Whether you’re a pro skier or novice looking to head to the slopes for the first time, it’s all about location, powder to the max, and après-ski action. Sure, we’ve all heard of Jackson Hole, Hunter Mountain, and Park City, but beyond the popular Rocky Mountain and Northeast ski resorts, there are some hidden gems waiting to be discovered that are every bit as luxurious— and way less crowded. Enjoy our curated guide to the best under-the-radar ski resorts in Europe and Scandinavia, along with our Travel Curator Après Ski Spotify playlist created by our resident music guru DJ California Star.
The Resort: Baqueira-Beret—a ski resort in a remote region of the northern Pyrenees, in the Aran Valley is about a three-hour drive from Barcelona, the nearest airport. The largest winter resort in Spain, it might not get the attention of the Alps when it comes to skiing in Europe, but there are plenty of perks to this hidden gem. For one, it’s less expensive than the likes of France and Switzerland but the views are just as breathtaking. Plus, its secluded location means fewer lines, and well, if anyone knows how to have fun it’s the Spanish. Fun fact: since its opening in 1964, Baqueira-Beret has also been the ultimate ski spot of Spanish royalty.
Après-ski: Hitting the slopes is only half the fun at Baqueira-Beret, there are lots of other snow adventures to enjoy. There’s also no shortage of cafés and restaurants nearby, too, like Bar Bosque, where you can warm up with hot chocolate and crepes. For dinner, head to Cinco Jotas Grill Baqueira, a gastronomic refuge where you can dine indoors by a cozy open fire or on the outdoor terrace.
Where to Stay: If you’re looking for a place to stay close to the slopes, the five-star Val de Neu G.L. is located within the heart of Baqueira-Beret and boasts luxurious rooms and suites with stunning views of the ski slopes. The cozy setup includes a neutral color palette of white, beige, grays, and browns, and select decor with Swarovski diamonds. In addition, there’s a gym, four restaurants, and a spa with a Jacuzzi overlooking the view of the Valley of Ruda. Treat your tired ski legs to the Sports Massage for muscle recovery or the Sisley VIP Phytoaromatic Facial, to boost that high altitude hydration and radiance.
Ski Resort: Located in the Trentino region of northern Italy, Folgaria opened in the 1930s and remains one of Italy’s best-kept ski secrets. Around two hours from Verona airport, you’ll be greeted with an unspoiled mountain village that’s perfect for beginner and intermediate skiers. The small-town feel and Italian charm of the space add to the allure—and Folgaria rivals other big-name Italian ski resorts such as Cortina and Madonna di Campiglio in Italy, with 22 lifts, 800 meters of vertical descent, and 33 pistes.
Après-ski: As you’d expect from an Italian ski resort there’s a rich food culture in the great highlands of Trentino. Stop by John Caffe for a coffee break and relax by the fireside, then visit Rifugio Stella d’Italia for the region’s famous Vezzena cheese. For more dining options, head over to the Igloo Ski Bar and the Bar La Calkera.
Where to Stay: Just a short walk from the Folgaria ski slopes is the Blu Hotel Natura & Spa. A chic and cozy hotel with a focus on health and wellness treatments, the main structure of the building is made entirely of wood and the common areas celebrate the four elements of nature (water, fire, earth, and air). The hotel also has a gourmet restaurant on-site, offering elevated buffet breakfast and dinner (table service and drinks included), and a swimming pool with a hot tub.
Ski Resort: Trysil may well be Norway’s largest ski resort, but it’s still considered an “under-the-radar” hotspot. The ski area is about two-and-a-half hours from Oslo, and just about 45 minutes from the Scandinavian Mountains, so expect epic views. You’ll also have access to around 70 slopes and 100km of cross-country ski trails. Adding a cute Euro touch, the super friendly staff, all dressed in distinctive red suits are on-site to guide you with insider tips and answer questions.
Après-ski: Enjoy Norway’s thriving nightlife at a local bar or restaurant like Laaven. Or hang out at Trysil resort and enjoy the perks of the location: there are over 30 eateries serving all manner of local and international cuisines from pizza to Asian bowls, sushi, burgers, and fondue. For a local fix head to Kveik, a brewpub, and restaurant that serves Nordic food and craft beer. Other Après-ski activities worth traveling for is a dogsledding session with Fjell-Huskies Norway or a guided snowshoe hike with Wolverine Adventure.
Where to Stay: In Trysil, a convenient stay at the Radisson Blu Mountain Resort & Residences will see you bedding down right outside the ski slopes. The property has a pool, spa, bars, and cafes. Or try Radisson Blu Resort also within the ski slope area. With six restaurants and bars, several pools, a spa, a bowling alley, chic boutiques, and a modern gym, it has everything you need in one spot.
Ski Resort: If you’re planning to visit Finland for skiing, Levi is an underrated gem with all the scenic beauty of the alps without the crowds. The resort has 43 ski slopes, 27 lifts and is ideal for experts and beginners. Easily accessible from Kittilä Airport, just 15 minutes away, aside from being a premier ski and snowboarding destination, Levi is a great year-round adventure park filled with activities such as biking, tennis, trampoline, miniature golf, and more.
Après-ski: A popular activity in Levi is a snowmobile ride—and you can book a session with Get Your Guide for a fun way to enjoy the wintry scenery. Another adventure to try in the ski resort is fat biking, aka riding an electric or non-electric mountain bike with extra-wide tires. As for food, for lunch, tuck into a warm bowl of soup at Café Zero, and for dinner, visit Sivakka next to the Levi South chair lift. The cozy space, decorated with retro skiing gear, offers freshly-baked buns, french fries, burgers.
Where to Stay: For a dreamy view of the Northern Lights, check out the on-site Sky Suite Deluxe, a luxe space with a separate bedroom and living room, two bathrooms, and a private sauna. Enjoy star (and Aurora) gazing, catching the midnight sun, or autumn foliage, depending on the time of year you’re there. Sweet dreams are made of this.
Après-Ski Playlist: Travel Curator’s resident DJ California Star and self-confessed snow bunny (Cali spins the decks at Cloud 9, the luxe ski-in/ski-out Alpine bistro in Aspen) has created the perfect Après-ski soundtrack, so pull off your ski boots, grab a hot toddy and hit the dance floor. Or cure that luxe ski lodge wanderlust by rocking around your living room imagining snow-capped mountains.