Åre ski resort
The Swedish resort of Åre is the most popular in Scandinavia and one of Northern Europe’s biggest. The resort’s long standing reputation as a world-class ski site continues to grow, with the resort being named the host of the 2007 and upcoming 2019 World Ski Championships - making it the first resort to stage a major winter sports competition twice this century.
The slopes, traditionally accessed by overnight trains from the capital Stockholm (many people still enjoy arriving this way), boast terrain for every ability level, including international standard downhill runs and extensive off-piste options. Easy and intermediate slopes are also available, many of them floodlit for use in the dark Scandinavian winter.
The pleasant village area, exhibiting a traditional Swedish blend of colourful buildings, has spread along the banks of Åre Lake, and now boasts numerous restaurants, shops, bars and clubs for those looking for a lively après-ski scene.
However, the resort is also an excellent choice for families with young children, with an excellent ski centre offering tuition for children of all ages and gentle runs where families can ski together.
Åre is located in the county of Jämtland, which borders Norway, about midway on Sweden's north-south axis. The resort is situated 80km (50 miles) from the city of Östersund.
ÅreResort Elevation: 372m
Top Elevation: 1274m
Base Elevation: 421m
On the slopes
All of Åre's slopes are located on the mountainsides rising up from Åre Lake, but not all the ski centres are interlinked. The lift system is modern, and although there's a high number of T-bar drag lifts, the proportion of chairlifts continues to grow, with three large chairlifts recently installed.
The Duved sector is excellent for intermediate skiers, with several runs offering smooth but fast skiing. Central Åre has many slopes that are well adapted to intermediates, but this is also where the steepest runs are located. It is on central Åre's black pistes, as well as in the off-piste areas – particularly the so-called 'Backside' – that advanced skiers find their greatest challenges.
The ski school offers instruction for all ages and levels (starting at three years of age), and the resident instructors speak English. Once confident, beginners can head to Duved, Ullådalen and Åre Björnen, where there are wide and easy runs for those looking to take their first forays onto the slopes.The off-piste skiing in Åre is among the best in Scandinavia. In addition, Tegefjäll has excellent tree runs. Freestylers, meanwhile, can try out their latest tricks in the SkiStar snow park in the centre of Åre.
The ski season in Åre runs from late November until early May, with snow cover reliable throughout the season. Ski hire outlets are located near the slopes.