The feeling of cruising through the snow, the fresh-air, the stunning scenery, it’s incomparable. Many of us ski every year for the simple pleasure of experiencing the mountains at their best – during the winter.
A ski holiday isn’t about pushing your limits. It’s about having fun in the mountains. When we simply want to experience the pure joy of skiing, these are the resorts that we head to:
Best for: Stunningly scenic skiing
Banff is beautiful. The spectacular scenery is wild and dramatic, yet the town itself couldn’t feel more comfortable and welcoming. Banff is full of fantastic bars with live music and restaurants serving delicious Canadian food.
The skiing is incredible too. Banff is a part of the vast Big 3 ski area, encompassing 8,000 acres on one lift pass. The resort has a wealth of extraordinary blue and green runs that are ideal for cruising. Best suited to experienced intermediates, even the green runs have a degree of steepness that keeps them fast and exciting.
The gorgeous scenery not only makes for a picturesque backdrop to your holiday, but it also provides a varied and exciting skiing environment. The wooded area around the Wolverine chairlift has some fantastic tree skiing, while the Lookout takes you to the highest part of the resort for incredible long runs and stunning views.
Inghams recommends: Caribou Lodge, 4*
The Caribou Lodge is a great place to stay in Banff. The ski bus stops right outside for ready access to the base stations of Sunshine Village and Norquay. This charming lodge has a friendly ambience enhanced by the welcoming Canadian hospitality.
Best for: Skiing across boarders
Cervinia offers skiers and boarders miles of excellent, gentle cruising. Its spectacular setting at the foot of the Matterhorn and across the border from Zermatt, Switzerland makes Cervinia a unique ski destination.
The Plateau Rosa gondola opens up access to incredible, sweeping red runs, including the route to Valtournenche, one of the longest runs in the world. It’s ideal for relaxed cruising and often one of the quietest areas of the mountain.
Skiing across to Zermatt is a hugely enjoyable experience. Bad weather can close the link between resorts and you’ll need your passport, but this adventurous detour is certainly worth it. The easiest slopes in Zermatt will be the first to greet you over the border, and the change in countries will bring real diversity to your skiing experience.
Inghams recommends: Xtra Chalet Dragon
Inghams’ very own Xtra Chalet Dragon has a prime spot in Cervinia only a minute’s walk from the chairlift and to the village centre. Situated at the foot of the slope, the outdoor sun terrace is a popular après-ski spot and affords spectacular views of the Matterhorn.
Best for: Extensive ski area
Davos has a huge ski area offering a great deal of variety to keep you occupied throughout your holiday. Long, cruising reds characterise the types of runs you are likely to encounter, with the routes across the Parsenn’s mountain being of particular note.
The Parsenn’s Super Runs connects Davos with the charming village of Klosters and the furtherreaches of the Prättigau valley, including Serneus and Küblis. Long, swooping red runs, the pistes are not generally too steep but have their occasional challenges. The Super Runs are great for touring, and you can take the train home to Davos (included in your lift pass) at the end of your trip.
Inghams recommends: Hotel Seehof, 5*
Not only is the Hotel Seehof an elegant 5* hotel in the middle of Davos, but it is also right next to the Parsenn ski lift. It will take you no time at all to get to Davos’ Super Runs! The hotel is also one of the oldest in town and is trusted for its high standards of service.
La Plagne, France
Best for: Intermediate heaven
La Plagne’s extensive ski area provides a near-endless variety for intermediate skiers and boarders. Pretty much the entire area is accessible with wide blue and reds from almost every lift.
Head to the top of the Bellcôte glacier for incredible glacier skiing and amazing views stretching as far as Mont Blanc. The Mont Blanc blue run from the top of the Dos Rond is a gorgeous piste, which winds through the trees. It’s ideal for intermediates who enjoy a long ski run.
On the other side of the mountains is sunny Champagny, home to the ominous sounding Kamikaze and the Hara-Kiri red runs. The runs here provide a bit more of a challenge. There are also some steep runs and moguls from the top of the Roche de Mio, suitable for better intermediates.
Inghams recommends: Chalet Sarsonnet
One of Inghams most popular chalets, the Chalet Sarsonnet is a delightful blend traditional and modern styles. The lounge and living area provides spectacular views of the mountains from its large windows and terrace. It is the ideal place to unwind with afternoon tea and cake after a long day on the slopes.
Best for: Huge ski circus
If racking up the kilometres and having a vast amount of piste to explore is what makes a perfect ski holiday, then Saalbach may just be the perfect ski resort. The Saalbach ski area forms a huge ski circus with neighbouring Hinterglemm, Leogang and Fieberbrunn. It’s ideal for long days in the mountains, cruising for miles along leisurely blue and testing red runs.
To the south of Saalbach are the Bernkogel and Kohlmaiskopf mountains, which offer a range of delightful blue and red runs. On the opposite side of the valley, the north facing Zwölferkogel and Schattberg mountains provide some trickier runs, well suited to experienced intermediates.
The impressively fast lifts make travelling around what is Austria’s largest ski area exceedingly easy. It is quite feasible to travel around the ski circus in a day, or you could do each section in instalments over the course of your holiday.
Inghams recommends: Hotel Saalbacher Hof, 4.5*
The Hotel Saalbacher Hof is a popular, family-run hotel with excellent access to both the Bernkogel and Schattberg sides of the valley. The incredible leisure facilities, including a stunning indoor pool, make this a fantastic property to unwind in at the end of the ski day.
Best for: Incredible Sella Ronda ski circuit
You can’t talk about intermediate skiing without talking about the Sella Ronda. A circle of ski runs and lifts in the heart of the Dolomites, you can ski for miles in the vast Sella Ronda without ever encountering the same lift or piste more than once.
There are a total of 23kms of runs in the Sella Ronda and they are all accessible to confident intermediates. You can ski right around the Sella Ronda massif in approximately five to six hours, choosing either clockwise (faster) or anti-clockwise (more challenging) routes. It’s a great way to spend the day on the mountain, and the scenery is outstanding.
You can visit the Sella Ronda from many of the resorts in the Dolomites: Arabba, Corvar and Colfosco, and Canazei. Perhaps the most popular resort in the area is Selva, a pretty village with great access to one of the best parts of the ski circuit.
Inghams recommends: Hotel Continental, 4*
It would be hard to find a more convenient location than the Hotel Continental. With its ski-in/ski-out position at the base of the Dantercepies gondola it provides ready access to the extensive Dolomites ski area.
Best for: Mountain explorers
Andorra is often overlooked as a ski destination, many skiers favouring the established resorts of the Alps. Yet, ignore Andorra at your peril: the Pyrenees easily rivals the beauty of the Alps and the modern and efficient lift networks are superb.
The ski resort of Soldeu is a particular favourite of ours. The large ski area will be familiar to anyone used to skiing and snowboarding in Alpine resorts. It is especially suited to intermediate skiers, with plenty of cruising blue and red runs. The entire area is easy to traverse, and long runs make it ideal for piste-bashers wanting to rack up the kilometres.
The Grandvalira ski area, of which Soldeu is at the heart, provides a huge variety of ski terrain. Around Soldeu and neighbouring El Tarter you will find spectacular tree skiing. Meanwhile, at the end of the valley near Grau Roig you’ll find high altitude runs and the area’s best powder. It is a region that consistently rewards exploring.
Inghams recommends: Hotel Piolets Park and Spa 4*
Only a 3-minute walk to the main gondola, the Hotel Piolets Park and Spa is fantastic base for a holiday in Soldeu. The stylish hotel has outstanding facilities, including a mountain spa with a large indoor swimming pool and a children’s pool. The amazing restaurant offers a spectacular (and extensive) buffet dinner – the perfect reward for a day spent on the slopes.