With all the uncertainty and constant upheaval in the world of travel, your ski dreams might have to wait until later in the season.
And when you do hit the slopes, you may well want to avoid crowded mega-resorts and choose from one of these smaller ski areas instead.
Here’s our pick of the best resorts to book for Easter 2021.
As all of these countries are currently off the FCDO’s safe list, it’s 99 per cent likely that your usual travel insurance policy will be invalid. There are several specialist insurers and brokers who will cover you for winter holidays in countries where the FCDO has advised against travel. These include Voyager Insurance, Battleface and MPI Brokers. Do not consider a ski trip without travel cover, as any medical emergency will cost you thousands of pounds.
They are also not on the government’s travel corridors list (at time of writing), which means you will have to quarantine for 10 days on return, unless you take advantage of the test to release scheme.
Ruka, right near the Russian border in central Finland, is proper winter wonderland territory. There are only 24km of slopes, and you won’t get the air-thinning heights of the Alps, but you’ll have tons of snow and charm in the log cabins dotted around the village. Along with cross-country skiing and dog-sledding, there’s snowmobiling and reindeer sleigh rides.
Crystal Ski has a week’s self-catering at the Aurinkorinne Apartments, a 10-minute walk from the centre (but has a drag lift to the main ski area). Prices start at £654pp, including flights and transfers, departing 7 February (Crystal has not put its Easter packages on sale yet). ski.ruka.fi
Slovakia’s largest ski area has only 50km of slopes, but Jasna in the Tatra Mountains manages to pack in a lot of variety as well as value for money. Easy and intermediate pistes mingle with the sort of black runs that feature in World Cup races, along with a challenging freeride area.
Jasna Adventures runs its own Dragon’s Lair chalet, which also has self-contained apartments, as well as double and family rooms. Seven nights’ B&B accommodation costs from €750pp and includes ski passes, equipment hire, airport transfers, daily après-ski drinks and transport to and from lifts. Flights not included. jasna.sk
Le Grand Bornand, France
Cheese and charm are in great abundance in Le Grand-Bornand in the Aravis Mountains. Only an hour’s drive from Geneva, this lovely little village has all the rustic Savoyard ambience you could wish for, along with cheese farms where you can pick up rounds of reblochon. The 90km of slopes include good beginner slopes as well as a few blacks and night skiing at neighbouring Manigod. Hop on the ski bus to La Clusaz for even more variety.
Peak Retreats has a week’s self-catering throughout the season starting at £1,515 for a one-bedroom apartment sleeping up to four at the four-star Le Roc des Tours, which has an indoor pool and spa. The price includes a return Eurotunnel crossing. en.legrandbornand.com
Baqueira Beret, Spain
Tucked into the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, Baqueira Beret has 160km of pistes across three ski areas: Baqueira, Beret and Bonaigua. There’s something for all levels of skier – from novices on nursery slopes to experts who fancy some hardcore off-piste terrain. Ski tourers can get away from it all on several demanding mountain itineraries in the Val d’Aran.
Ski Solutions has a week’s skiing at the Hotel Val de Ruda in March from £700pp, B&B, excluding flights. baqueria.es
Alpbach usually appears on lists of Austria’s prettiest villages – all traditional Tirolean architecture and wooden chalets covered in snow, and connected to equally pretty neighbours Inneralpbach and Auffach. It sits within Ski Juwel’s 128km of slopes, offering a good range for all abilities, and it’s less than an hour from Innsbruck airport. Non-skiers in the party enjoy the fact that the mountain restaurants and their open-air terraces are accessible by gondola, and there’s also a 5km toboggan run.
Inghams has a week’s B&B at Haus Edelweiss, which is handy for the nursery slopes. Prices in February start at £499pp, including flights. alpbachtal.at
Les Carroz, France
The Grand Massif ski domain is often in the shadow of its bigger, glitzier neighbours such as the Trois Vallées. Most skiers usually head to the big resort of Flaine, but if you prefer traditional Savoyard beauty to Flaine’s brutalist architecture, base yourself in the attractive village of Les Carroz. You’ll have wooded slopes just above the village as well as the big bowls of the Grand Massif itself. When you’re not ice skating or dog sledding, relax in the village’s Aquacîme spa centre.
Erna Low has a week’s self-catering at the smart Chalets de Léana in the centre of the village, which features an indoor pool and spa. Prices in March start at £1,022 for a one-bedroom apartment, and includes a return Eurotunnel crossing. lescarroz.com
Mürren is exquisite, a gorgeous little village that happens to have superb views of the Eiger, Jungfrau and Mönch. And then there’s the Schilthorn run, whose 88 per cent incline is the steepest in the Jungfrau valley. But even if you’re not a daredevil, you can still soak up glorious views from the top of the Schilthorn at Piz Gloria, a revolving restaurant you’ll recognise from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. While there are only 53km of pistes, you can also head over to nearby Wengen.
Iglu Ski has seven nights’ half-board at the central Hotel Eiger from £1,061pp in March, including flights and transfers. muerren.ch
Monterosa Ski, Italy
Another underrated ski domain, Monterosa Ski spreads out across the Aosta Valley south of Cervinia, with three ski villages to choose from: Champoluc, Gressoney and Alagna. You’ll have the resorts pretty much to yourself during the week before Italian weekenders arrive on a Saturday. While there’s a good variety of terrain throughout, Monterosa’s big draw are its off-piste and heli-skiing.
Inghams has a week’s half-board at the Hotel Dufour in Gressoney from £739pp in March, including flights and transfers. visitmonterosa.com
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