Riksgransen ski guide hero

The four best European Skiing Locations right now

From classic downhill to snowboarding and slow ski.

Photo: Matti Rapila.
December 2022
Are you a classic downhill skier, or do you prefer a snowboard? Maybe ski touring is your thing, or even slow ski? These European ski resorts have everything from fjord views to vertical black runs.
Sunset in Cortina d'Ampezzo
Sunset in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Cortina d'Ampezzo – serene beauty

Cortina d’Ampezzo is worth a visit just for its beauty. The town, easily accessible from Milan, is in the middle of the Dolomites and offers some of the most beautiful skiing in the world. It’s no coincidence that this is one of the oldest ski destinations in Italy.

Also, the Italian Alps are not quite as expensive as their northern neighbors, and let’s be honest, is there a better country for food?

Skiing in Cortina d’Ampezzo comes in all colors, and there are 120 kilometers of piste in total. If you really want to test your skills, this is where to find the most vertical black run in the entire Dolomites.

There are plenty of chances to try something new, and sports like winter Via Ferrata and ski sailing are easy to book. You can also discover the popular slow ski trend. There are dedicated slopes in the Faloria area where you can take it easy, rest a while, and simply enjoy Mother Nature.

Bodø skiing
Skiing in Bodø. Photo: Ernst Furuhatt.

Bodø – culture and skiing

Few places in Europe are undergoing such changes as Bodø, a European Capital of Culture 2024.

One of the northernmost towns in the northern hemisphere has become a veritable treasure trove of restaurants and hotels, offering a seamless blend of wilderness and cozy comfort, the Norwegian way.

Bodø is therefore ideal if you want to combine skiing – alpine, cross country, and ski touring are all accessible – with food, drink and culture. The nearest ski resort, Skarmoen is just 12 km from the town, and it’s made for adventure-hungry children.

Although it’s the wilderness and fishing that made the town appealing to active tourists, nowadays there are modern new high-rises along the water’s edge. The Radisson Blu Hotel features the Top 13 sky bar, with views all the way to Lofoten. See you there?

Grindelwald snowboarding
Snowboarding in Grindwald. Photo: Grindelwald Tourismus.

Grindelwald – Switzerland’s new star

For many years, the village of Grindelwald has lived in the shadow of better-known ski resorts like Zermatt and St. Moritz. But with an investment of around 470 million Swiss francs, this old ski destination is now taking on the competition. For instance, Grindelwald boasts one of the world’s most modern cable cars, taking visitors from the train station up to the Eiger glacier.

Grindelwald may not offer the hippest bars or the most luxurious hotels for the international jet-set, but the experience is a far more authentic one characterized by local enterprise – and there’s something to suit all wallets.

The way up into the Alps begins with the train from Zurich. Following three comfortable hours in a modern double-decker train you arrive at Interlaken, and from there the railway climbs up to the Jungfraujoch, which is 3,657 meters above sea level – the highest train station in Europe.

From Grindelwald you have access to three different skiing areas: Grindelwald-Wengen, Grindelwald-First and Mürren-Schilthorn, and not far from there you can re-enact an old James Bond film. From Wengen and the nearby village of Mürren, you can use your lift pass to take the cable car up to Schilthorn – immortalized in the movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service from 1969.

Riksgransen skiing
Skiing in Riksgränsen. Photo: Sofia & Jacob Wester Sjöberg.

Riksgränsen and Harstad-Narvik – two in one

You can find world-class skiing by flying to Harstad-Narvik in Norway, which gives you two incredible skiing areas in one – Narvik, and Riksgränsen which can be easily accessed from there.

Narvik has a drop height of 1,000 meters from the top down to the city – with spectacular views across the fjord and mountains. With six ski lifts and 20 kilometers of piste offering a good mixture of blue, red and black runs, the skiing here will appeal to all kinds of skiers.

When you need a rest there’s the Narvikfjellet Restaurant at 656 meters above sea level – and you can get there by ski lift direct from Narvik as well.

Riksgränsen – which can also be accessed from Kiruna if you prefer to fly there – is known as an area for the more adventurous skier, with some excellent off-piste skiing. There are regular pistes too, though, so it’s a great place to visit, and it has ten kilometers of piste for beginners alone.

If you really want to go all-in, you can book a helicopter to take yourself (and some friends) to some virgin snow and skiing experiences in unspoiled nature. It costs quite a lot, but it’s something you’ll never forget.

Text by Daniel Björk