The winter Olympics are here, and so is the itch to get out on the slopes and do some skiing. Admittedly, I’m one of the few that finds cross-country skiing fun- perhaps the less popular sport because it’s less commonly known- after a rare snow event near my house as a kid. Three hours of picking myself face-first out of the snow and back onto my Dad’s too-big skis perhaps doesn’t romanticise the sport, but it’s the one that’s always stuck as a memory.
The winter Olympics are here, and so is the itch to get out on the slopes and do some skiing
Most probably think of the slopes. Although England offers little in the way of skiing, Scotland’s not so bad in the Cairngorm mountains near Aviemore. If you suddenly have a free weekend and not enough money to fly out to somewhere a bit further, Scotland’s not so far away, and there are plenty of ways to check out the snow conditions. At the moment there is snow at all levels, so what are you waiting for?
Further afield, the Alps call. If you’ve not organised anything yet, or are looking for a late-season ski trip, Tignes is open for much longer than most other resorts, and you’re pretty certain to get snow. Val Thorens, also in France, is also popular for late-season skiing due to it’s altitude of 2300m. It’s also huge, so offers loads of activities off the piste- fancy ice-diving? Sounds a bit cold, but a sled dog ride is a bit more to my taste.
If you want to get out to the slopes now, Livigno, Italy, might be a good choice. Flights to Milan can sometimes come cheap, and the resort is in a duty-free zone, so relatively inexpensive as well. There are 30km of trails for Nordic skiing, and opportunities to try rifle shooting if the thought of a biathlon has ever crossed your mind. I can’t say it has for me, but I’ll try anything once. There’s also Europe’s highest brewery, which definitely sounds like something to go and experience. Jasna, Slovakia, is another cheap option, located in the Tatras Mountains, which are beautiful all year round. Flights go to Bratislava or Poprad- both great cities- and pints are less than a euro when you get there. If you get really lucky you might see the critically endangered Tatras chamois as you go skiing past, which would really be something to remember from a holiday!