[TRAVEL] 10 Of The Closest Ski Resorts To The UK

STORY BY Patrick Thorne 5th October 2016
 If you’re desperate to get skiing or boarding, the worst thing can be the time it takes to get there. Especially on those days when you start early in the morning but arrive in resort sometime after lunch, just too late for it to be worth getting out on the slopes on your arrival day. How annoying! 

But some ski areas are closer than others to Blighty, simply by being near to an airport so after a short flight you can quickly be out on the slopes – particularly if you’ve brought your own gear (or arranged for it to be waiting for you at your accommodation or in the rental shop, as is increasingly possible these days) and pre-booked your lift pass.

Here are ten destinations you can get to quickly (times quoted are travel only and don’t allow for you to waste time collecting baggage, going to the toilet, breathing etc…):

Igls

Igls, Austria (2 hours, 15 minutes) 

Few ski resorts can claim to be less than 10km from the airport but as you fly in to Innsbruck, two hours from London you can pretty much look out of the window and wave to people on the chairlifts as you come in to land. Well that’s a minor (and slightly alarming) exaggeration but you get the idea.

Igls is one of more than half-a-dozen mid-sized ski areas surrounding Innsbruck and all on one lift pass.  The terrain is mostly benign but there’s a historic black run where Franz Klammer took gold in the 1976 Olympics, It’s a 15 minute transfer here from the airport.  Inghams offer package holidays here.

It should be noted that several other resorts like Seefeld are not much further away.

Cairngorm_590396_Funicular

Cairngorm, Scotland (2 hours, 17 minutes) 

If you live in a nation with ski resorts, many people don’t book months ahead as we do but wait for the snow to fall, then book and travel quick. We do have ski areas in the Scottish Highlands and they sometimes have great snow but we often forget about them and miss out on the great snow on our doorstep when it’s there.

So yes this is a bit of a cheat as already within the UK, but you can fly to Inverness from a number of airports including Gatwick and Luton with EasyJet and Manchester with FlyBE, flight times are usually around 60-90 minutes. Once you arrive at Inverness though it’s either the buses or an expensive 48 mile taxi journey to Cairngorm. A hire car may be the most viable and you can do the drive in about an hour.

VALLEE BLANCHE CREDIT CHAMONIX MONT BLANC TOURIST OFFICE_and_Eric Berger

Chamonix, France (2 hours, 25 minutes) 

One of the world’s most famous resorts is also one of the easiest to reach, is there a connection?

“There are endless cheap Gatwick-Geneva flights, meaning you can easily go after work and very cheaply, then pick up a hire car at the airport in seconds, so you can drive straight to Chambre Neuf for last orders Friday night, or Argentiere car park for first skiing Saturday,” Says Richard Sinclair of specialist ski holiday travel agency Sno.co.uk

Geneva is a one hour, 35 minute flight from London then it’s a 50 minute drive to Chamonix so long as you avoid busy times.

10-of-the-closest-ski-resorts-to-the-uk-credit-crans-montana-patburgenernicovuignier_ruedifluck

 

Crans Montana, Switzerland (2 hours, 26 minutes) 

If you can get on a flight to Sion airport you can be in Crans Montana, 25km away, in a little over half an hour by taking the train to Sierre and then the Sierre Crans-Montana funicular, a 36 minute combined trip.

Finding the flight to Sion can be the tricky bit but  Swiss Airlines are running a special servicer from London City next February 2017 during the half term holidays with departures on the 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th.

Back to Bavaria CREDIT Crystal and Ruhpolding (4)

Ruhpolding, Germany, (2 hours, 35 minutes) 

Salzburg Airport is just under two hours from the UK and there are dozens of Austrian ski areas just an hour to 90 minutes away.  But heading north west in to the Bavarian Alps is closer still and the German ski resort of Ruhpolding is just a 40 minute transfer.  Crystal Ski offer holidays there.

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Oslo Vinterpark, Norway (2 hours, 38 minutes) 

Flights to Oslo from London, Manchester, Birmingham or Edinburgh take around one hour, 45 minutes and the capital has a great little ski area at Tryvann up on the hill above.

You can reach there in 58 minutes by a combination of fast airport train, tram and a short shuttle the last mile or in 48 minutes by a rather more expensive taxi or rental car.

flaine_573302_twolifts

Morillon, France (2 hours, 40 minutes) 

The Grand Massif is one of the closest major ski areas to Geneva and after that 95 minute flight its only just over an hour’s transfer to Morillon, one of the traditional villages on the outside of the huge snowy bowl that’s home to Flaine.  Simply whizz to Morillon then take the lift up and ski on down in to that huge snowy Mecca. Peak Retreats offer holidays there.

    chamrousse 20_19 copyright Jako Martinet

Chamrousse, France (2 hours, 55 minutes) 

For a ski resort that’s not only quick to reach but also cheap to get to and stay in, the 1968 winter Olympic Resort of Chamrousse is hard to beat.  Expect to pay about a third less for your lift pass (and most other aspects of your holiday) that at the big name French resorts too.

It’s a one hour, 45 minute flight to Grenoble from London and  A taxi or hire car should get you from there to resort in just over an hour, alternatively Bens Bus can transfer you there at a very reasonable cost in 1 hour 15 minutes.

Sierra Nevada, Spain, (3 hours 25 minutes) 

If you’re hoping to get a little further, the BA flight to Granada airport in southern Spain does take longer (2 hours, 35 minutes on the plane), but you’re then only 50 minutes by taxi or rental car from the superb ski area of Sierra Nevada, Spain’s highest and with slopes looking out over the Med.

If you want to save a lot of money but take a few minutes longer take the bus from the airport to Granada then change coaches for the bus up the mountain.  Ski Weekends offer holidays to Sierra Nevada this season.

Nov Diary 13 Levi (2)

Levi, Lapland, Finland (3 hours, 50 minutes) 

Another of the more distant choices from the UK Levi gets a mention as once you’ve made the flight to Kittila airport (and there’s a new charter there from Gatwick with Thomson Airways serving Crystal Ski Holidays this winter) it’s only a 20 minute transfer to Finland’s largest resort.  The flight is around  three and a half hours to make the 2,000 mile trip though so that bit takes a while.

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