Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland
Ski worthy slopes are closer than you think and the Cairngorm Mountains have hosted winter sports for the last 50 years – so they know what they’re doing. There are 30km of ski runs and 11 ski lifts as well as a snow school catering for beginners right through to experts who just want to brush up. And if you’re not convinced winter sports are for you then you can also hire clothing as well equipment so you don’t have to fork out for all the gear and then never use it again. A one day adult ‘snowsport’ pass costs £36 and a family of four costs £98.50.
Pronounced, ‘aura’ this is the largest ski resort in Scandinavia with 100km worth of skiing to be done. There are 46 ski lifts and 103 different runs and is great for intermediates and beginners, if you’re a hard-core snow junkie then you might find it limited as only 10% of the runs are geared up for advanced skiers and boarders. A one day adult lift pass costs Skr 430 which is roughly £38.
Val d’Anniviers, Switzerland
As a rule, Switzerland is expensive, but you do get beautiful chocolate box villages and a genuine mountain village experience. Plus, Val d’Anniviers is more than just a snowsports resort with a variety of alternatives for non-skiers and boarders such as hiking and tobogganing. There are 215km worth of runs for you to explore and it’s really best suited to intermediates with 112km of red runs, 44km of black runs and beginners’ blues make up 59km. Lifts are old-school with the majority of them (31 of the 41) being drag lifts – so hold on tight. A six-day adult ski pass is 290 Swiss Francs (or roughly £230).
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
This is a great family-friendly resort where nursery slopes and key facilities are central and close to pistes. It has a similar vibe to neighbouring Austrian and Italian resorts rather than more ‘traditional’ eastern European destinations, and has good apres-ski as well as restaurants and bars to suit most budgets. There are 20km of skiing so the resort is easy to get around and half the pistes are classed as ‘easy’. Probably the type of resort that’s best for families wanting to give skiing a go rather than anyone wanting a serious off-piste challenge. A one day adult ski pass is 32.50 Euros (about £28).
Crested Butte Mountain, Colorado, USA
No-one does powder or motorway skiing like the American resorts and if you’re happy to fly further afield, skiing in Colorado will give you an experience that you’ll never forget. There’s lots of skiing to be done here with more than 1,500 acres of skiable terrain; 121 runs and four snow parks. Pistes here also cater for pretty much everyone with 26% of runs aimed at beginners, 57% at intermediate, 14% for experts and if you really want a challenge then the 3% of double black runs were made for you. A six-day adult ski pass is $599 or roughly £486 but prices go up or down according to the season – you can also get online discounts.
Booked it? Insure it
For avid skiers, winter just isn’t any fun unless you can throw yourself down a mountain with a pair of wooden planks strapped to your feet – although we can see how that could be deemed foolhardy by some. It’s similar for snowboarders – but let’s face it, you’ll spend most of your time on your bottom getting your skiing friends to pull you out with their poles.
But whether you’re a boarder or a skier you should always make sure your travel insurance includes wintersports cover before you set off – because it’s snow fun at all being left out in the cold if something were to go wrong.