Ski and snowboard Top 5
By Natalie Pickering
Best for: Romantic getaways, quaint Christmas markets and traditional Swiss skiing
If you’re looking for a fairytale winter wonderland with open log fires, twinkling fairy lights, great chocolate, fine cheese and enchanted magical sleigh rides, look no further than Switzerland. Silhouetted by the shadow of the rising Matterhorn, rambling narrow streets and ancient timber homes, Zermatt is both a traditional and magical Swiss “chocolate-box” village renowned for great skiing and fine dining. Horse-drawn sleighs, mountain trains and lowing cows replace bustling car-ridden streets and smog filled city roads, so it’s great for advocates of a cleaner, purer living. Zermatt not only offers breathtaking, magical scenery but is also fabulous for families or couples looking for a romantic getaway. Bordering Italy the terrain is vast and varied, giving even the most advanced skier plenty of powder to play in. And if you fancy a change from skiing, Zermatt offers everything from snow shoeing to spas, paragliding to ice skating – not to mention figures and fantasy worlds sculpted from ice.
Don’t Miss: The Igloo Village & Ice Palace (built on the World’s highest glacier) where you can be a modern day Eskimo, or a princess (or prince) locked in the world’s tallest (and coldest) tower!
Fun in the snow at Zermatt, Switzerland
Read more: Top 5 ski deals this season
Pas De la Casa, Andorra
Best for: Boarding on a budget
A tax-free haven nestled between France and Spain, Andorra is a little ski secret perfect for beginners or those with a tight budget. If you fancy mixing a holiday of sand, sea and snow, Andorra is also minutes away from Barcelona’s beaches and provides a perfect way to mix in a bit of European holiday sightseeing with some sublime skiing – although surfing at this time of year is highly discouraged! With mountains at the heart of the Pyrenees, Andorra is also one of Europe’s southern most ski resorts meaning plenty of sunshine on the slopes! You definitely won’t be disappointed and lift lines are guaranteed to be a little shorter than some of Europe’s other hot spot ski destinations.
Don’t Miss: The unbelievable bargains with tax-free shopping!
Best for: Backcountry skiing and experienced skiers and snowboarders
With epic death-defying drops, exhilarating hiking trails and breathtaking scenery, Chamonix is one of Europe’s best mountaineering Meccas for thrill seekers and climbing enthusiasts. Located directly beneath the infamous Mont Blanc, Chamonix is carefully tucked between some of the Alps’ highest mountain peaks. Because of the altitude Chamonix is mostly guaranteed snow, so you’re sure to see a bit of the white stuff no matter what time of the season you choose to go. Chamonix is also home to some of the world’s most extreme “off-piste”, which basically means skiing away from or between controlled trails and slopes. So thrill seekers and advanced skiers/boarders will not be disappointed.
Don’t Miss: Mont Blanc, although you’d have to be blind not to see it! With breathtaking views over France, Switzerland and Italy you’ll feel quite literally on top of the world!
Best for: Luxury, powder and princesses
If you fancy a bit of celeb spotting whilst zigzagging your way through knee-deep powder, Aspen, Colorado in North America is the place to go this winter. With a reputation for hosting the world’s rich and famous, Aspen is a perfect spot for those wishing to see and be seen. It also has some great backcountry skiing, luxurious resorts and is one of the best all-round ski destinations for those who want a bit of everything. The terrain is varied and extensive, with everything from perfectly groomed snowfields to the world’s best powder parks. It’s great for skiers, extreme snowboarders and of course shop-a-holics!
Don’t Miss: grabbing that designer Gucci handbag or sampling some of the world’s best chocolate chip cookies!
St Anton, Austria
Best for: Getting “piste” on the slopes
Hanging upside down receiving what must have been my tenth Jaegermeister shot I was finally released from the skis gluing me to the roof of our chalet. Make no mistake, skiing is as much about being ‘piste’ as it is about ‘off-piste’ – and by that I don’t mean back country skiing.
For die-hard skiers and snowboarders nothing ends the day quite like an ice cold one and earning your status as king of the mountain — which is as much about being able to ‘down them’ as it is about ‘getting down them’. As the sun begins to set on the slopes you’re likely to find yourself surrounded by a thousand pairs of skis most without owners. Skis stuck nonchalantly into the snow is a sure sign that the party inside is good. The loud cheering is also a dead giveaway, as are visions of dancing ski boots bouncing up and down on tables and bars across the Alps. AprÃ¨s ski means ‘after skiing’ in French, and it deserves a travel article all of its own, really. However, I will say that for great ski, shops and shots, check out St Anton in Austria — it’s the perfect spot for late night party-revellers.
Don’t Miss: The Mooserwit Bar — where you’re likely to end up looking a little like a moose or catch something more commonly know as “Mooserwit-syndrome” — nothing that another shot of schnapps or mountain air can’t fix. And if you’re not that into Mooses there’s always the Krazy Kangaroo. But be warned, bouncing in boots with a bevvie may lead to breakages!