Top 5 Quiet and Affordable Hidden Gem Ski Resorts to Visit in Europe

24 April, 2024 22 min read

Crowds of ski enthusiasts flock to Europe’s popular ski resorts year after year. Europe is home to some of the largest and most notable ski resorts in the world, but there are many under-the-radar ski resorts in Europe that offer excellent skiing on quieter slopes at more affordable prices.

If you are looking for a cheap and cheerful escape to the mountains, away from the crowds, then look no further. We have rounded up some of Europe’s best hidden gem ski resorts to help inspire your next wintery adventure. Little on price but not on ski area, all of these top hidden gem ski resorts have at least 50km of pistes to enjoy and you won’t need to worry about a long lift queue! 

1. Le Grand Bornand, France

Ski area size: 90km
Day ski pass price: 45 euros

le grand bornand

Le Grand Bornand is a traditional ski resort located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in France. Sat at 1,300m, the charming village is divided into two sections and accommodation mainly consists of picturesque Savoyard-style chalets. Le Grand Bornand offers 90km of pistes, with the highest point reaching 2,100m at the top of Mont Lachat. In addition to the mixed-ability pistes, the resort has some challenging off-piste skiing areas and an excellent snow park. Le Grand Bornand is linked with La Clusaz, Manigod and St Jean de Sixt to create the Les Aravis ski area which offers 230km of pistes if you want to explore further afield. Only an hour drive from Geneva Airport, Le Grand Bornand makes an excellent location for a short ski trip

Book ski lessons in Le Grand Bornand! 

2. La Clusaz, France

Ski area size: 132km
Day ski pass price: 52 euros

La Clusaz

Just 10 minutes by ski bus from Le Grand Bornand, the equally quaint village of La Clusaz is another affordable ski resort in the Aravis mountain range (though it is perhaps a bit less under-the-radar than its neighbour). With 132km of local slopes to enjoy reaching up to 2,600m, La Clusaz offers excellent skiing that is particularly suited to beginners and intermediates. For advanced skiers looking for a thrill, La Clusaz boasts excellent off-piste skiing as well as a run with one of the biggest vertical drops in the area at 1,500m! The charming town features a range of accommodation types for all budgets and has a selection of excellent eateries and shops to enjoy when the ski day comes to a close. 

Book ski lessons in La Clusaz!

3. Pila, Italy

Ski area size: 70km
Day ski pass price: 53 euros

Pila

Just a short 17-minute gondola ride from the historic Roman town of Aosta lies the laid-back Italian ski resort of Pila. Boasting views of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc, Pila is perched at a high altitude of 1,800m. The modern, purpose-built resort offers plenty of accommodation with easy access to the slopes, so you can ski right to your door. With an authentic Italian feel, this small ski resort is easy-going but big on skiing! With 70km of pistes between 1,800m-2,725m, including plenty of wide, rolling slopes and winding tree runs, Pila is a playground for intermediate skiers and snowboarders. The quiet slopes mean you can spend more time skiing and less time queuing for lifts, which is a big bonus!  

Book ski lessons in Pila!

4. Les Houches, France

Ski area size: 55km
Day ski pass price: 54 euros

Les Houches

Only 6 km away from the popular resort of Chamonix, you will find the charming village of Les Houches tucked away at the foot of Mont Blanc. Les Houches has 55km of local slopes reaching up to 1,800m, but it is also covered by the regional Mont Blanc pass with access to 100km of pistes. Les Houches is a quiet village that retains its traditional Alpine charm and is an affordable base from which to discover the rest of the Chamonix Valley. Buses run between Les Houches and Chamonix all evening, which means you can enjoy some lively après ski in the neighbouring town if you fancy it. When it comes to skiing, Les Houches is perfect for beginner and intermediate skiers as well as those seeking off-piste thrills and pretty tree-lined runs. The Tramway du Mont Blanc, one of France’s last mountain rack-rail trains, is a must-do activity if you are visiting!

Book ski lessons in Les Houches!

5. La Thuile, Italy

Ski area size: 152km
Day ski pass price: 55 euros

La Thuile

Deep in the heart of the Aosta Valley, La Thuile is a quiet and affordable resort with an impressive ski area. Sitting at 1,440m, the former mining town has a charming traditional centre with a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and has expanded to include a modern lift-base complex across the river. La Thuile is connected to the neighbouring French resort of La Rosière to form the Espace San Bernardo ski area which offers 152km of slopes between 1,200m-2,800m. There is plenty of excellent skiing for all ability levels in La Thuile, but the ski area is especially suited to intermediate and advanced skiers. With cheap and cheerful eateries, family-friendly amenities, cosy bars, an excellent lift system and cross-border skiing, La Thuile really has it all! 

Book ski lessons in La Thuile! 

It’s Time to Start Planning Your Next Ski Trip! 

These hidden gem ski resorts are some of the best in Europe for skiers looking for quiet slopes at affordable prices. In fact, they are so good that they won’t stay so ‘hidden’ for long. So be sure to beat the crowds and make the most of the excellent, affordable skiing in these charming alpine ski resorts while you still can!

You might also like: Skiing on a Budget: How to Save Money on a Ski Trip

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