There are a deluge of different ski spots to choose from and finding one that ticks the right boxes can prove tricky.
But never fear as help is at hand with our round-up of some of the best slopes to hit, with these snowy gems proving to be better value for money than some of the more popular ski destinations – and less crowded.
So whether you’re looking for a ski resort to take the family or for a romantic getaway, scroll down to find the mountain getaway that most suits you…
Piste of cake: There a deluge of different ski spots to choose from and finding one that ticks the right boxes can prove tricky
Best for families
A glitzy all-rounder
Champoluc is a quiet village in a wooded corner of the Aosta Valley, surrounded by soaring peaks. It has managed to keep a low profile despite it being a core component of the giant, 44-lift Monterosa Ski area. But this year sees the addition of the glitzy, five-star Campzero hotel (campzero.com) and the resultant publicity will no doubt raise prices. Gressoney and the off-piste terrain of Alagna are its linked neighbours.
Stay: Champoluc is home to Hampshire-based tour operator Ski2, which runs its own ski school and nursery (01962 713330, ski2champoluc.com). Transfers, but not flights, lift passes, lunches and ski guiding are all included from £945 half-board in four-star Hotel Le Campagnol.
Champoluc is a quiet village in a wooded corner of the Aosta Valley, surrounded by soaring peaks. It has managed to keep a low profile but this year sees the addition of the glitzy, five-star Campzero hotel
France’s Cauterets is a traditional Pyrenean town that was a 19th-century spa before turning to skiing for its main source of income. It’s the most snowsure resort in the region, with 21 lifts going up to 8,202 ft. The transfer from Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrenees Airport is 45 minutes, while the pilgrimage centre of Lourdes is 18 miles away. The ESF (esf-cauterets.com) and ESI (esprit-montagne.org) schools both offer lessons for three-year-olds and up, and there is creche care for babies and toddlers from two months to three years old.
Stay: A self-catering apartment for four in Le Domaine des 100 Lacs costs from £139pp through Erna Low (ernalow.co.uk, 020 3930 1551). Flights at extra cost with Ryanair.
France’s Cauterets is a traditional Pyrenean town that was a 19th-century spa before turning to skiing for its main source of income. It’s the most snowsure resort in the region, with 21 lifts going up to 8,202 ft. Above, a view of mountains in the Cauterets ares
Best for experts
High spirits, low prices
The majority of ski areas in Eastern Europe fall short of competing with even their humblest counterparts in the Alps or the Pyrenees — but Slovakia’s Jasna in the Low Tatras is the exception. It has substantial terrain with outstanding freeride, an efficient lift system, solid snow record, four-star accommodation — and low prices.
Stay: The Dragon’s Lair (dragonslairjasna.co.uk) is a modern B&B run by an Australian and his Slovakian wife. It sleeps up to 19 people in five bedrooms and costs from £475pp, including ski pass and transfers from Poprad (40 minutes). Luton Wizzair flights from £92 return (wizzair.com).
Fieberbrunn is now part of Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm, the second-largest ski circuit in Austria, with 168 miles of pistes and 68 lifts. The addition of this Tirolean village gives the circuit expert appeal, with accessible and challenging off-piste runs. In February, Fieberbrunn is a stage of the Swatch Freeride World Tour. But, of course, you don’t have to be an expert, there are plenty of runs for all standards.
Stay: Half-board at four-star Austria Trend Alpine Resort is £939pp through Snowfinders (snowfinders.co.uk, 01858 466888), including Gatwick-Salzburg flights and transfers. The hotel has a pool and is next to the gondola.
Alpine charm: The Tirolean village Fieberbrunn in Austria. Fieberbrunn is now part of Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm, the second-largest ski circuit in Austria, with 168 miles of pistes
Best for couples
Ortisei, situated at the opposite end of the Val Gardena to Selva, is an attractive little town with a pedestrianised centre and some fine 18th and 19th-century architecture. Italians call it Ortisei; German speakers in this multi-lingual corner of the Dolomites call it St Ulrich, while to the Ladin locals it is Urtijei. Visitors can ski Val Gardena/Sella Ronda, or the less challenging but beautiful Alpe di Siusi circuit.
Stay: Friendly four-star Hotel Dolomiti Madonna costs from £789pp half-board with Inghams (inghams.co.uk, 01483 345 652), including flights and transfers.
Igls is a picturesque village just four miles from Innsbruck in Austria. It has an international bobsleigh track and its own small Patscherkofel ski area, the venue for the men’s downhill at the 1976 Winter Olympics. But the real beauty of Igls lies in its proximity to other resorts, such as Axamer Lizum, Neustift and the Stubai Glacier, plus Innsbruck’s challenging Nordkette. A rental car is ideal, but the local bus service is efficient and Innsbruck after-hours is a short taxi ride away, where a romantic evening in the Tirolean capital is a holiday essential.
Stay: Three-star Hotel Bon Alpina is in the resort centre, a three-minute walk to the Patscherkofel lift, and has an indoor/outdoor swimming pool. It costs from £530pp for seven nights half-board (sno.co.uk, 020 7770 6888), including Gatwick flights and airport transfers.
Igls is a picturesque village just four miles from Innsbruck in Austria and the perfect place for a romantic getaway. Three-star Hotel Bon Alpina (pictured) is in the resort centre, a three-minute walk to the Patscherkofel lift
Best for novices
Top of the class
El Tarter, in Andorra, is a hamlet in the Grandvalira ski area, the largest in the principality, with 120 miles of pistes. You won’t need more than a fraction of this in your first week, but it does have an outstanding ski school. Duty-free prices help to offset the poor pound/euro exchange rate. Neighbouring Soldeu has the nightlife and is within staggering distance, but if you’re taking lessons seriously, you should be too tired for late nights.
Stay: From £365pp half-board at Hotel Del Clos, including flights, though Neilson (neilson.co.uk, 0330 0572283).
El Tarter, in Andorra, is a hamlet in the Grandvalira ski area, the largest in the principality, with 120 miles of pistes and an outstanding ski school. A stay at Hotel Del Clos costs from £365pp half-board
Montgenevre is the only French component of the 250-mile Milky Way ski area that spans the Franco-Italian frontier near Briancon. Sestriere and Sauze d’Oulx are its best-known Italian villages. The resort is family-oriented with superb nursery slopes and childcare facilities, and an organised ski school. Montgenevre has to compete on cost with its Italian neighbours, so prices are much lower than in mainstream French resorts.
Stay: Le Napoleon is a collection of 54 sleek, modern apartments with a pool and wellness centre. From £983 for a one-bedroom self-catering apartment with Peak Retreats (peakretreats.co.uk, 023 9283 9310). Fly Drive price includes Flexiplus Eurotunnel crossings.
Best for apres ski
Open all hours
Sangria and sunshine rather than snow and slalom are the customary ingredients for a stay in Spain. But the country has a small clutch of ski resorts to rival anything the Alps has to offer. Baqueira Beret, in the Pyrenees, is the best, with 81 miles of varied pistes, 33 lifts and some of the cheapest heli-skiing in Europe.
If you’re a party person, you’ll need to adjust your body clock to Spanish ski time: lunch as late as 3pm, tapas-and-Tempranillo until 7pm, then a siesta followed by dinner at 11pm, and finally clubbing from 2am. The upside for early birds is that you have the pistes to yourself until mid-morning.
Stay: Ski Miquel (skimiquelholidays.co.uk, 01457 821 200) is the specialist. Chalet-Hotel Salana is comfortable and centrally located. From £699pp half-board with flights and transfers.
A Romanian romp
If you want easy skiing, rock-bottom prices and a lively nightlife, then Poiana Brasov in Romania could be the place for you. The ski school has a fine reputation. There’s sufficient terrain for beginners, but stronger skiers and snowboarders will quickly run out of runs. The resort lies in the Carpathians, a three-hour drive north from Bucharest. Dracula’s Castle is 14 miles away.
Stay: You’ll find Romanian folk music at Dacian’s Lounge and The Outlaw’s Hut. Capra Neagra is the main nightclub, but serious party animals take a taxi to explore the vibrant, lovely old town of Poiana Brasov, seven miles away. From £624pp at Hotel Sport & Spa, half-board, including flights and transfers, through Balkan Holidays (balkanholidays.co.uk, 0207 543 5555).
If you want easy skiing, rock-bottom prices and a lively nightlife, then Poiana Brasov in Romania could be the place for you