Skiing holidays: head off the beaten piste

Avoid the crowds and brush up on your skiing at these four resorts. Nicole Garcia Merida reports

Chedi Andermatt

Andermatt's Chedi: a destination in itself

No wonder avid skiers plan a trip whenever they can. Hot chocolate, crackling fires and picture-perfect views are an excellent cure for winter blues, and there is a vast array of resorts to explore. If you want to skip the crowded world-famous pistes you don't have far to look, says Alex Cody in the Sunday Times. Whatever your taste, ability or budget you're bound to find something that suits you.

The slope less travelled

At the heart of the skiing village lies the Chedi, a resort that has become a destination in itself. It boasts luxury accommodation, a spa, a 6,000-bottle wine cellar and a Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant.

But Andermatt's key selling point is its vast expanse of powdery snow. A gondola takes skiers to the top of the Gtsch peak, which is ideal for beginners and intermediates: it is dotted with blue, green and red slopes. Another cable car goes up to the Gemsstock ski area, which lends itself to both piste and off-piste skiing. It is also possible to take two cable cars up to the summit, which offers panoramic views of the Swiss alps. "The time to book your trip is now."

Powder skiing in Ischgl

Back country skiing

Heavyweight gondolas take you up the mountain and offer a breathtaking view of rugged mountain ranges and the picturesque villages below. The 240-kilometre ski area "best suits mileage-hungry intermediates who enjoy covering lots of ground each day before returning to the resort for some of the wildest table-dancing in the Alps", says The Daily Telegraph. For more seasoned skiers, there is plenty of space to ski off-piste.

Something for everyone

Penken is home to the Harakiri piste, the steepest black slope in Austria. There is also Penken Park, an obstacle course that allows beginners and advanced skiers or snowboarders to hone their skills. The valley of Ahorn, meanwhile, offers nursery slopes ideal for beginners and families. It is also home to the White Lounge, an igloo bar and hotel. Mayrhofen is known as one of Austria's most musical areas and is also renowned for its Tyrolean architecture and picturesque wooden houses.

A sunny weekend break

Sky Way staion, Mont Blanc, Courmayeur village, Aosta district, Valle d'Aosta, Italy

Courmayeur, at the foot of Mont Blanc, is an excellent option to fulfil any weekend wanderlust, Rachael Martin told the Italian edition of The Local. Because it is on the Italian side of the mountain it receives plenty of sunlight even during the winter, so it is not as chilly as its French counterpart Chamonix.

It offers 100km of piste and off-piste skiing and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, and other winter sports. "The town's centre is the pedestrianised Via Roma with bars, restaurants and boutiques," notes Martin, so there's lots to do once you've exhausted the slopes. Its proximity to airports in Turin and Geneva will appeal to those after a weekend break of fast skiing and slow living.

The resort is also known for the Skyway Monte Bianco, a cable car that travels to the closest point of the mountain's summit. This "Italian feat of extreme engineering" offers rotating cars that give panoramic view of the surrounding mountain ranges.

Recommended

Three lesser-known holiday spots in Greece
Travel and holidays

Three lesser-known holiday spots in Greece

Foreign holiday bookings are surging– seek the spots the crowds will have missed. Chris Carter reports
9 Apr 2021
Five unusual UK holidays
Travel and holidays

Five unusual UK holidays

Looking for something different that doesn’t involve travelling abroad? Chris Carter has some ideas
1 Apr 2021
Three idyllic countryside retreats
Travel and holidays

Three idyllic countryside retreats

We could all do with a chance to stretch our legs. Chris Carter suggests a spell at a farm
26 Mar 2021
Corfu: an idyllic Greek island refuge
Travel and holidays

Corfu: an idyllic Greek island refuge

Greece is preparing to welcome back tourists. Make a dash for Corfu, says Chris Carter
19 Mar 2021

Most Popular

Central banks are rushing to build digital currencies. What are they, and what do they mean for you?
Bitcoin

Central banks are rushing to build digital currencies. What are they, and what do they mean for you?

As bitcoin continues to soar in value, many of the world’s central banks are looking to emulate it by issuing their own digital currencies. But centra…
8 Apr 2021
House prices: from boom to even bigger boom
House prices

House prices: from boom to even bigger boom

UK house prices have risen to new to record highs, says Nicole Garcia Merida. Demand continues to outpace supply, but continued low interest rates, th…
9 Apr 2021
Nuclear power might never be popular – but now looks a good time to invest
Commodities

Nuclear power might never be popular – but now looks a good time to invest

Nuclear power gets a very bad press, but it is the ultimate renewable energy source. Interest in it is perking up again, says John Stepek. Which means…
9 Apr 2021