These ski resorts are Europe’s best-kept secrets
(CNN)European ski resorts are legion and often legendary.
But are there some alpine aces we’ve all missed? Are there any secret treasures out there, quietly delivering the goods while the spotlight falls elsewhere?
The trouble is, one person’s hidden gem is another’s back yard.
And if it’s still hidden now, in 2016, can it really be much of a gem?
Only one way to find out — get on the road and explore.
Pralognan la Vanoise
Pralognan la Vanoise is full of Savoyard authenticity.
Why? Authentic village, rich mountain culture, high alpine splendor, modern agenda.
What Pralognan lacks in mileage compared to the nearby megalopolis of Les Trois Vallees, it makes up for in Savoyard soul.
Hiding at the end of a steep-sided valley under the imposing 3,855-meter Grand Casse, pretty Pralognan is an authentic Savoie village — unlike the purpose-built bling of nearby Courchevel — at the heart of the Vanoise National Park.
The compact ski area rises from 1,410 meters to 2,355 meters and offers 26 kilometers of groomed slopes and 12 lifts.
For the energetic, Pralognan is prime Nordic and ski touring territory onto the Glaciers de la Vanoise.
Budding skips and sweepers can try out the curling venue from the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics.
What else? It’s possible to tap into the Savoyard source — not by drinking the local firewater — but by riding the Genepi chairlift to the rustic Refuge des Balmettes, a cozy mountain restaurant at 2,010 meters with lodging for a night high up among the peaks and plunging valleys of the Vanoise.