Ski holidays to make everyone happy

If you’re not a whizz on the slopes, going skiing doesn’t always appeal. But with sensational spas, Michelin-starred food and après ski on offer, there’s more to winter holidays than meets the eye

Seefeld, Tirol, Austria

For those who want to try other winter sports apart from skiing, this pretty Austrian town at the base of the Leutasch Valley, 45 minutes from Innsbruck, provides plenty. The nursery slopes are in the town centre along with ice-skating and curling rinks, while the town is also the starting point for some of the 279km of cross-country (Nordic) skiing trails, available to novices and experts alike. Stay at the Krumers Post Hotel and Spa, a few minutes’ walk from the nursery slopes and centre, to avoid having to travel far for anything. The range of pistes – from easy greens to challenging mogul runs – makes Seefeld a great choice for mixed ability groups, while for non-skiers, there’s 80km of cleared winter walks along well marked paths in the Seefeld Plateau.

Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

This relaxed resort, host of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, is keen to keep the Olympic memory alive both in the inviting pedestrianised village and on Whistler Mountain. The famous Olympic rings and Paralympic symbols are still in town and another set sit aside Canadian flags near the Roundhouse Lodge at the top of the village gondola. Skiers following the Olympic trail can hire a former Olympic skier for the day to help make the most of the alpine paradise. The region’s rich history means there’s lots to explore away from the slopes as well; the Whistler Museum, a stone’s throw from the quirky shops in the village, houses legacies of the past, while the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural centre reveals the legends, history and customs of the native First Nations people. Stay at the Four Seasons Resort, close to both the main Whistler and Blackcomb gondolas.

Aspen, Colorado

The glitziest resort in the US, this former mining town is a haunt of the rich and famous with ‘corduroy’ snow on four perfectly groomed mountains and designer stores for the perfectly groomed visitors. It also has an abundance of free cultural offerings such as the Art Museum which houses an eclectic mix of contemporary paintings, sculptures and multimedia installations. The music scene is also big in Aspen. Check out the JAS Café Downstairs at The Little Nell, where Aspen’s only five-star, five-diamond property is turned into an intimate jazz club, featuring two evenings of shows six weekends throughout the season.

St Moritz, Switzerland

Ski-loving foodies who want to follow that Michelin star should head for festival towns like St Moritz, which is celebrating 150 years of winter tourism with a number of mouth-watering events including the St Moritz Gourmet Festival from January 26-30, which is welcoming six leading chefs from Great Britain. The Carlton Hotel will be hosting Angela Hartnett, one of Britain’s most popular Michelin-starred chefs, as a guest to Gero Porstein, the new Head Chef at the hotel’s prestigious Romanoff Restaurant. The festival will include a fabulous programme with a glamorous opening party, gourmet safaris, kitchen parties and a line-up of top chefs including Jason Atherton, Nathan Outlaw and Atul Kochhar.

L’Alpe d’huez, France

It’s the fifth biggest ski resort in France and one of the most family-friendly winter wonderlands in Europe, with a vast, wide expanse of runs for all abilities and a good choice of alternative activities on offer if the lure of the ski slopes wanes. Visit the ice caves, a grotto of glistening sculptures and figures carved from ice, go husky dog sledding or enjoy a panoramic helicopter flight over the Grandes Rousses. Adrenaline junkies can have a go at airboarding or flyboarding – an alternative to sledging, where adults bodyboard on an inflatable. Stay at the ski–in ski-out Le Royal Ours Blanc Hotel and Spa in the heart of the village and close to the ski school.

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