Four of the best destinations for a ski holiday

From a perfect pre-season resort in Austria to a “powder playground” in Japan. Jasper Spires reports

A winter wonderland in France

“It’s no surprise that so many skiers return to Chamonix year upon year; this is a resort with endless entertainment,” says Megan Hughes for In The Snow. The variety of pistes at the French resort offer something for beginners and pros alike. Balme is a “true winter wonderland with gentle forest trails and unparalleled views”, for example; the Grands Montets is the “ultimate mountain Mecca for free skiers”. Free bus and train shuttles link the resort’s four ski areas. The town of Chamonix itself is similarly rousing, with distinctive architecture and charming villages with plenty of attractions for skiers and non-skiers alike. “There’s something for everyone in Chamonix, whether you’re a foodie itching to sample the best local produce or a hardened adventurer looking to stock up on the latest mountain gear.” No trip here would be complete without taking a cable car up the Aiguille du Midi mountain and its “exhilarating Step into the Void glass floor skywalk at 3,842-metre altitude”. See en.chamonix.com for more information.

Ski lift, Hintertux, Austria

© Getty Images/iStock

Getting back into the swing of things in Austria

“Hintertux is Austria’s perfect pre-season resort,” says Sean Newsom in The Times, “Enjoyment – guaranteed.” It has 25 miles of pistes, dropping “through a meaty 1,600 vertical feet”, and has plenty of gentle runs to get you back into the swing of things if you’re rusty. “Skiers are still waking up to the fact that, at last, winter sports are a possibility again, and many are fizzing with anticipation as a result.” More pistes will open up in the next two months “until, eventually, you’ll be able to ski more than 336 miles in areas dotted right along the Ziller Valley”. Your “creaking lockdown hips” will soon be swinging more smoothly as you make your turns down the slopes. The Tirolerhof four-star hotel in Lanersbach is a perfect spot to stay. It has a new rooftop swimming pool, a “distinctly gastronomic restaurant” and an in-house spa. From £1,051 for four nights, tirolerhof.co.at

Hinode Hills

Hinode Hills

© Hinode Hills

“Epic silky powder” and great food in Japan

Japanese ski-resort Niseko Annupuri is “one of the planet’s premier powder playgrounds”, says Rory Ross in the Daily Mail. Located in the Hokkaido region, Niseko has become internationally famous for its record snowfall, recording more than Canada and nearly twice as much as that of the Alps. Each skiing season coats the slopes in up to 50 feet (15 metres) of snow. “Epic silky powder” is only part of the appeal: there is also “the Japanese touch: orderly queues, bomb-proof politeness... an emphasis on not inconvenienc-ing anyone, and great food”. Stay at the Hinode Hills development, which has 79 rooms in a “wabi-sabi” aesthetic – a traditional Japanese world view based on acceptance of transience and imperfection. The hotel features “ski-in, ski-out” access and its own chair lift, so you can more or less hop out of bed and onto the piste. A suite costs from £1,119 for five nights, hinodehills.com

Megeve

© Getty Images/iStockphoto

Away from the crowds in the Alps

“Megève is one of the Alps’ most picturesque and peaceful ski resorts and offers a unique chance to enjoy the mountains without the crowds this winter,” says Megan Hughes for In The Snow. “You’ll never find yourself stuck trying to find a table at a restaurant or in a maxxed-out ski-school class. In Megève, everything feels far more like a private mountain experience.” Megève, in the Mont-Blanc ski area, is an easy drive from Calais, and has more than 200 miles of spacious pistes with 88 lifts. The town is as quaint as the slopes are peaceful, with picturesque medieval buildings, chalets adorned with fairy lights, cosy bars and “boutiques galore”. Horse-drawn caleches roam the streets and the resort’s jazz club “awaits all those who seek some unique evening entertainment”. Catered chalet prices start from £550 a week excluding flights and transfers and weekend breaks start from £335 for three nights. See stanfordskiing.co.uk

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