Out of of­fice: sub­lime skiing

Want some ski ac­tion this win­ter? These four des­ti­na­tions are guar­an­teed to de­liver snow – and plenty more be­sides

Grazia (UK) - - Contents -

Luxe chic at… courcheval, france

This fa­mous and fab­u­lously glam ski area is at one end of the Trois Val­lées, the world’s largest lift-linked ski area. With north-fac­ing slopes, Courcheval has some of the best snow – and an im­pres­sive après-ski too. The skiing Courcheval’s slopes rank among the best in the world – ex­pect long, smooth, con­fi­dence­boost­ing pistes and soft, squeaky snow that’s fab for in­ter­me­di­ate skiers. There are 150km of runs, of which 23 are green, 34 blue, 32 red and 10 black. The vast lift sys­tem in­cludes the re­sorts of Méri­bel, st Martin de Belleville, Les Menuires, Val Thorens and La Ta­nia too. head to Creux, a long red piste at the top of Courchevel, first thing – it’s more of­ten than not sunny, quiet and of­fers plenty of va­ri­ety for brush­ing up on tech­nique. When vis­i­bil­ity isn’t great, nip to Folyères, a long blue that runs through nar­nia-style trees into La Ta­nia. Where To stay Courcheval 1850 has long at­tracted the glossy posse, but Courchevel 1650 (also known as Mo­riond) is cosier and has iden­ti­cal skiing. Check into Portetta, a 38-room ho­tel that’s pitched per­fectly piste-side and run by own­ers of Uk hotspots Lime Wood and The Pig. it chan­nels stylish but cosy moun­tain chic with squishy so­fas, re­claimed wood and stone floors, open fires, an im­pres­sive spa and a bril­liant has­sle-min­imis­ing ski hire fa­cil­ity in the base­ment. The après-ski ac­claimed Brit chef angela hart­nett has a res­i­dency at Portetta’s Cucina an­gelina and, oof, it’s good. ex­pect an ital­ian-in­flu­enced menu cel­e­brat­ing lo­cally sourced pro­duce, with an im­pres­sive ar­ray of meat grilled on an open range within the restau­rant it­self. or check out koori at L’apogée in Courcheval 1850; it sure isn’t cheap, but serves up mouth­wa­ter­ing sushi with im­pec­ca­ble ser­vice ( oetk­er­col­lec­tion.com). Folie Douce ( lafoliedouce.com) in Meri­bel is the place for wild af­ter­noon par­ties and La Boulotte in Mo­riond ( laboulotte.ch) is great for live mu­sic and beers. The LOW­DOWN rooms at Portetta start from £215pn ( portetta.com). Fly to Cham­bery air­port, which is just over 100km away, from £90 one way ( skyscan­ner.net). Daily lift passes are about £50pp.

Pic­ture per­fect skiing at… lake louise, canada

The hype about Lake Louise is not hy­per­bole. Set in Al­berta’s Banff Na­tional Park, the turquoise glacier-fed lake is in­sanely beau­ti­ful and the nearby Lake Louise Ski Re­sort has an as­ton­ish­ing 4,200 ski­able acres of pris­tine cham­pagne pow­der to carve. the Skiing Free shut­tles ferry you to the ski area, and the chances are, if you’re still ad­just­ing to the Cana­dian time zone, you’ll be up and at ’em early enough to en­joy fresh tracks – 139 runs of empty per­fec­tion. Re­fuel at the tim­ber-framed Lodge of ten Peaks at the base, where well-earned com­fort food is served in front of huge stone fire­places. where to Stay The rooms at the five-star Fair­mont Chateau Lake Louise are simple and el­e­gant and the set­ting is mag­i­cal. if you can, splash out on a lake view. From here, skate in pic­turesque per­fec­tion, or book a place on a horse- drawn sleigh around the perime­ter. Don’t miss an au­then­tic snow-shoe­ing ex­pe­ri­ence or a half- day trip to the frozen falls at John­ston Canyon. the APRÈS-SKI This re­sort is not re­ally about nightlife, but what it lacks in après-ski is more than com­pen­sated for at the Fair­mont, where waist-bust­ing Swiss fon­dues are served up in the wal­liser Stube (£28 for two) and ro­man­tic for­mal meals can be savoured in the Fairview (about £50pp). There’s an ice bar out­side and, if you get the chance, switch your usual après pint for Cana­dian ice wine – it’s so good it’s rarely ex­ported. the Low­down Rooms start from £165pn ( fair­mont.com). Day passes for Lake Louise cost from £67 ( skibig3.com). Flights from Lon­don to Cal­gary cost from £663 per per­son ( air­canada.com).

Snow­boarder heaven at… flims, switzer­land

Un­like its showy neigh­bour Zer­matt, Flims has re­tained much of its orig­i­nal Alpine charm, with pretty chalets pop­u­lat­ing the vil­lage and a rapid gon­dola that con­nects it with the huge Laax ski area. the skiing There are slopes for all abil­i­ties among the 224km of pisted runs at Laax and, unusu­ally, snow­board­ers are en­cour­aged here – there are four snow parks and it plays host each Jan­uary to the Laax Open, a mind-blow­ing four­day con­test of slopestyle and halfpipe tech­nique. where to stay set within its own park­land above Flims, the wald­haus is more of a re­sort than a ho­tel, with rooms, suites and chalets spread around mul­ti­ple el­e­gant Belle Époque build­ings. The spa is amaz­ing – as well as a menu of im­pec­ca­bly de­liv­ered treat­ments, there’s a spec­tac­u­lar in­door and out­door pool com­plex. The mixed naked sauna, fol­lowed by a dip in the ice-hole carved into the pond out­side, is a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. the Après-ski The re­cently re-opened moun­tain sta­tion gaalaxy ( laax.com/skige­bi­etschweiz/galaaxy) has a restau­rant with 360° views. Come evening, head for Laax vil­lage and the un­der­ground rid­ers palace night­club ( rid­er­shotel. com/club) for ibiza-style Dj-ing. For some­thing more re­fined, en­joy re­gional spe­cial­i­ties at the wald­haus’s epoca (the Alpine hay soup is de­li­cious) or head to the ho­tel’s sum­mit Bar for a cock­tail. the LOW­DOWN su­pe­rior dou­ble rooms at the wald­haus from about £300pn B&B; chalets from £289pn ( wald­haus-flims.ch). Fly to Zurich or geneva on swis­sair from £67( swiss.com). Down­load the in­side Laax app to get a lift pass from about £38.

La dolce vita at… san mar­tino di cas­trozza, italy

high in the Dolomites, this re­sort in the trentino re­gion is a Unesco na­tional her­itage area dom­i­nated by tow­er­ing, rugged peaks that turn spec­tac­u­lar shades of pink at dawn and sun­set. the skiing some­thing for ev­ery­one, from broad and gen­tle to in­ter­me­di­ate slopes and plung­ing blacks. part of the Dolomite su­per­ski area, as well as skiing in san Mar­tino di Cas­trozza it­self (48km of pisted ski runs), lift passes give you ac­cess to the en­tire area with its 1,420km of down­hill skiing that in­cludes 668 pistes, served by 573 ski lifts. The trentino ski sun­rise pro­gramme also gives you ex­clu­sive early-morn­ing ac­cess to the slopes – break­fast in a moun­tain hut fol­lowed by skiing as dawn breaks. Mag­i­cal. where to stay The re­cently ren­o­vated his­toric res­i­dence Madonna has five apart­ments with views of the mag­nif­i­cent pale di san Mar­tino moun­tain. the Après-ski The cow­boy-themed ranch ( face­book.com/ranchthe­do­lomites­bar) is where ev­ery­one heads for post-skiing drinks. For din­ner, ris­torante Da Anita serves de­li­cious lo­cal fare ( ris­torante-daanita.com). On week­ends only, try the scenic refu­gio rosetta, high on pale di san Mar­tino ( rifu­giorosetta.it). the LOW­DOWN A two-per­son apart­ment starts from £123pn ( res­i­dence­madonna.it). Fly to Verona (about £55; easyjet.com, ryanair.com, whizz.com), then hire a car or take a trans­fer to san Mar­tino di Cas­trozza.

Scenic skiing, Lake Louise

Cucina An­gelina Loft 3, Portetta

Ice hockey, Lake Louise

Fair­mont Chateau Lake Louise

Dolomites, Trentino

Drink in the Dolomites His­toric Res­i­dence Madonna

Wald­haus, Flims

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