As stated in a previous blog, the term ‘hidden gem’ tends to be an overused phrase when it comes to describing a ski resort. This does not mean they don’t exist, far from it, you just have to know where to look.
Table of Contents
- The Distinguishing Factors
- Ingredients of a ‘Hidden Gem’ Resort
- Showcasing Examples in Europe and North America
- Seeking Out Those Hidden Gems: A Summary
The Distinguishing Factors
The term should not be confused with ‘off the beaten track’. Some ‘hidden gems’ are tucked away, and others are in plain sight, but their desirability is not immediately obvious. You have to experience their allure to truly appreciate them.
The irony is, when skiers and snowboarders discover a hidden gem they are torn between keeping it to themselves or sharing their knowledge about the great destination they have found.
Ingredients of a ‘Hidden Gem’ Resort
So, what are the ingredients that go towards making a resort a ‘hidden gem’. There are, of course, a myriad of reasons, but broadly the main ones fall into three categories – location, ambience and beauty.
The location could be that the resort offers a short transfer journey from the airport or train station, making it ideal for families with young children.
Or it could be a smaller traditional alpine village which links into a large ski area which allows you to get the best of both worlds – a quiet location with access to a wide variety of terrain.
Alternatively, it may be a small stand-alone alpine village where the tranquillity, less crowded slopes, budget-friendly accommodation, lift passes, equipment hire and instruction more than make up for the reduced number of pistes.
These smaller resorts have often been built around traditional and historic alpine villages which are surrounded by untouched natural beauty. They have an intimate atmosphere and more of a community spirit created by the longstanding families that run the local businesses such as the bars, restaurants, accommodation, ski schools, and equipment hire stores.
Snow-covered mountains are always majestic, but a resort can be a ‘hidden gem’ because it has a unique beauty. This may come from an awe-inspiring view, or the way the sun creates an alpenglow – the reddish radiance seen on the summits of mountains just before sunrise or just after sunset.
Showcasing Examples in Europe and North America
Here are just a few examples of ‘hidden gems’ in Europe and North America you can find on the skiline.co.uk website where there are plenty more to choose from.
Tell the specialists at Ski Line what you are looking for and they will help you find something special.
Canillo is a small, quiet resort in the Grandvalira ski area with a few of its own runs and a chairlift link that gives skiers and snowboarders easy access to the vast Grandvalira area.
This traditional village of Alpbach has often been named one of the most beautiful locations in Austria. The ski area has 145km of pistes.
Ski resorts in Bulgaria are ‘hidden gems’ in terms of their value for money. Although Bansko cannot offer a similar charm to its European neighbours, skiers and snowboarders can get everything they need on and off the slopes for a much lower cost.
Valloire & Valmeinier, France
Val di Fassa, Italy
Local skiing in the villages of Canazei, Campitello and Pozza can be combined with access to the enormous Dolomites Super ski area. All this with a backdrop of the stunning Dolomites scenery.
Les Crosets, Switzerland
Another alpine hamlet with a charm of its own which links into the massive Franco/Swiss Ports du Soleil area. Les Crosets original farming heritage is reflected in its traditional wooden architecture and offers a cosier atmosphere than larger ski resorts.
Big White, Canada
Big White in British Columbia is an example of a more modern ‘hidden gem’. Skiers and snowboarders can use the main street through the resort to get to and from their accommodation. Plus, every lift offers a slope to suit all abilities. And there are numerous other activities on offer and après ski opportunities.
Winter Park, USA
Although Winter Park does not seem to immediately spring to mind when British skiers and snowboarders talk about Colorado ski areas, it should do. The panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains and the terrain in the legendary Mary Jane area are just two of many features which make Winter Park a ‘hidden gem’ that needs discovering.
Seeking Out Those Hidden Gems: A Summary
The term “hidden gem” for ski resorts is commonly overused, but authentic treasures do exist, requiring a discerning eye to find them. These gems, distinguishable by factors like location, ambience, and beauty, include examples such as Canillo in Andorra, Alpbach in Austria, Bansko in Bulgaria, Valloire & Valmeinier in France, Val di Fassa in Italy, Les Crosets in Switzerland, Big White in Canada, and Winter Park in the USA. These destinations may offer short transfer journeys, traditional alpine villages, or small stand-alone villages with tranquillity and budget-friendly options. The Ski Line specialists can assist in discovering these unique destinations tailored to individual preferences.
Chat with our experts
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