Snow way: skiing for all
Is snow blindness preventing you from finding the perfect piste? Here are 10 resorts to suit all sorts of skiers – and non-skiers
Val D’Isère. Photograph :JP NOISILLIER
On a budget
Want to ski without breaking the bank? In a word: Borovets. Bulgaria’s oldest and largest ski resort has a good mix of beginner and intermediate slopes.
As to the value, how do we count the ways? Not only are the prices low – around €1.20 for a small beer, €13 for a three-course meal – but the added value is great too. For example, the transfer time from Sofia is 90 minutes. There’s night skiing too, so you can get your money’s worth on the slopes right up until 10pm.
Keep costs even lower by going self-catering. A week at the Yagoda & Malina Chalets, amid the pine trees just outside Borovets, costs €359 each, including Dublin flights departing January 11th. Okay, so you stop en route in Frankfurt, but come on, did you see that price?
With young children
If you thought rounds of “are we there yet” are soul destroying in a car, trying hearing them on the snowy trudge from hotel to slopes, carrying skis.
Well it’s one complaint you won’t hear at the family friendly resort of Avoriaz, in the heart of the Portes du Soleil ski area on the Swiss/French border. Most accommodation is of the ski in/ski out variety, while the streets are ski runs. The whole place is car-free so the only traffic you’ll have to worry about is of the horse and sleigh kind.
There’s an indoor waterpark, Aquariaz, with chutes and flumes (perfect for tired little legs), a kids’ snow park and, at the Village des Enfants ski and snowboard school – again right in the centre – kids get lunch and tea as well as their own après-ski activities.
A week self catering in Le Douchka Apartments for two adults and two children costs from €1,532. crystalski.ie
With older children
There is a view that while kids outgrow the family summer holiday all too soon, they’ll ski with you forever (as long as you’re paying). In truth, teens don’t want to spend all their time on the slopes with mum and dad. What’s more, after a certain age, you’ve a snowball’s chance in hell of getting them back into ski school.
Companies such as Powder Byrne have all this figured out with Freezone – free group guiding for adventurous teens. In the Swiss resort of Zermatt it also offers the Martin Bell Ski Academy, where teens get tips from professional racers.
Zermatt is a good resort for teens. Perched high in the Swiss Valais, at the foot of the mighty Matterhorn, there’s a buzzing high street and a nicely atmospheric car-free village to explore.
Prices start at £1,109 (€1,310) per person sharing a standard double B&B for a seven-night stay in the gorgeous Schlosshotel Zermatt, including flights and transfers. A five-day stint at the Martin Bell Academy costs £585 (€691). powderbyrne.com
If you’ve never skied before and want to give it a lash, have a laugh and enjoy a fun holiday without taking it all too seriously, then the lively Andorran resort of Pas de la Casa is the place to go.