The 7 best places to ski this winter
I remember the last time I put on a pair of skis like it was yesterday. I was in Kitzbühel, in January 2020, and a few hours before my flight home, I hiked freshly groomed slopes until the very last moment, oblivious to the fact that I would not be skiing for almost two years.
Now the horn to mark the start of the 2021/22 ski season is about to sound, and I – like thousands of others who have watched snow fall in mountains we couldn’t reach. last winter – I’m more excited than ever to get back on the slopes. .
This bubbling anticipation does not seem unfounded either. Traffic lights have been removed, testing requirements are easing, and resorts are ready and waiting. Cécile Ferrando from Val d’Isère predicts “happy days” to come: “It’s been far too long and we can’t wait to see the British skiers again.
During the last 19 months, the station work has not stopped; in fact, the free time gave some of them space to work on new projects. From advanced ski lifts in Val Thorens and Orelle, to blockbuster events including a double-whamming Hahnenkamm race in Kitzbühel, and a host of activities ranging from skydiving off the Eiger to an illuminated night-time walking trail in Les Gets , there is no doubt that the mountains will be alive and well.
The pandemic has also inevitably been a catalyst for change – lift passes, lessons and equipment rentals are now widely available to book in advance. In France, take-out food, previously notoriously hard to find, is commonplace, while in North America, mandatory reservations for mountain dining have made for a skip-the-line experience.
“We can’t wait for this season to arrive,” said Rupert Longsdon, founder of the Oxford Ski Company, where bookings are at their highest level in 23 years. Other operators are reporting full schedules – UK company Le Ski is already 83 percent full. This is proof enough that the strong and the tough are back in the race to bring skiers and snowboarders to the slopes. “We expect this to be our biggest and busiest year ever,” said Nick Williams, manager of Mountain Heaven, which has purchased six new cabins in La Plagne to meet growing demand.
The race is on: go to the start line.
Families on a low budget
Once again open to British tourists and with new flights to Innsbruck from Edinburgh and Bristol, Austria is already on the rise as winter approaches. As always, short transfers, English-speaking ski schools, and inexpensive hotels make this a great destination for families. Small resorts like Alpbach or Niederau in the Wildschönau Valley are not only beautiful places to stay, they are also ideal for young beginners, while confident teenage skiers and snowboarders – and their parents – can enjoy the most slopes. difficult from Saalbach, Hintertux or St Anton with its connections to Zürs and Lech, both with new lifts this season. Snow-sure Obergurgl is a good choice for skiing before Christmas or the Easter holidays.
Book here: Hotel Lohman in Obergurgl. From £ 1,041 for a family of four, departing April 2, 2022 with Crystal Ski (020 8610 3123; crystalski.fr), which offers the other stations mentioned. Seefeld is good for ski schools, children’s slopes and plenty to do off-piste, and Söll for its large ski area and budget accommodation. Both available through Ski Solutions (020 7471 7761; skisolutions.com).
Covid Rules: Proof of vaccination, convalescence or a negative test will be required to access the cable cars, accommodation, restaurants and bars. FFP2 face masks are mandatory in designated areas.