Skiing goes way back, probably thousands of years, as a way for people to travel on snow. But skiing as a sport can be credited to the Norwegians, who held the first skiing and ski jump competitions in the 1800s. In Europe, once city-dwellers could easily reach Alpine villages by train, ski resorts were born.
The European Alps remain one of the top ski destinations in the world, stretching over 750 miles across eight countries, including Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. These are Europe's highest mountains, with famous peaks such as the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. They are the site of many of the Winter Olympic Games. Quaint villages nestle among snowcapped peaks, their residents enduring long winters - which mean long ski seasons - and often maintaining strong cultural identities.
There are over 3,000 ski resorts in Europe. How to choose one? European Best Destinations, a Brussels-based travel organization that promotes tourism in Europe, gathered votes from travelers and travel agencies to narrow down the favorites. Here are a few of the top ski destinations in Europe.