Hit the ski slopes out of season!
Ski slopes with no snow? Then you might be asking yourself what’s the point of visiting. You won’t be alone in your thoughts, it is very easy to only see a place for what it is well known for, and believe that is the only reason to go there.
Yet, once the snow is gone, many ski resorts offer something a little alternative, and just as great. In fact, out of ski season, many of these resorts offer cheap summer accommodation and plenty of activities to experience these places from a totally new perspective - be it on water, up a mountain, in the sky, or on two wheels. We guarantee that you’ll be having such a great time that you won’t even miss the snow.
If you fancy breaking with tradition and heading out onto those snowless-slopes, then check out the places that have made it onto our bucket list.
Val D’Isère and Tignes, France
These two resorts are neighbours, so you couldn’t mention one without the other. Although linked in location, they are very much two different places. Tignes is known for the more extreme sporty types in winter, and that does not differ in Spring. You won’t run out of activities to try - for starters, there is rock climbing, white water swimming, rafting, and horse riding. Plus, if you just can’t keep away from snow sports, due to presence of the Grande Motte glacier, Tignes does offer year-round skiing.
Where these two resorts overlap is with the 150 kms of free bike routes that the Tignes-Val d'Isère Bike Park offers. The park has trails for all levels of rider from beginner to elite, and you don’t have to worry about cycling to the top, just take a ski lift.
If you are after something a little more relaxing, then the slightly more refined resort of Val D’Isère might be more up your street, as it also offers a number of mountain retreat spas.
Looking for a picture that sums up Switzerland? Type Zermatt into the search engine, and…ta-dah!
Nestled in the Swiss Alps, this mountain town isn’t short of wow factor, but neither is it short on summer activities. You’ll arrive in style by mountain railway, as no cars other than electric ones are allowed into the town centre. Hiking, climbing, and mountaineering are the main activities here, and with the Matterhorn as your rather inspiring backdrop it isn’t hard to see why. But that’s not all the region has to offer as Gerard Butler discovered - find out what else you can do here.
Lillehammer has played host to the Winter Olympics, so it is no wonder that the snow-holiday-only image might be hard to shake off. With only a two hour train connection or drive to Oslo, you could turn this into a dual destination holiday, experiencing both Norway’s urban and countryside offerings in one hit.
Why Lillehammer? The town is set is some of the country’s most spectacular scenery - from high mountains to forest-clad hills, you’ll have access to miles of forest walks, as well as crystal clear lakes for exploring by canoe or kayak. Plus in true quirky Norwegian style, you can go on a Moose safari.
Come June and the Dolomites region is unrecognisable from the winter months that came before. Skiers and snowboarders move out, and mountain climbers, hikers and base jumpers move in. The National Parks in the region boom with beautiful mountain wildflowers and wildlife, something many miss when they only view mountains as places to carry out winter sports.
Twelve separate areas and villages make up a huge interconnected region that’s easily accessible by lift, public transport and your own feet. There’s lots to try, including some amazing regional cuisine.
Plus, if you hang around long enough you’ll see the lengths some will go to not to miss dinner.
Fancy heading further than Europe, then look to Whistler. Home to more than 8,000 acres, making it the largest skiable area in North America. But that’s not all it is known for. Whistler is GoPro heaven, as when summer comes, skiing might be off the menu, but bungee jumping, whitewater rafting and even bear spotting are back on it.
Offering some of the world’s best mountain biking trails, makes Whistler a must-visit with mountain biking aficionados. If you want to shred* the trails, then you’ll be following in the bike tracks of the who’s who of the downhill biking scene, including the awesome home talent of Danny Hart and the seemingly unstoppable Rachel Atherton.
*If you are going to mountain bike, you need to learn to speak the lingo.
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