What you can expect to pay when flying with your winter stuff in Europe.
Latest update: December 2017
- easyJet: snowboard 20kg +42eur one way
- Ryanair: ski equipment 20kg +40eur one way
- Transavia: ski equipment 15kg +29eur one way
- Wizz Air: sports equipment +30eur one way
- Blue Air: sports equipment 32kg +30eur one way, bag +15eur one way
If you don’t feel like flying:
This idea probably never came to your mind, but you can find great freeride in Slovakia. And this is how!
Jasná is located in Low Tatras mountains. There’s also High Tatras range nearby, but it doesn’t have much infrastructure.
When you’re there, you want to go to the top station (Chopok, 2024m) and then walk along the ridge towards the Ďumbier peak, 2043m, or in the opposite direction, towards the Dereše peak, 2003m. You should pick a slope depending on snow conditions and your level: the northern side facing Liptovsky Mikulaš (left on the map) offers plenty of steep and narrow couloirs, and the southern side (right on the map) is for less technical and arguably more fun rides.
We’ve been there in the end of a very warm February, the snow wasn’t fresh at all, but we still managed to find some fields of spring snow and leave our lines there. Our favorite ride starts beneath the Ďumbier peak and goes towards Kosodrevina through the field, then (optionally) young firs, and then with a long couloir almost to the Srdiečko station, so you get your 800m+ of descent easily.
Forest near Srdiečko might be challenging and not steep enough for boarders, so if you don’t feel like walking through it, you can stop in the middle of the route and walk the trail to Kosodrevina station instead.
P.S. As a bonus you’ll probably meet lots of wild chamois on your way!
One of the best freeride routes on Hintertuxer Gletscher, with a total descent of 1000 or 1750m.
Starting at the Hintertux top station Gefrorene Wand, take piste 4 and descend about 200m, then turn right, first crossing the old double chairlift Gefrorene Wand 3b and then the Gletscherbus 3 line. You may need to walk 50m here.
Keep traversing, and cross over the mini-ridge steeply descending into the wide valley. Now you can enjoy over 1 km of the 30-degree glacier terrain!
At the bottom of the valley gain speed and keep left to return to the slope leading to Sommerbergalm station.
Another option is to take to the right and continue to Talstation Hintertux. Follow the right bank of the creek and the marked summer route if you can find it. The ride through the forest is quite technical and not exactly snowboard-friendly but very fun.
Be aware of the avalanche conditions as well as crevasses on the glacier. If you decide to go to the valley, keep away from the gorge.
Hintertux is located at the far end of Zillertal valley, which itself is one huge ski area with a single Superskipass.
Our preferred way of getting there — by train via Munich.
More offpiste routes nearby
Probably the nearest place to Berlin; one-day trip from 67eur.
- Skipass, 26eur
- Train Berlin > Am Bahnhof, Oberwiesenthal, from 50eur return
- 1-day bus tours with Prima Klima, cheap but rough: 5am departure, late return, 67eur bus + skipass
- Car, from 60eur for gas (check BlaBlaCar)
Fichtelberg, Saxonia: http://www.fichtelberg-ski.de/winter/panoramakarte/
Klínovec, Czechia: https://klinovec.cz/
Similar to Klínovec / Fichtelberg, but reachable only by car, 4+ hour drive.
- Car, gas from 60eur/person
- Accommodation, from 30eur/night
- Skipass, 28eur/day
Inexpensive accommodation and food, reasonable skipass rates.
The place offers mostly prepared pistes, but there should be some freeride runs possible after the snow cover is established.
Usual season opening: mid-December.
See also www.skiareal.cz
A fairytale destination, but requires some advanced transport planning… or a car.
- Train to Bad Harzburg and back: from 50eur
- Local bus: ?
- 1-day ski pass: 32eur
Up to 400m altitude difference; opens mid-December, good snow cover probably since late January.
When there is little snow in the region or in peak times Braunlage may become really crowded, up to the total absence of parking spots. So better come by the opening time.
A weekend or longer trip, more expensive but still relatively on budget.
Lots of them! Just to name a few: Hintertux in Zillertal, Kitzsteinhorn at Zell am See, Söll, Herzogstand, Dammkar, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
- Train: from 150eur return trip
- Skipass: from 50eur/day
- Accommodation: from 60eur
Itineraries by train (to Munich)
A suitable EuroNight (sleeper) train via Hannover leaves at 19:49 and arrives at 7:05.
Return: EuroNight via Mannheim, 20:44 > 06:06.
December: ~150eur return w/o BahnCard, 120eur with BahnCard 25
January: 104eur with BahnCard 25
There’s also an option to save some money by going back on Monday during the day on ICE train.
Itineraries by plane (to Munich)
Now there’s only direct Lufthansa option from ~150eur return flight + 50eur skis (see KIWI).
Itineraries to resorts
- Mayrhofen: 2.5hr away by train from Munich Hbf, 44eur return.
- Söll: 1.5hr away by train (from Munich Hbf to Wörgl Hbf), 52eur return.
- A couple of nice places in Bavaria reached best by car, e.g. Herzogstand, Dammkar.
- Garmisch-Partenkirchen & Zugspitze: ~1.5hr by train from Munich Hbf to Garmisch + ~1hr Zahnradbahn to Zugspitze. There’s also a cheap overnight FlixBus from Berlin to Garmisch.
We have to say Garmisch and Zugspitze are slightly boring and overpriced. If you’re interested in having a beer on the highest point of Germany, go ahead, but otherwise, it makes sense to go there only after a really good snowfall.
Solid option for a 4+ day trip. We tested it in 2017.
Jasná Nízke Tatry — Chopok: great backcountry potential when the snow conditions are good!
- Train, 110eur return trip
- Skipass, 30eur/day
- Accommodation, from 30eur/day
Itineraries by train
Inexpensive EuroNight nonstop train 19:01 >> 05:36 and 23:01 >> 09:01 back.
Bratislava to Liptovský Mikuláš train 07:55 >> 12:15 13eur + local bus or taxi; 17:29 >> 21:13 back to Bratislava.
Also, an opportunity to go back on Monday during the day through Prague, EC every 2 hours.
Train tickets: Berlin<>Bratislava 78eur + Bratislava<>Mikulas 30eur = 110eur
Skipass: 5 days = 140eur (280eur for 2)
Accommodation: 5 days 2 people = 150-250eur
We stayed at Penzion Ajda (www.ajda.sk or Booking.com link).
If you choose EuroNight train, do pay attention when the conductor explains you safety rules. This is the only train on Earth where someone managed to steal our cash 🙂
In Jasná, if you’re willing to walk along the ridge from Chopok towards Ďumbier peak, you’ll find nice off-piste routes for any level even in spring and meet lots of wildlife, especially Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica.
Some downsides: local transport is underdeveloped. Mikuláš is far from the slopes, 30 minutes in a crowded skibus.
Note: avoid the French school holidays period (Feb 06 — Mar 06)!
Chamonix, Megeve, Nendaz (CH)
Direct flights by easyJet (KIWI).
— check snow report before travel and select the place accordingly?
I always have to google the name of this French non-profit organization with interesting packages, so I’ll write it down here: https://www.ucpa-vacances.com/ski/
Another great weekend+ option.
Direct flights by Ryanair (KIWI)
Fri 8:00 PM – 9:45 PM >>
Mon 8:40 AM – 10:25 AM <<
Taking Monday off, riding on Saturday and Sunday, staying 2 nights in Bergamo.
Car rent: 3 days from 60eur.
Courmayeur: 220 km; cheap transfer should be available.
Unexpected destination, Venice is cheap to fly to in winter, so it’s a great port of entry on your way to Dolomites or Slovenian ski resorts.
Makes sense in case of Friday+Monday off.
Something in Slovenia?
Ryanair from 27 EUR (KIWI)
Val Gardena: 300 km (4 hr drive) from Venice.
Car hire: 3 days from 80eur.
A rare combo of sea and snow in one weekend.
Sierra Nevada: very sunny, best snow presumably in January
Itinerary by plane
easyJet from 100eur (KIWI)
SXF>AGP: Fri evening
AGP>SXF Mon evening
Sierra Nevada: 160km by car.
Car hire: 3 days from 70eur.
A bit wild but super authentic, good for 4-5 days’ trip.
Bakuriani: 2.5 hours by taxi from Kutaisi
http://ski.ru/az/blogs/post/iz-bakuriani-s-lyubovyu/ (in Russian)
Plane from 100eur, Wizz Air direct (KIWI).
EU citizens do not need a visa.
To be explored…
- Sofia, Bulgaria (direct afternoon flight by Ryanair): Bansko (2.5 hours by shuttle, 40eur return)
- Barcelona, Spain (direct flights)
- Grenoble, France (no direct flights but this is a great base anyway)
Requires some additional research.