Majestic scenery is high on my list of requirements for a really satisfying skiing holiday. Some resorts qualify by offering the immediate drama of peaks and precipices in the ski area - the Eiger looming over the runs between Grindelwald and Wengen, for example. Others offer wide Alpine panoramas, seen to best advantage from high up on the slopes.

Alpe-d'Huez, Flaine and St Moritz are among the resorts that have special views of this kind. But, last weekend, I stated that one mountain-scape stands out, above all others, in the skiing world: the view southward from the slopes of Crans-Montana, in Switzerland. Those who love mountains should see it.

The mountains, ranged along the Italian border, form a spectacular skyline, with the deep valley of the Rhone in the foreground. Spread over a panorama of almost 180 degrees are scores of sharp peaks, from the Dom in the east, (Switzerland's highest at 4545m), past the Matterhorn, Dent Blanche, the Grand Combin and the aiguilles, to Mont Blanc.

The view can be enjoyed from restaurant terraces , but is at its best from the top of the long run that starts at Plaine Morte, at about 3000m. This run also promises some of the best snow conditions.

Plaine Morte used to be served by a small, old cable-car which routinely generated hour-long queues. Last season it was replaced by the latest thing in ski lifts: a twin-cable gondola with huge cabins, which not only carries many more people per hour but also is able to operate in high winds.

You can ski from Plaine Morte right down to the bottom gondola station, covering about 11km and dropping 1500m. The rest of the Crans-Montana skiing is extensive and interesting, with peaks, valleys and rock outcrops giving a sense of place. And those in search of a challenge can look off-piste.

The "villages" of Crans and Montana with their severe, block buildings and towny ambience are difficult to love. But the setting is certainly very pleasant.

Snow report

"Is the piste so hard?" The world's prettiest ski mechanic waved her edge file at the line of skis awaiting her attention in Saas-Fee. Yes, early this week even north-facing slopes at 3,500m were hard. Many Swiss resorts have had mainly sunny weather for two to three weeks now; temperatures first went up and then down, leaving a hard base at altitude and ice lower down. Things softened up later in the week: conditions in Andermatt on Thursday were superb. High French resorts have generally had the best conditions this week - the snow has stayed softer, while in Italy, the Dolomite resorts are looking rather thin. Most Austrian resorts reported some new snow last weekend - 20cm in Saalbach, for example. The already good conditions in the Pyrenees got a further boost in midweek. In eastern Europe, Bulgaria is looking good. North America has the best conditions; many resorts have had fresh snow this week. Both Mammoth in California and Snowbird in Utah claim over 4m on the upper slopes.

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