If you can't decide between the vast 3 Valleys of France or the handsome, church-topped towns of the Austrian Tyrol for your next ski chalet holiday, this guide can help you pinpoint the resort that's perfect for you.
Holiday chalets in France
France has long magnetised British sportsters in the winter. Chalets here are among the most opulent and well appointed in Europe, with room enough for whole families and large parties right by the pistes of some seriously amazing resorts.
The 3 Valleys for wonderful ski chalet holidays
For terrain-hungry skiers, there's arguably nowhere in the world that can beat the great domain of the 3 Valleys. A cluster of 8 individual resorts feeds into the vast area, which clocks up a mind-blowing 370 miles of linked terrain. Look for your pad in altitudinous Val Thorens if you want to be certain of snow coverage, or head to much-loved Meribel for a taste of alpine Savoyard life in the peaks.
Pick holiday chalets in Chamonix
A ski chalet holiday in Chamonix pays homage to the home of downhill winter sports. It was in this crevice of the Haute-Savoie, right on the cusp of Italy and Switzerland, that the first daring riders perfected the art of carving. These days, ski pilgrims still come by the bucket load to skim down the runs above Grands Montets and Les Houches, but others come to wonder at the outline of Mont Blanc – the highest peak in Western Europe.
A holiday chalet in Val-d'Isère
Val-d'Isère fuses hedonism on the slopes with stylish life in its haute-cuisine restaurants and chic cocktail bars. You should find a good array of luxurious chalets here, many offering ski-in, ski-out access to the runs of the Espace Killy domain – one of the largest in France.
Ski chalet holidays in Austria
Preferring hearty mountain towns and traditional Alpine architecture to France's high-rise apartment blocks and vibrant party resorts, Austria offers a more romantic and authentic winter wonderland atmosphere. Some of the most celebrated places to seek out holiday chalets here are listed below.
Mayrhofen's ski chalet holidays
Not many resorts in Europe can offer the same full package of après and world-class riding as Mayrhofen. Set deep in the Zillertal Valley, it's a handsome town with flower-blooming Alpine homes lining its cobbled streets. When you aren't cracking local Austrian beers on the balcony of your private chalet, you could be riding the glacier of Hintertux, which is so high that it offers skiable terrain 365 days of the year.
Sölden has epic skiing
Sölden is the skiing paradise of the great Ötztal Valley. The town itself is strung out along a babbling river, fringed with timber-gabled chalets that boast walking access to the gondolas. The mountain looms to the west, covered with zig-zagging slopes that weave down from not 1 but 2 glacial ski fields, more than 2,000 metres above.
A challenge in the Tyrol in St Anton am Arlberg
If moguls and speedy black-rated runs are your sort of ski playground then the resort of St Anton am Arlberg might just come up trumps – it's considered one of the most challenging places to ride in Austria. A link to the nearby resort of Lech Zürs means there are now countless ski chalet rentals to pick from, too.
Book ski chalet holidays across Europe
France and Austria aren't the only corners of Europe's peaks where the traditional ski chalet holiday is alive and kicking. Check out the 3 places below for enticing alternatives.
Never forget Switzerland
Switzerland is the final piece in the puzzle of Europe's 3 major ski destinations. And why not? It's virtually covered from head to toe in mountains, hosting some of the most iconic resorts in the world. Chalets can be pricier here, but also pretty luxurious. To share piste space with jet setters, consider looking to St Moritz or stylish Zermatt, which sits in the shadow of the gnarled Matterhorn.
Italy has holiday chalets for skiing
While you might think of Italy as more of a summer destination, the regions of Aosta, Trentino and South Tyrol are much more akin to the country's alpine brothers. They host sprawling resorts like the Val Gardena – famed for the 16-mile Sella Ronda ski circuit – and Breuil-Cervinia, which creeps up on the south side of the Matterhorn.
Poland for a bargain ski chalet holiday
Down in the deep south of Poland, where the Tatra Mountains rise like a wall against the border with Slovakia, the so-called Winter Capital of Zakopane makes its home. Ski fields like Kasprowy Wierch and Bialka Tatrzanska offer the best riding of all, with great runs for beginners and accomplished ski schools. Chalet-wise, you get to enjoy the earthy character of the Polish “gorale” timber-built lodges, which have sloping roofs and warming fireplaces.