It is accessible from the Pic Blanc summit at 3,300m, and can take between an hour and 90 minutes to descend.
The season runs from December to April, and the snow cover tends to be good on the glacier. Most of the resort is south facing and on a sunny plateau, with at least 300 days of sunshine a year. Vaujany is linked to the Alpe D’Huez ski area and offers attractive chalets that are suitable for families and groups looking for a relaxing stay. The village has a leisure complex with a large swimming pool, ice skating rink and bowling alley.
Alpe d’Huez has a variety of accommodation options that include self-catered apartments, chalets and hotels as well as a lively après and nightlife. Watch live cabaret with drinks at the mountainside La Folie Douce, and don’t be surprised when people start dancing on tables!
Find out more about visiting Alpe d’Huez here.