Powder to the people! Top ski escapes for all levels


Powder to the people! Top ski escapes for all levels

Whether you rule black-diamond runs or you've got tots in tow (or hey, maybe your tots have mastered black diamonds), here's where to go for your next ski holiday.

Lauren Coffey

BY Lauren Coffey21 November 2017

Whether you’re yet to master the art of the graceful chairlift dismount, or you’re itching to fly through off-piste powder, these seven ski-ready stays have you (snow)covered. You’ll find plenty to keep you entertained, from adrenaline-hound heli-skiing to cheese-laden après-ski delights. And because we’ve scoped the slopes for all levels, these destinations make for pretty ideal winter escapes for the whole family. So grab your thermals and beanies and get to browsing.

1 South Tyrol, Italy has the world’s largest ski carousel, with 450 cable cars and lifts that travel through 12 skiing areas.
Stay Check into a pine-lined apartment at Lagació Hotel Mountain Residence; have breakfast in bed or trundle over to the wood-panelled dining room for a buffet of home-made comfitures, organic breads and cheeses before popping into the on-site ski shop.
Black diamond Make a beeline for Alta Badia’s black runs, including the Vallon-Boè, or the giant slalom run Gran Risa in La Villa.
Enthusiast Arrange ski tours with gourmet-pleasing restaurant stops, or try a spot of cross-country skiing – you’ll have 38 kilometres of runs to explore – when you tire of testing gravity.
Bunny slopes Take an intro lesson on one of the wider, smoother runs; speed down the the toboggan runs or shuffle about on snowshoes before decamping to the hotel’s La Palsa spa for facials and honey-infused massages.

Zaborin, Niseko, Japan

Yoshitsu outdoor bath at the Zaborin

2 Famous for its wide-open powder bowls and tree runs, Niseko, Japan averages around 15 metres of snow each season.
Stay At The Zaborin, each villa features two onsen baths (one inside, one out), filled with mineral-rich volcanic spring water (perfect for both après-ski and just-because soaks).
Black diamond Japan’s most impressive piste is 20 minutes’ drive away in Niseko; arrange cat-skiing or heli-skiing for an extra hit of adrenaline.
Enthusiast Nearly half of Niseko’s runs are geared towards intermediate skiers, and for a little something different, there’s floodlit night skiing.
Bunny slopes Hike through the snowy Hanazono forest; warm up from the inside with a visit to the Yoichi whisky distillery, or stay in the hotel and take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

3 Adelboden, Switzerland is criss-crossed with ski lifts and cable cars, and home to the FIS Ski World Cup.
Stay The Cambrian is a sleek and modern hotel in the heart of the snowy Swiss Alps that would turn Heidi’s head.
Black diamond Join up with the Swiss Mountaineering School Metsch to ski down the longest glacier in the Alps, Aletsch Glacier.
Enthusiast Pick up some new skills with the Swiss Snowsports School, which offers lessons in a range of alpine activities for adults of all levels, and teaches mitten-clad tots, too.
Bunny slopes Ask at the front desk to borrow sledges or nordic walking canes if you fancy a winter ramble, or stay warm and toasty in the hotel’s indoor/outdoor hydrotherapy pools.

Scarp Ridge Lodge, Crested Butte, Colorado

The movie cabin at Scarp Ridge Lodge

4 Former frontier town Crested Butte, Colorado plays up its looks – stroll down Elk Avenue for a perfectly picturesque evening – but it’s the surrounding slopes that have our attention.
Stay A domesticated former frontier saloon, Scarp Ridge Lodge has a cosy lounge with a log-burning stove, plus a spoiling spa.
Black diamond Head into the backcountry terrain in the hotel’s custom snowcat – which has leather seats, a sound system and a flatscreen – to strike it snow-rich in nearby ex-mining town Irwin, which gets around 15 metres of snowfall a year.
Enthusiast Crested Butte Mountain Resort has something for skiers of every level: warm up on easier runs, practise your skills on perfectly groomed pistes, or pummel down the extreme slopes – some of the best in the States.
Bunny slopes Spend the day at the hotel’s spa, which has a stellar sauna, steam room, and a menu of classic treatments of the Swedish, deep-tissue and Japanese Zen Shiatsu types.There are several types of yoga on offer too, including Kundalini, Ashtanga and easy-flow.

5 Host of the 2002 Winter Olympic’s alpine skiing and snowboarding events, Park City, Utah has 50 groomed trails.
Stay Reset each night at Washington School House – the town lift for Park City Mountain is just two blocks away, and the hotel has hearty mountain breakfasts of pancakes, omelettes, granola and more that’ll provide ample fuel for your day’s activities. There’s also a hot tub to soothe weary muscles, and an Olympic torch firepit to sit by and sip après-ski hot toddies.
Black diamond Channel your inner daredevil as you pound the off-piste powder or go for a heli-skiing excursion.
Enthusiast After a fortifying fondue at Lookout Cabin, make your way down Doc’s Run for some of the best views in the area. As intermediate slopes go, Georgeanna comes a close second for its jaw-dropping backdrop.
Bunny slopes If you’d rather stay level, explore the area on cross-country skis, snowshoes or dogsled. Fancy picking up speed, minus the elongated footwear? Go full Cool Runnings on the Olympic Park’s bobsled ride.

Aman Le Mélézin, Courchevel, France

Aman Le Mélézin

6 Courchevel, France is the largest ski area in the world, with a dizzying 330 unique runs.
Stay Aman Le Mélézin, which is ski-in, ski-out, has piste-view balconies, private outdoor hot tubs, and Japanese fine dining – complete with fireside tumblers of sake.
Black diamond Most of Courchevel’s 10 black runs shy away from the extreme, so head off-piste for an adrenaline rush.
Enthusiast Bellecôte ski slope just outside the hotel: take the lift right up, ski right down and repeat as necessary, with judicious breaks for fortifying meals, generally of the molten-cheese persuasion.
Bunny slopes Trade skis for snowmobiles or a 470-horsepower snow plough at Courchevel Aventure, or keep cosy and warm with in-house Aman spa treatments and rum-laced hot chocolates.

7 The highest peak in Troll Peninsula, Iceland is just over 5,000 feet above sea level, but you can ski right down to the shoreline even into May.
Stay A room at Deplar Farm includes two guide-led activities a day and farm-fresh meals.
Black diamond The heli-skiing and cat-skiing on offer is the stuff of thrill-seekers’ dreams; the sea-view slopes average 3,000 vertical feet. When you return, ward off muscle fatigue with a personalised post-ski stretching session and a soak in the geothermal pool.
Enthusiast Follow a guide down the slopes, or pick up a pair of snowshoes from Deplar Farm’s gear room and head out to explore the otherworldly surrounds.
Bunny slopes Limber up with private or group yoga sessions; hop between the sauna and plunge pool; or simply kick back with a toasty drink and enjoy the views from a cushy seat by the fireplace.

Featured image is Lagació Hotel Mountain Residence