Baqueira Beret, Spain
The finest ski station in Spain boasts state-of-the-art ski lifts, more kilometres of piste than any other, and its strategic orientation pretty much guarantees good snow. This year there's an added attraction: the Refugi de San Miguel, a designer bar set on the slopes of Port de la Bonaigua. Offering a selection of tempting tapas by the celebrated restaurateurs Dani Garcia and Paco Roncero, it's all set to be the new on-trend rendezvous for skiers. The tasty morsels are perfect to pair with the great Spanish San Miguel beer, or the Baqueira cocktail, a treat concocted specially by renowned mixologist Javier de las Muelas.
In Haute-Savoie, in the heart of the French Alps,
this is one of the most prestigious ski stations in all Europe. Together with Meribel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens, in the Three Valleys, it forms the biggest ski area in the world with over 300 pistes and multiple themed areas for recreational skiing. The big designer brands – Valentino, Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Fendi and Gucci... – are bound to be on display here to dazzle and delight fashionistas from around the world.
One of the best known and most exclusive ski resorts in Switzerland, nestled in the valley at the foot of the Matterhorn, Zermatt first became internationally famous in the 1860s when the Matterhorn was first attempted and subsequently grew to be a resort for mountaineers and skiers. Almost all vehicles here are electric, making it a car-free holiday resort that retains its original charm. The ski zone is criss-crossed by mountain railways, ski-lifts and cable cars and boasts over 300 kilometres of pistes. The Paradise Glacier is the highest spot in Europe reachable by cable car and offers a superb 360° view of the Swiss, French and Italian Alps.
Aspen, Colorado, USA
After hosting the World Alpine Ski Championships in 1950, Aspen became one of the world's most glamorous ski resorts, a reputation that continues today, as it is popular with celebrities such as Kevin Costner and Antonio Banderas. The Colorado station may seem familiar to film buffs, too, as it has served for location shoots on a number of occasions, including being the setting for the crazy adventures of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber.
Lech Zurs, Austria
In the Austrian Alpine region of Arlberg, Lech Zurs is considered one of the best ski resorts in the world. Frequented by the beautiful people and full of glamour, the ski resort is popular with royalty, which, once you know the place, makes perfect sense: marvellous slopes, a picture-postcard village and breath-taking scenery. Quality is guaranteed in the lifts, the hotels, and on the slopes. They even limit the number of skiers to ensure a better experience.
All eyes are on Andorra's famous Grandvalira resort this year, firstly because the mythical Soldeu Avet track is hosting two test circuits for the Women's World Cup Alpine Skiing, but also thanks to a particular deal available this season: a treat designed especially for the girls, this one-day package includes the chance to ski with Spanish Olympic medalist and former World Cup alpine ski racer Blanca Fernandez Ochoa.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
The 'pearl of the Dolomites' and a favourite gem among the jet set, Cortina d'Ampezzo's fame dates back to 1956 when the resort hosted the Winter Olympics. Add to that the sheer beauty of the landscape characterised by 3,000 metre peaks such as Tofana, Cristallo and Marmolada, the highest in the Dolomites. Not only does the area boast great skiing, but there are also the attractions of the town of Cortina d'Ampezzo set at 1,200 metres and offering a host of shops, hotels and restaurants and a lively atmosphere both day and night.
Crans Montana, Switzerland
Synonymous with luxury, style and class even among those who know it only by name, the Crans Montana ski resort offers year-round activity: the winter is enlivened by all types of winter sport, and in summer there is fine golfing and other outdoor activities. The strategic south-facing location provides long hours of sunshine and a spectacular panoramic view of the Valais and the Swiss mountains. This icy dominion includes 150 kilometres of slopes ranging from 1,500 metres at the base of the station up to 3,000 metres on the Plaine Morte glacier, with its spectacular 12 kilometre cross-country skiing circuit.
The spectacular Rocky Mountains provide the setting
for Whistler, the biggest ski resort in North America – so big, in fact that you could spend a two week skiing break here without repeating a piste. Together with Vancouver, Whistler was home to the 2010 Winter Olympics and it is one of the best places in the world to practise heliski. Add to this the wooded slopes and the open slopes, the skiing from 2,300 metres to 600 metres, the wide range of snow-based activities and sports... there are plenty of reasons to visit.
In the valley of Saalbach-Hinterglem, close to Salzburg, this is a magnificent location for skiing. The name is taken from the two towns Saalbach and Hinterglemm, which are practically on the slopes themselves. There are some 200 kilometres of wide, long pistes with sections for all skill levels, all very well connected and accessible. The lively apres ski atmosphere guarantees an enjoyable break.
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