I'm stretching it a bit here. Hintertux, in the Austrian Tyrol, isn't a favourite resort of mine in the same sense as the rest; all other things being equal, it is not one in which you would choose to be confined for a week.

Hintertux is a very small village in a rather confined, sunless position at the head of a long valley, with not a lot to do except to ski and to take the thermal waters around which the resort developed. Its ski area is small, and starts an inconvenient distance from the village.

But the ski area is largely composed of the Tuxer glacier, and for my money it is the best in the Alps - more extensive than most, and more varied than practically all others, with areas that genuinely deserve a black grading. There are reds and genuine blues, too - and, to cap it, a beautiful away-from-the-lifts, off-piste run back to the valley as an alternative to the usual red piste (or gondola ride).

Most people ski at Hintertux when everyone else in the Tirol is skiing at Hintertux, too - that is, when snow is poor at Mayrhofen and Zell am Ziller down the valley, and at resorts farther afield. At such times, there are of course serious lift queues. To sample the glacier at its best, go when snow lower down is OK; up here, it will be brilliant.

CHRIS GILL'S VERDICT: I admit that the ideal glacier area is one connected to a normal ski area, so that you can move from the one to the other easily and spend your time where it seems best spent. Hintertux fails this test by a wide margin. But if your glacier skiing has been confined to such places as Zermatt and Les Deux Alpes, or even Tignes and Verbier, the Tuxer glacier will be a revelation.

(Photograph omitted)

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