THROUGHOUT the ski season, we will be choosing the best destinations - using a different criterion every week. And what better way to launch this series of mini-reviews than with the vital matter of lunch spots?

In this respect, Zermatt is without serious rival; the mountain restaurants here are so attractive and numerous that they add an extra dimension to a holiday.

The main concentration of rustic chalets is at Furi (at the top of the first stage of lifts towards Klein Matterhorn) and on the gentle home run from there - understandably popular at tea-time. But the Sunnegga sector provides strong competition: fabulous views of the Matterhorn from the terraces of Findeln, and cosy retreats in the woods above Reid.

PLUS POINTS: Majestic scenery. Atmospheric car-free village. Extensive and varied skiing. Huge area of glacier skiing. Splendid off-piste runs. Well-developed heli-skiing industry.

MINUS POINTS: Inconveniently separated ski areas and lifts, so depending on where you stay, you may face long walks or expensive rides. No village nursery slopes. Gornergrat (the best sector for intermediates) is reached by slow and crowded mountain railway. Klein Matterhorn first-stage lifts are queue-prone. The KM glacier is virtually flat.

(Photograph omitted)