Coolest new hotels
1. The Montpelier
The hotelier behind Verbier’s chic Cordée des Alpes (hotelcordee.com) and Nevai (hotelnevai.com) hotels — as well as the cool Farm Club nightclub — has taken over and refurbished a 50-room family-friendly hotel in the centre of the resort. The Montpelier will have large rooms with a bright, homely style and rates per night starting from a reasonable £176 per room, B&B.
Details: A seven-night stay is from £1,232 per room, B&B (montpelierverbier.ch). EasyJet return flights to Geneva are from about £65
2. Adler Mountain Lodge
Val Gardena, Italy
Half-way up the mountain at 1,800m in the middle of a piste in the charming resort of Val Gardena in the Italian Dolomites, Adler Mountain Lodge is a new boutique 30-room hotel (adler-lodge.com). This is seriously stylish, with an unfussy, minimalist look: larch and spruce wood fittings with the occasional throw rug, designer lights and huge beds. There’s also a spa with an infinity pool, plus a huge lounge with a fireplace and a restaurant featuring local dishes.
Details: A seven-night full-board stay in a junior suite with flights to Innsbruck and transfers is from £2,185pp (020 3582 4990,originaltravel.co.uk)
3. Nira Montana
La Thuile, Italy
Nira Hotels are run by the Indian-born hotelier Navinder Puri and can be found in locations as varied as the Engadine Valley in Switzerland, Edinburgh, Mauritius and Tanzania. The latest is Nira Montana, which is opening in December in the popular resort of La Thuile, from where it’s possible to ski across to France. This will be the resort’s first five-star hotel, with 55 rooms in a minimalist style plus a slick spa.
Details: B&B rooms are from about £160 a night (nirahotelsandresorts.com). Ryanair flights to Turin, a 1h 40m transfer, are from about £55
4. Hotel Mama Thresl
Hotel Mama Thresl in the laid-back resort of Leogang has had a stylish summer makeover . It’s new motto is “where urban soul meets the Alps”, and the decor has a pared-down look with blonde wood floors, warehouse-style lights and a functional, industrial chic feel. Guests are provided with a GoPro camera for recording their exploits on the slopes, a free two-day ski pass for the Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm/Leogang ski area, two dinners in the hotel restaurant and a four-pack of Mama Thresl beer to take with them for the journey home.
Details: B&B for two is from €1,349 (£1,050) (00 43 6644313382,mama-thresl.com). Flights to Salzburg are from about £125 with BA (ba.com) and transfers for two people are from €130 one way
5. Hôtel des Dromonts
The designers of the completely revamped Hôtel des Dromonts have gone for a 1960s “mod style” with bright colours, plush carpets, scoop-shaped chairs and bedrooms with windows in a series of irregularly sized rectangles. The hotel has been taken over by the Sibuet family, who also run lively, chic hotels in Val Thorens and Megeve. It’s at 1,800m and is good for early and late-season snow. There’s an indoor pool, hammam and a sauna — plus a terrace with a hot-tub.
Details: Rooms are from €200 a night (maisons-hotels-sibuet.com). It’s an hour’s transfer from Geneva. Easyjet has flights from about £65
6. Le White
On the Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil ski area, Champery is a good choice for intermediate skiers and is surrounded by the dramatic peaks of the Dents du Midi. This winter it will have a new minimalist hotel, Le White, which is close to the ski slopes in Les Crosets and connected to the Domaine des Portes du Soleil by the Champéry-Planachaux cable car. Rooms come with free wi-fi and Nespresso machines.
Details: Rooms are from ChF350(£226), B&B (lewhite.ch). The transfer from Geneva airport is about 2 hours 20 minutes and easyJet has return flights from about £65
Best for families
7. Mark Warner opens at Zell am See
Mark Warner has a great new ski hotel for family skiing: the Mountain Lake Resort in Zell am See. The resort is made up of a collection of upmarket apartments with floor-to-ceiling windows, underfloor heating and mini-kitchens, although stays are on a chalet-board basis. It’s 150m to the centre of the lively village and the main lift is close by. A free evening crèche is provided and a kids’ club is available during the day at an extra cost.
Details: One week’s chalet board for a family of four with flights is from £2,788 (0844 2738074, markwarner.co.uk). Mark Warner also has a new family-friendly hotel opening in Tignes in France this winter: Chalet Hôtel L’Ecrin
8. Third beds in twin rooms at La Tania
Rather than require that customers with three children book two rooms for the kids — as some companies do, adding greatly to the bill — Mountain Heaven is allowing third beds in twin rooms for a weekly charge of just £199. This price is for a stay on a chalet-board basis. Mountain Heaven’s latest offering is Chalet Vallon Blanc in La Tania, a pretty hideaway at the top of the village with a sauna and a “media room” for watching films and playing computer games.
Details: One week’s chalet board is from £399pp off-peak, or from £599 during school holidays (0151 625 1921, mountainheaven.co.uk). Flights to Geneva are extra
9. Fun for kids in Ortisei
A large heated outdoor pool, a kids’ club and Lino World — a brilliant play area for youngsters — are among the treats for children at Cavallino Bianco in the Dolomites (cavallino-bianco.com). The hotel has spacious rooms in a traditional style and a choice of restaurants.
Details: A week’s half board for a family of two adults and two children is from £5,600 based on a seven-night stay in a family room, flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck, private transfers and childcare (020 3397 8450, snow-wise.com)
10. New Club Med in Val Thorens
The big new hotel opening in Europe’s highest ski resort — at 2,300m — is a Club Med right in the centre of Val Thorens. The colourful exterior is hard to miss, while inside there are more vibrant reds and oranges in the public areas, plus a flashy spa, kids’ club and a 10m climbing wall. Rooms are minimalist, with terrific mountain views.
Details: A week’s all-inclusive is from £1,439 per adult and £1,255 per child aged 4-14 departing on December 14 from Gatwick (08451 633 073, clubmed.co.uk)
11. New area at Les Arcs 1800
More than €36 million has been spent on developing a new ski area ready for the season ahead at Les Arcs 1800. The area is called “Mille 8” and it’s at the bottom of an area of exisiting slopes, connected to the extensive Paradiski area. The centrepiece will be an Aquafun Centre with an outdoor heated pool, hot tubs and massaging water jets. There will also be a toboggan trail with a tunnel, a freestyle skiing section, night skiing and a kids’ playground with igloos and a mini toboggan run.
Details: A week’s self-catering at Residence Le Belmont is from £459pp with flights and transfers (020 8544 6031, igluski.com)
Best new hotspots
12. Backdoor to Verbier from Bruson
Until last year you would seldom find anyone who’d heard of Bruson. That was until a gondola linking the village to the much fêted Verbier ski area was installed — and a boom in tourism is expected in the coming years. The village is quiet, offering a welcome escape from the frenzy found in big name resorts. Bruson also has its own small ski area, with pistes suited to intermediate skiers.
Details: Chalet Bruson (0041 795826995, mybruson.ch) has recently been refurbished and is from ChF1,500 for a week’s self-catering, based on two or three sharing. Swiss (swiss.com) return flights to Geneva are from £56
13. “Little Whistler” at Sun Peaks
Whistler in British Columbia gets most of the recognition for being the largest resort in North America, but Sun Peaks has been growing steadily in recent years and makes a good alternative — with less crowded lifts. The resort, which has been nicknamed “little Whistler”, has grown by 522 acres since last winter, with good areas of challenging, avalanche-controlled off-piste and runs suited to experts.
Details: Ski Independence (0131 5168097, ski-i.com) offers a week’s room-only at the four-star Sun Peaks Grand Hotel from £1,195pp including flights and transfers
14. Ski in Alaska at Alyeska
More than 50ft of snow falls each winter at the remote resort of Alyeska , so you’re unlikely to come across many muddy patches on its slopes. The skiing is suited to the advanced, although there are many runs for intermediates. The off-piste is particularly good, and there’s plenty of heli-skiing.
Details: Ski Safari (01273 224060, skisafari.com) has a week’s room-only with flights and transfers from £1,665pp, or it’s from £1,885pp for a 14-night trip of a lifetime covering Alyeska, Whistler and Los Angeles, on the same basis
15. Three-country skiing at Nauders
It’s possible to ski in three different countries in a week at Nauders, an ancient town with parts dating from medieval times — the impressive Schloss Naudersberg overlooks the town centre. Crystal Ski Holidays is offering the quiet resort for the first time this winter, effectively introducing it to British skiers. Lift queues are rare and there are decent runs for beginners and intermediates. The local ski pass also covers Bergkastel in Austria and Haider Alm in Italy, which are connected by bus — and it’s a taxi ride to Samnaun in Switzerland.
Details: A week’s half board at the four-star Hotel Erika, Nauders, costs from £609pp including flights and transfers (020 3733 1625,crystalski.co.uk)
16. Traditional resort at Maria Alm
For a more traditional lesser-known Austrian resort — with some tempting prices — try Maria Alm, part of the Hochkönig ski area, with about 125km of pistes. Thomson Ski has started offering good-value breaks at the pretty village, which is centred on a splendid church with the highest spire in Salzburgerland. Ski passes cover the Ski Amadé area, taking in more than 860km, so there are plenty of pistes to explore.
Details: A week’s B&B at the three-star Pension Annerlhof costs from £549pp including flights to Salzburg and transfers (020 9390738, thomsonski.co.uk)
17. Cross country at Bessans 1750
Cross-country skiers are spoilt for choice at Bessans 1750, a resort with 133km of trails that’s opening up to British skiers this winter. Peak Retreats has begun offering great-value self-catering in Le Clos Vanoise, a pair of chalets in the heart of the pretty Alpine village at the centre of the resort. The Alpine skiing at Bessans is very limited, but its cross-country skiing is some of the best anywhere — and it’s also a great spot for snow-shoe walking.
Details: A week’s self-catering costs from £112pp, based on five sharing, with Eurotunnel crossings (0844 5760123,peakretreats.co.uk)
Best for beginners
18. English instructors in El Tarter
Family skiing breaks in Andorra are recommended as the state is renowned for its good quality, English-speaking instructors. Neilson has added the Hotel del Clos in the quiet resort of El Tarter for the new season with some tempting packages. The hotel has simple but comfortable rooms and a large, bright lounge.
Details: One week’s half board, with return flights from Southampton, is from £588pp (0333 0143350, neilson.co.uk)
19. Quiet slopes at Salla
Crystal Ski is introducing direct flights from Manchester to Kussamo in northeastern Finland from December 21 to February 15 — from where there is access to the Finnish ski resorts of Ruka, Iso-Syote and Salla. There will also be the usual Gatwick flights. These quiet resorts are best suited to beginners and intermediates who want to take it easy; plus there is show-shoeing, good cross-country skiing and a snomobile excursion to the Russian border.
Details: A seven-night stay at a one-bedroom cabin with a sofa bed in a lounge within the Salla Cabins complex is from £488pp, based on four sharing, with flights and transfers (0203 733 1351,crystalski.co.uk)
20. Chalet stay at Le Grand Bournard
With more than half the pistes classified green (easiest), or blue (intermediate), Le Grand Bournard is ideal for those just starting out. However, for mixed ability groups there is also some more challenging terrain on offer. Chalet Le Quatre, recommended by Sawdays (sawdays.co.uk) sleeps 18 in total, but can be rented out as individual two or three-bedroom apartments. There is a large open-plan dining room and lounge.
Details: A week’s half board is from £259pp (00 33 4 5001 3598,chaletle4.com). BA (ba.com) has return flights to Lyon from £86
21. Cheap way into Alpe-d’Heuz at Vaujany
If it wasn’t for a hydroelectricity plant in the valley — taxes from which have enabled Vaujany to invest in cutting-edge infrastructure — the resort would probably still be a small village overshadowed by Alpe-d’Huez. What it has, though, is a huge two-stage cable car which transports skiers directly into the Alpe-d’Huez domain, with its 250km of pistes. For beginners and intermediate skiers there are lifts from the village that take you to the gentler local slopes.
Details: Ski Peak (01428 608070, skipeak.net), which is based in Vaujany, has a week’s half-board from £820pp including flights and transfers.
22. Self-catering in Flaine
The slopes at modern Flaine are well suited to beginners and intermediates and its snowfalls are usually reliable. Pierre & Vacances is introducing a five-star residence, Les Terrasses d’Hélios, which consists of 119 airy self-catering apartments decked out with retro furniture. There’s an indoor pool as well as a sauna and steam room.
Details: One-bedroom apartments are from £2,696 for a family of four (0870 0267145, pierreetvacances.com). Flights to Geneva with easyJet are from about £65 extra
Best for experts
23. Ski racing in Klosters
If you ever fancy trying your hand at ski racing, then head to the royal family’s haunt, Klosters, this winter. The Parsenn Derby, which was founded in 1924, is one of the oldest downhill races in the world, and is open to amateur entrants. It’s possible to enter as an individual, or as part of a team, and Klosters specialists PT Ski has four-night B&B packages for the race weekend (March 4-8).
Details: Four nights’ B&B is from £880pp, based on two people sharing at the Silvretta Parkhotel (020 7736 5557, ptski.com). This includes a day of race coaching, the entry fee and transfers from Zurich airport. Swiss (swiss.com) has return flights to Zurich from £73
24. Skiing gates in Tignes
Remaining on the theme of racing, Snoworks offers autumn introductions to competitive skiing. Designed for recreational skiers looking to try skiing gates — the course markers — the five-day courses include coaching from top race coaches, many of whom have trained the England race team.
Details: Five-day courses cost £300 in October and November (08445 430503, snoworks.co.uk). Accommodation can be added to the package from £320pp for seven nights’ half-board, staying at the Chalet Hotel L’Aguille Percée. EasyJet return flights to Geneva are from about £65
25. Free biathlon lessons at St Martin de Belleville
When local boy Vincent Jay won biathlon gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, the villagers of St Martin de Belleville celebrated for months. Now the resort is offering free biathlon — cross-country skiing, with rifle shooting — lessons from the ex-French team coach Xavier Blond, on peak weeks. Independent operator Ski Talini has two upmarket chalets in the resort, one of which is Chalet de la Lune, a 400-year-old converted farmhouse in the heart of the old farming village.
Details: A week’s chalet board is from £735pp (003361 5799629,skitalini.co.uk). BA (ba.com) return flights to Grenoble from £93
26. Off piste in Adelboden
There’s nothing more peaceful than heading into the backcountry of a ski area, drifting through untracked powder while admiring the surrounding lofty peaks. This winter Ski Club Freshtracks is offering off-piste holidays to the traditional resort of Adelboden. You’ll spend three days with a mountain guide exploring the best of the off-piste in the area.
Details: A week’s half board at the four-star Hotel Beauside is from £1,199pp with flights, transfers and the services of a guide (020-8410 2022, skiclub.co.uk/freshtracks)
27. Freeriding at Alpbach
The popularity of freeride skiing has rocketed in recent years. This season Alpbach Tourist Office is offering training camps for competent piste skiers looking to make their first freeride turns. The three-day camps run January to March. You’ll receive four hours tuition each day, and avalanche safety equipment is also included.
Details: Three nights’ B&B with the course is from €393pp (00 43 533 721 200, alpbachtal.at). BA (ba.com) return flights to Innsbruck are from £98.
28. Storm chasing at Kicking Horse
There’s nothing worse than knowing there’s been a huge snow dump at a nearby resort when the storm clouds don’t reach you. Kicking Horse Powder Tours has solved the problem with its Storm Chasers adventure. After a couple of nights in Kicking Horse you’ll jump aboard a converted tour bus and head down the Powder Highway, stopping at whatever resort is boasting the best conditions. The trip runs twice this season, in February and March.
Details: One week costs from £3,250pp, including all guiding, three and four-star accommodation and airport transfers (0117 230 5135,kickinghorsepowdertours.com). BA (ba.com) return flights to Calgary are from £469
Best for bargains
29. Cabin stay at Borovets
Bulgaria remains the cheapest country for skiing in Europe. And, for that matter, partying. With 58km of slopes, mainly suited to intermediate skiers, cut though a large woodland, the resort has a very alpine feel. In the village, there is a mix of wooden huts and big complex hotels, alongside countless bars — all of which have Majorca-esque touts outside, aiming to lure you in with drink deals.
Details: Iglu Ski (020 8542 6658, igluski.com) has a week’s self-catering at Yagoda Village, staying in a small cabin, from £293pp based on four sharing, including flights from East Midlands
30. Early season at Reberty Village
At 2,000m, Reberty Village — which has direct access to the wide-ranging slopes of Val Thorens — is a great choice for an early-season escape. On the edge of the pistes and with Michelin-trained chefs, the three smart chalets offered by Powder N Shine are offered at particularly reasonable rates for the week beginning December 6.
Details: From £308pp on a fully catered basis including wine, apéritifs and canapés (0845 1637596, powdernshine.com). Flights to Geneva are from about £65 extra
31. Beginners’ bargains at Pamporovo
For a bargain-basement break for a group of friends or family, Balkan Holidays has put together packages to Pamporovo in Bulgaria, where the skiing is best suited to beginners and cross-country skiers (there are 25km of trails). Accommodation is in the three-star Castle Apartments, which share a restaurant, bar and a fitness area with a hot tub.
Details: A week’s self-catering is from £244pp, based on six sharing a two-bedroom apartment. This includes flights from Heathrow on March 13 (0845 1301114, balkanholidays.co.uk)
32. Cheap chalet hotel at Champoluc
The new Chalet Hotel Breithorn is in the quiet village of Champoluc on the edge of the Monterosa ski area — it’s a short, flat walk to a gondola to the slopes. Ski Total, the chalet specialists, is introducing Breithorn this winter and prices are set to entice customers.
Details: A week’s chalet board including five-course evening meals with wine, flights and transfers is from £549pp departing on December 13 (01483 791933, skitotal.com). Prices in January and February are from £729pp
33. Solo travellers at Val di Sole
During January, Solos Holidays is offering great deals for single travellers joining its group trips to the pretty setting of Val di Sole, from where buses take participants each morning to nearby resorts including Folgarida, Marilleva and Madonna di Campiglio. Snow-shoe walking trips, torch-lit walks and “grappa and good times” evenings are organised.
Details: Departing on January 10, 24 and 31, the price is from £669pp on a half-board basis with BA flights and transfers included — with no single supplement (0844 3718860, solosholidays.co.uk)
34. Weekends at High Tatras
For a long weekend break in a lesser-known ski spot, Mountain Paradise has created three-night breaks in the beautiful High Tatras mountains in Slovakia — best suited to beginners and intermediates. Stay at Vila Park, a small, cosy, family-run pension that serves traditional grilled food for evening meals. The price includes flights, transfers, a three-day ski pass and rental equipment.
Details: Three nights’ half board with flights, is from £499pp between January 8 and March 22; departures are on Thursday nights flying to either Poprad or Krakow (0161 408 8988,mountainparadise.co.uk)
35. Cut-price St Christoph
You can access the pistes of St Anton from the quiet village of St Christoph, which has plenty of good runs of its own for beginners, plus a quad chairlift taking you to more challenging spots. Stay at the jolly, four-star Chalet Hotel St Christoph, which has simple colourful rooms, an indoor pool and a sauna.
Details: Inghams (01483 791114, inghams.co.uk) has seven nights’ chalet board — including five-course evening meals with wine — from £399pp departing from Gatwick to Innsbruck on December 6, saving £150pp
36. Mountain high at Orelle
Linked by lift to Val Thorens, Europe’s highest ski resort, Orelle offers the chance to explore the world’s largest ski area, at a fraction of the cost. Huge savings can be made on accommodation — Erna Low has some great self-catering apartments for less than £100 a week per person in January. And if cooking is too much after a hard day on the slopes, pay a visit to Anne-Marie’s food van, located at the bottom of the gondola, which serves freshly prepared pizza on her signature home-made base.
Details: A week’s self-catering in a two-person studio apartment at the Résidence le Cheval Blanc is from £88pp in January (020 7584 2841, ernalow.co.uk). BA (ba.com) return flights to Grenoble are from about £95
Best new chalets
37. Tradition at St Anton
St Anton is a hardcore skiers’ haven, while also being home to some of the Alps’ liveliest nightlife: notably the MooserWirt and Krazy Kanguruh bars. For a chalet with easy access to the action, head to Powder White’s new property, Chalet Gerlinde — named after the famous female Austrian mountaineer Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner. The traditional Austrian chalet, which sleeps eight, is ideal for groups.
Details: A week’s chalet board is from £349pp (020 8877 8888,powderwhite.com) based on eight sharing. Flights and transfers are included, along with lift passes
38. New chalet at Méribel
A perennial favourite with British skiers, Méribel is a chalet lovers’ favourite. Sitting at the heart of Les Trois Vallées, the resort offers unrivalled access to the world’s largest ski area. This year, the resort specialist Meriski (01285 648518, meriski.co.uk) bolsters its portfolio with the launch of Chalet Phoebe. This traditional property, which sleeps 12, is situated in the Mussillon area of the resort, and has a large south-facing terrace offering wonderful views.
Details: A week’s chalet board is from £662pp excluding flights, based on 12 sharing, although sometimes the chalet can be booked by the room. BA (ba.com) launches flights to Grenoble this season, with returns from £93
39. Glitzy addition in Val d’Isère
Another favourite with British skiers, Val d’Isère is frequented by both the rich and famous, as well as expert skiers after gnarly terrain. Its chalet scene is glitzy, and this season it goes even more upmarket with the arrival of Scott Dunn’s new property, Chalet Husky, with seven en-suite bedrooms for 14. Boasting a games room with a climbing wall, archery and rifle shooting, it also has an infinity pool with a waterfall, a hot tub and massage rooms.
Details: A week’s chalet board is from £1,257pp, based on 14 sharing and including flights and transfers (020 8682 5040,scottdunn.com)
40. Stylish lodge in Montriond
In the vast Portes du Soleil ski area, Montriond is a traditional alpine resort with an abundance of history. Local operator AliKats is launching the refurbished Riverwood Lodge this season. This contemporary building with stylish interiors sleeps between 10 and 16 people in five en-suite bedrooms, and it is ideal for families thanks to the inclusion of bunk beds in three rooms. You can book invididual rooms or take the whole chalet. There’s also a hot tub and a cinema room.
Details: A week’s full board is from £463pp based on two sharing, including transfers (0033 6781 04092, alikats.eu). There is a 30 per cent discount for children under 12 sharing a family room with parents, and children under two go for €150. EasyJet return flights to Geneva are from about £65
Best for skiing with extras
41. Bobsleigh at La Plagne
The bobsleigh track at La Plagne is one of the world’s most revered, and a highlight of the World Cup race calendar each January. And now you can experience the thrill yourself: whizzing down the 19-turn course, reaching speeds of 90mph, with French Olympic medallist Bruno Mingeon at the helm of your four-man bob. The descent costs €295pp and is available during the Christmas holidays, as well as in March and April.
Details: Thomson (020-8939 0738, thomsonski.co.uk) has a week’s half-board at the four-star Hotel Balcons in Belle Plagne from £764pp including flights and transfers
42. Festival at Sölden
The mountains will once again be alivewith music this winter, when some of the biggest names in dance music take to the stage at the Sölden Electric Mountain Festival. Previous acts include the global phenomenon David Guetta and French DJ Martin Solveig. Instead of a conventional week-long festival, Sölden’s events take place monthly, climaxing with the end-of-season party in April.
Details: The five-star Das Central hotel (00 43 525422600, central-soelden.at) has doubles from £145pp, based on two people sharing on a half-board basis. BA (ba.com) has return flights to Innsbruck from about £100
43. Aquatics at Châtel
There’s no better way to loosen tight muscles after skiing than a relaxing swim. Châtel’s new €13 million Forme d’O aquatic centre is home to two indoor and one outdoor pools, as well as hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms.
Details: Ski Solutions (020-7471 7700, skisolutions.com) has seven nights’ chalet board at the cosy Chalet Cannelle from £895pp based on two sharing, including flights from Gatwick and resort transfers
44. Cat skiing in Red Mountain
Advanced skiers dream of taking to the skies for a day of heli-skiing, but it comes with a hefty price tag. And its supposedly cheaper land-based sibling, cat skiing (where you are transported by tank-like vehicles to remote backcountry areas), can still dent your wallet to the tune of $500 (£280) a day. But not at Red Mountain — one of British Columbia’s interior resorts — where their cat whisks skiers from Grey Mountain to the top of Mount Kirkup for a mere $10 a go.
Details: Ski Safari (01273 224060, skisafari.com) has ten-night packages to Red Mountain and nearby Whitewater from £1,399pp, including flights. Accommodation is three-star in Nelson and four-star in Rossland
45. Cross country in Dobbiaco
If you’re looking for a slightly slower pace of life on holiday, why not try a cross-country skiing trip with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays in the Dolomites? Highlights include skiing along the disused railway line from Cortina to Dobbiaco, and a trip to nearby Bressanone or Bolzano.
Details: A week’s holiday is from £1,049pp including flights, transfers and equipment rental. You’ll also benefit from a tour guide, and have a half-day introductory lesson to cross-country skiing (01707 331133, ramblersholidays.co.uk)
Best snow-sure resorts
46. Secret snow in Warth-Schröcken
With an average snowfall of 10.6m annually, Warth-Schröcken is the snowiest resort in the Alps. And last year this relatively unknown resort was linked to nearby Lech, adding 65km of pistes to the ski area. Snow-wise, which specialises in snow-sure destinations, is the only UK tour operator to feature the resort. Warth-Schröcken opens on December 5.
Details: A week’s half-board at the four-star Sporthotel Steffisalp is from £1,245pp (020 3397 8450, snow-wise.com). EasyJet return flights to Innsbruck are from about £65
It’s ski hard, party hard from November until May in the Austrian resort of Ischgl. This winter will be no different, with James Blunt kicking off the season-long frolics with a high-altitude concert on November 29. There’s a major new gondola lift from the town to the ski area, cutting queues and allowing you more precious time on the snow.
Details: A week’s B&B at the three-star Hotel Garni Litzner costs from £579pp, based on two sharing, including flights from Gatwick and transfers (020-8939 0726, crystalski.co.uk)
Want to ski today? Jump on a plane to Zermatt, where the glacier is open 365 days of the year. Dwarfed by the imposing Matterhorn, the resort is one of the most iconic in the world, with its narrow cobbled streets and traditional wooden chalets. And the skiing is as world class: there are plenty of swooping blues for low intermediates, while experts can tackle the blacks or head for the testing off-piste.
Details: A week’s B&B at the three-star Hotel Perren costs from £845pp including flights and transfers (020 3397 8450, snow-wise.com)
Early-season snow is vital for Levi — 170km north of the Arctic Circle — thanks to its hosting of the first World Cup slalom race each season (this year on December 15–16). Generous snow cover is practically guaranteed throughout the season, aided by the bitter temperatures (often below -18C), with the lifts turning from November until May. But be warned, Levi’s longitude is well within the “land of midday dark”, so visitors in deep winter won’t be catching any rays but do stand a good chance of spying the northern lights.
Details: A week’s half-board at the three-star Crazy Reindeer Hotel costs from £624pp including flights and transfers (01483 791114,inghams.co.uk)
50. Arapahoe Basin
It’s a hotly contested race to be first resort open in the US, and last year A-Basin was victorious. In fact, they had so much snow that patches have endured during the summer months, and now with temperatures plummeting, snowmaking is under way. Pundits say next Saturday, October 11, is the odds-on favourite to be the opening day: but they only announce it on the Friday.
Details: A week’s stay at the Inn at Keystone costs from £1,187pp, based on two sharing, including flights and transfers (020 8542 6658, igluski.com)