A snowboarder takes off in Adelboden

Bear with Bern for Swiss skiing

Stephen Wood arrives at the gateway to the Bernese Oberland with plenty of respect for the slopes – and for the city's ursine inhabitants.

Harry Moran with pro snowboarder Jenny Jones at Tignes

Tignes and toddlers go well in the spring

Warmer days and softer snow can make late-season skiing safer and more fun for children, as Chris Moran discovers

Hot and cold: Alpentherme spa complex

Off piste and into the spa: Austria's Bad Hofgastein offers far more than skiing

Past the town's cross-country skiing track, a little further on from an icy-looking pond peppered with hardy ducks, steam was rising from the valley floor. A series of low-rise modern buildings, large windows brightly lit against the surrounding mountains, awaited me, grouped around a striking dome and a simple glass box.

Sochi, the venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics, has opened its slopes

Sochi: All white in this Black Sea ski resort

The venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics, has opened its slopes up to British skiers. Adrian Mourby gives it a test run

Upwardly mobile: Snowshoeing across the slopes of Etna

Fire and ice: Strap on your snow shoes and explore Mount Etna

There is one vital ingredient to every snowshoeing trip. And that's snow. Pulling back the curtains of my hotel room window, I gazed out at the sheer slopes of Mount Etna. There wasn't a flake to be seen. Did Luca, my guide, have some bad news? "Don't worry," he said, while loading our snowshoes into the van.

Downhill dangers: knowing and understanding ski safety and the rules of the piste is vital whatever your ability

The safe ski guide

The death of pro skier Sarah Burke has made snow-lovers concerned about the sport’s safety. But a sensible approach to the slopes can reduce the risks.

Fast lane: The Hannig sledge run

Snowed under in Switzerland: Saas-Fee is delightful despite a little too much of the white stuff

A family skiing holiday is all about balance – and not just in the obvious ways. But let's start with them anyway. Obviously, everyone should be trying to stay upright on the slopes. For that there's ski school. In Saas-Fee, the exquisitely sculpted resort at the heart of Switzerland's narrow Saas Valley, there are three to choose from: Optimum (swanky green gear), Eskimo (powder blue) and the Swiss Ski School (red and white, naturally). Given the destination, the Swiss version seemed most appropriate, although my instructor, Robert Fuller, later turned out to be from Essex. As I say, there's a balance to be struck. His homespun acumen would come in very handy. Meanwhile, my two sons, aged nine and six, were assigned a local who would have them carving neat turns on the nursery slopes in no time.

<p>(1) iTrailMap3D</p>
<p>£2.99</p>
<p>Hit the lodge after a hard day's skiing, grab a beer and compare your routes and tracks with your friends using this 3D map and tracking app. When you get home, you can export the info to Google Earth.</p>

The 10 Best ski apps

(1) iTrailMap3D

£2.99

Hit the lodge after a hard day's skiing, grab a beer and compare your routes and tracks with your friends using this 3D map and tracking app. When you get home, you can export the info to Google Earth.

Peak condition: The charming Austrian resort of St Johann

Snow Report: Austria's welcome still warm... after 50 years

I'm proud to say that my mother was one of the first package holiday tourists to venture abroad soon after the Second World War, when leisure travel began to lower its costs and thus widen its appeal beyond the upper classes.

Music in the mountains

Patrick Thorne works his way around the best mountainous music festivals
Out cold: The King’s Trail crosses some spectacular and savage terrain

Sweden: Go wild in winter

An extraordinary trek on cross-country skis across the Swedish tundra leaves Simon Birch dazzled by the Arctic landscape

Hip and cool: St Moritz is the place to see and be seen

Switzerland: The original and the best

Davos is the highest city in Europe, St Moritz is all about high style – but both have epic skiing, says Leslie Woit

Traveller's guide: Late-season snow

Fancy some fun in the sun? The time to hit the slopes is as spring takes the edge off winter's chill, says Matt Barr

Ski news: the season so far

Snow fall

Stand ups sit down: the Altitude Comedy Festival has relocated to Austria

Snow joke: altitude with a touch of attitude

The man who skis all day

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