Best places to ski
Whether you’re a beginner, expert or somewhere in between, here’s our guide to six of the best places to get your skis on!
Get a beginner-friendly day pass at La Plagne resorts in the French Alps, which will give novice skiers access to special beginners’ areas dotted around the area – including Plagne Montalbert, Montchavin-les-Coches, Champagny-en-Vanoise and in the high altitude villages in La Plagne – giving safe enclosed places to learn to ski. These areas will also have rest place, lifts dedicated to beginners and are within a short distance of the accommodation. The Coolski pass costs €28 a day.
Boasting a ski school right outside the cosy apartments, the French Alps resort of Puy St Vincent is great for families with children. The stunning setting at the edge of a national park ensures late season snow and outside French holiday time it is virtually queue-free. There is a crèche right on the piste, an evening children’s club for youngsters aged four to 13 and a babysitting service. There are classes for all ages, from adults to three year olds as well as simply skiing for fun.
For those on a budget
Located at the foot of the beautiful Pirin Mountains, Bansko is a traditional Bulgarian town that has recently developed into a ski centre. With 65 kilometres of marked ski runs and some great off-piste, all abilities of skiers are well catered for and the resort manages to retain a mixture of old world charm along with all its rapidly increasing number of hotels. A week’s stay at the three star Hotel Banderitsa costs from £435 per person, including half-board, return Gatwick flights and transfers.
The elegant Gstaad Palace in Switzerland celebrates its 100th year this year, and you’ll certainly feel like royalty here. As well as 250km of slopes, this five star hotel offers spa facilities, a plethora of treatments, indoor and outdoor pools plus a gym. Outside, as well as skiing you can enjoy hiking, snow-shoeing, dog sledge and horse-drawn carriage rides, heli-skiing and a glacier experience. Plus there is also a new Igloo Experience where guests can spend a night in a secluded igloo with breathtaking views over the Bernese Alps. However, all this luxury doesn’t come cheap and a standard double room starts at £495 per night.
Argentina isn’t on everyone’s ski radar, but perhaps it should be – especially if you’d like to ski outside of the traditional winter season. Check out San Martin de los Andes, a resort that claims great hotels, top restaurants and plenty of facilities but is more exclusive than the country’s other popular resorts, Mendoza and Bariloche. And, being Argentina, it’s extremely child -riendly making it perfect for a high-end family ski break you can take in the summer holidays as the winter their runs from June to September.
Instead of the usual downhill skiing, how about the cross-country version? Lapland’s vast open spaces make it the ideal place to learn and practice this skill. You can choose from gentle tracks, wilderness trails or more challenging terrain, depending on your abilities. Stay at the Davvi Arctic Lodge on the Finnish/Swedish border and beginners can get an introductory cross-country ski session as well as the assistance of expert ski instructors.