There are a variety of criteria teachers use to narrow down their choice of resort for their school ski group, such as one-party hotels, large ski areas, budget resorts, local evening entertainments and snow-sure resorts. Many teachers like the security of booking a glacial resort for guaranteed snow, plus if you’re looking to travel pre-Christmas or Easter, a resort with access to glacial skiing gives you extra peace of mind for either end of the season.
To help you on your way, here are four of the top European glacial ski destinations to choose from:
Les Deux Alpes, France
Snow-sure Les Deux Alpes has a top altitude of 3600m with over 220km of pistes, and is one of the most famous resorts in Europe. A huge advantage to Les Deux Alpes is that many easier pistes are located on the glacier area, so if you need to cater for a high proportion of beginner skiers in your group, this could be the resort for you. The resort has 225+ snow cannons for your added security and there is much to keep your group entertained off the slopes too, with a variety of shops and restaurants, an ice-skating rink, and both outdoor and indoor pools. New for the 2016 season was the fantastic Jandri 1 blue run that takes you from the glacier all the way down to resort. You can view a short video about this run here. With everything you could possibly need on hand and many hotels located close to the lifts and resort facilities, Les Deux Alpes is many teachers’ number one choice to return to year on year.
Zell-am-See – Kaprun, Austria
The ski season in Zell am See-Kaprun extends for ten months of the year, running from early autumn into summer with the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. The highest lift in the area is 3029 metres and the slopes are diverse covering 138km of pistes with a wide range of skiing for all abilities. This is a great choice if your group is made up of intermediate or advanced skiers as there are many challenging slopes on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. There are also around 90% snow-making facilities for your added peace of mind. Make sure your lift pass covers you for the full Zell am See - Kaprun area in order to take advantage of the glacier. Austria is a favourite choice for many schools as it offers traditional Austrian charm, beautiful scenery, great skiing and world-renowned ski schools with friendly instructors.
Schladming - Dachstein, Austria
Groups with the Schladming - Dachstein lift pass have the security of the Dachstein glacier and four of the best snow-sure areas within this region. Not only that, the Dachstein glacier has a few other attractions which make it great place for school groups to visit, one being the Ice Palace. This is a visit students will love with the opportunity to see intricately carved figures, ice pillars and a crystal dome (the Ice Palace is a just a three minute walk from the mountain station of the Dachstein Glacier cable car). The general ski area of Schladming is excellent for beginners with the long blue runs, but intermediates and advanced skiers are also well catered for. Après-ski possibilities include swimming, bowling, ice-skating, and traditional Austrian sleigh rides.
Passo Tonale, Italy
Italian skiing offers much for school groups and Passo Tonale is one of the highest resorts in Italy, with the top lift at an impressive altitude of 3069m. The resort has an excellent snow record and the Presena glacier means the ski season here usually runs from November through to late April, making the resort a great choice for schools, especially at both ends of the season when it may be more cost-effective to travel. The 100km of pistes are varied with some long runs and are suitable for all levels of skiing - great if you have a mixed ability group. The après ski is second to none and sure to give your students a wonderful experience in Italy.
There are many other resorts without glaciers which are also classified as snow-sure due to their altitude and snow records, such as Saalbach, Obertauern, Sauze D’Oulx, Serre Chevalier, and Isola 2000 to name a few.