Fast track: You don’t have to be World-Cup class to benefit

Winter update: World Cup at Schladming will prove a boon to tourists

One of the biggest events in world skiing will take place in Austria from 4-17 February, when the Alpine Ski World Championships roll in to the resort of Schladming (schladming2013.com). The event attracts around 650 athletes from 70 nations, with the main downhill ski events rated second only to the Winter Olympics.

Get set: skiers beside Lac des Vaux above Verbier

Thrills and spills in stylish Verbier

This swish Swiss resort offers top-notch skiing, hearty dining  options – and terrifying tobogganing, says  Adam Leigh

The Big Six: Miami beach retreats

The Freehand, Indian Creek Drive

This hip hostel comes from the Sydell Group, notable for The NoMad and The Ace hotels in New York. Once again, they've drafted in Roman & Williams for the interiors (responsible for the industrial-chic look at the Ace), so low rates won't equate to a style compromise. At The Freehand, they've opted for a beach cabin feel, with wooden floors and nautical hues in the dorms and doubles. There's a tropical pool, a Broken Shaker cocktail bar and a new restaurant, The House, to come in March.

The Freehand, 2727 Indian Creek Drive (001 305 531 2727; thefreehand.com). Dorm beds start at $30 (£19), room only.

Traveller's guide: Winter city breaks

Don't leave it until spring – now's the time to take advantage of crowd-free museums and cheaper hotel rates. There's even the chance of some sunshine

Going downhill? The ski industry hopes for growth

Snow report: Will this winter turn the ski industry around?

Last season saw the fourth successive decline in the numbers of Brits heading to the ski slopes. Overall, numbers are down by more than a quarter since the economic crash, according to annual surveys by the UK's biggest operator Crystal and the non-profit Ski Club of Great Britain.

The Big Six: British urban B&Bs

The Pig in the Wall, Southampton

In October, this little piggy was trotted out by the people behind Hampshire's rural sweethearts – Lime Wood Hotel and The Pig in the Forest. The latest plot stands in a 15th-century wool house in Southampton's medieval walls, with the same rustic feel as its sister properties, but fewer rooms (just 12 this time) and no formal restaurant. Instead, breakfast is served before an open fire in the lounge and a free transfer is available to whisk guests to dinner at The Pig in the Forest.

The Pig in the Wall, Southampton, Hampshire SO14 2AZ (023-8063 6900; thepighotel.com). Doubles from £115. Breakfast £10pp.

Caribbean dream: a Luxury Villa

Winter sports: In search of the high life

Based at the highest ski city in the alps, Arnie Wilson tackles the black runs of Serre Chevalier, then heads off on a nature trail to discover secrets beneath the snow

The ski tour from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn

The Lonely Planet Adventure: The Haute Route

The Big Six: Modern ski hotels

Hotel Zhero, Austria

This week, the temperature drops to Zhero in the Austrian Tyrol. The eagerly awaited hotel is due to open near the mountain village of Kappl on Wednesday. Expect 78 rooms and suites with a smooth, contemporary finish, four penthouses with butler service, a grill-style à la carte restaurant with executive chef Klaus Brunmayr, and a luxurious spa. Ski services will include an in-house shop for equipment hire and activities, plus a free daily shuttle to the slopes of Ischgl.

Hotel Zhero, Wiese 687, Kappl, Austria (00 43 5445 20 111 12; zherohotelgroup.com). Doubles start at €109, room only.

Peak viewing: Chris Davenport, left, and Simon Usborne

Winter sports: Go for gold in Colorado

Simon Usborne explores Aspen old and new with the resort’s king of the mountains

Heavenly’s pistes, Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe: A quest to ski seven resorts in seven days

With only a week to explore the terrain, Matt Carroll heads for the hills

On track: Swiss Alps Ski Train makes Zermatt easier to reach Switzerland tourism
Killy Nymphe Down jacket: The fur trim might be faux but there’s nothing fake about its 650-fill duck down insulation. The exterior materials are waterproof and breathable, and have a little stretch for a slimline, tailored look. (£550; killy.com).

Great getaways: Chamonix and Salt Lake City

French fancy

Top Tirol: Austria is opening its new Tirolean “Ski Jewel”, which will include Wildschönau

Snow Report: The new season delivers fresh areas to explore

Resorts in Austria, Italy and North America are creating new domains and adding extra slopes, says Patrick Thorne

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