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Unusual ski resorts - swap classics for hidden gems

6 Dec, 2022
4mins, 23s read
Sarah Cramer
Sarah Cramer
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Classic ski resort swaps

Skied all the classic ski resorts? Looking for new destinations with the familiarity of your all-time favourites? And maybe cheaper too? Look no further. Check out Heidi's top undiscovered ski gems…
Lone skier carving down wide open ski slope

If you like Chamonix for off-piste glory, swap it for Jasna, Slovakia

The bucket list destination of Chamonix is an off-piste paradise for seasoned skiers and freeride devotees. But the lift passes will set you back a pretty penny. For a more wallet-friendly powder-fest, Slovakia's Jasan is an epic alternative. Host to Freeride World Tour qualifiers, it's renowned for some of the best back-country skiing in Europe. Let's shred! 

If you like Val d'Isere for its high-end appeal, swap it for Baqueira-Beret, Spain

A firm favourite of the Spanish Royal Family and loved by the locals, the premium ski resort of Baq is the real deal. It is surprisingly good value too. Enjoy quieter slopes and fewer queues than crowded Val d'Isere, especially during the holidays, and soak up the authentic Spanish vibe with delicious tapas and sangria on the mountain. Magnífico! 
Morillon ski resort in winter

If you like Les Gets for its big ski area, swap it for Morillon

Les Gets is a popular base for the vast Portes du Soleil ski region. But don't underestimate the extensive reach of the Grand Massif. Easily accessed from Morillon, you'll have heaps of tree-lined blues and steep reds to ride. Plus, fresh snow dumps are more frequent here too. Granted, Morillon is smaller than Les Gets, but its understated profile means the lift pass is budget-friendly. Happy days! 
Snowy landscape of French ski resort Isola

If you like Tignes for its snowsure high-altitude, try Isola

Tignes is renowned for its high altitude and snowsure skiing, but the sun-drenched runs of Isola are also sky-high, and the snowfall is mint, especially in January. Bring on the pow! Newbies and intermediates will love the ski-in-ski-out accommodation, and thrillseekers can drop in on epic off-piste terrain. What Isola lacks in size compared to Tignes, it more than makes up for with a shorter transfer time - 1h 15m vs 3h 30m - making it ideal for a quick mid-week or weekend ski trip.
Skiiers skiing past traditional church in Seefeld ski resort

If you like Zell am See for luxurious accommodation, try Seefeld

The Seefeld ski area is a tad smaller than Zell, but the town is top-notch, with some super smart hotels. Fewer runs mean the lift passes are typically cheaper, and the digs are better value than Zell too. Bonus! So, if you're on a budget, but fluffy pillows and luxurious spas are just as important to you as pristine and easygoing pistes, check out this gem of a ski resort.

If you like St Anton for apres-ski, swap it for Gerlos, Austria.

St Anton may be the go-to ski resort for a raucous apres ski party, but if you're looking for somewhere a little more left field, try Gerlos. This lesser-known Austrian ski resort may be off the beaten track, but don't let this put you off. Upbeat mountain bars get the party going with lively sundowners in the afternoon, and pumping dance floors will keep you dancing til dawn. Jagerbomb anyone?
St-Johann-In-Tirol lit up at night before apres ski

If you like the picture-postcard village of Kitzbuhel, swap it for St Johann in Tirol, Austria

If you thought that nowhere could match the spellbinding beauty of Kitzbuhel, wait until you see St Johann. This ancient Austrian medieval mining town is adorned with onion-domed churches and fresco-painted buildings. And the easygoing tree-lined pistes boast spectacular views over the Tirol mountains. Drop-dead gorgeous! 
Siier on off piste slope

And finally, for a bonus off-piste swap, leave Chamonix behind and try Engelberg, Switzerland

Well known in Europe but virtually unheard of in the UK, Engelberg is well worth a look. The off-piste and freeride terrain is out of this world, and beginner-friendly slopes mean mixed-ability groups will have heaps of fun here. Feeling the burn? When your thighs can't take any more, recharge with delicious Swiss cuisine at no less than 16 mountain restaurants and soak up spectacular views over Mount Titlis. 

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