5 of the best European ski destinations for 2018

January is over and the winter blues should be beginning to clear, however, if you’re still feeling like your summer holiday is a long way off why not consider a short winter break? February is a great time to book a last-minute getaway for some fun and excitement on the snowy slopes on Europe’s Top Ski Resorts. Follow us as we take a closer look.


Venture to southern Germany and into Bavaria for a winter wonderland escape where mountains soar high into the clouds above scented pine trees and picture-postcard villages. Top family ski destinations to suit all skills and experiences can be found in both Allgäu and Oberstaufen, home to the world famous Oberstaufen Schroth Cure Centre.

Snowy resort Germany

Hop aboard the cable car in Oberstdorf to admire sweeping alpine views across the Nebelhorn mountain or climb Zugspitze, Germany’s tallest mountain at 2,962m above sea level.


Austria has long been regarded as one of the top ski destinations in Europe and it is easy to see why. A breathtaking array of natural beauty from pristine lakes and mountain passes to tree-lined ski slopes create the perfect conditions for a memorable winter break.

Snow scene ski town Austria

First-time skiers or those wishing to brush up on their skills will find the Alpbach ski resort ideal for learning the ropes and is conveniently located just 40-minutes from Innsbruck International Airport. Further afield the classic alpine village of St Anton and snow peaked Arlberg ski area is filled with popular restaurants and bars, perfect for a little après-ski. If you prefer to mix a little history and culture with your skiing then stop by the medieval village of Kitzbühel, a truly peaceful location perfect for all levels of skier.


A winter trip to Sweden almost guarantees great skiing conditions and the opportunity to witness the Northern Lights in all their splendour for a lucky few. Break up your skiing holiday with magical reindeer rides through the snow and let yourself be captivated by the raw beauty of Sweden.

Two ski lifts in Are Sweden

First timers and professionals alike flock to Sälen in the west of Sweden for the wide variety of slopes and ski passes found amongst four ski resorts contained within one top destination. Tandådalen provides black run challenges to the pros whilst Högfjället, Hundfjället and Lindvallen are fun for the whole family with their gentler slopes.

Sweden’s largest ski resort is found at the centrally located Åre where a plethora of winter and summer programmes entertain visitors all year-round. Glide your way through the slopes and passes during the snowy winter months and then explore the lakes and mountains hiking and climbing through the warmer summertime.


The French Alps are a term synonymous with skiing and it’s clear to see why when touching down at the stunning skiing resorts on offer in this region. Val Thorens, situated within the Terntaise Valley, is an ever-popular ski destination joining together the three valleys ski area of Les Menuires, Courchevel and Méribel. Combine your winter ski break with a dash of the French Riviera with a stay at Isola 2000, a mere 90km hop to the pretty coastal town of Nice.

White mountains ski town France

Mont Blanc is the tallest mountain in the alps soaring to nearly 5,000m above sea level and is home to Megève, a stylish ski resort, providing a great experience for skiers of all abilities and boasts a great après-ski scene.


Picture skiing through a UNESCO World Heritage Site where 300 annual sunshine days grace 175km of pristine mountain slopes and you have the Dolomites in northeast Italy.

Skiing white mountain Italy

The largest ski resort found here is the Val Garden-Alpe di Siusi where an abundance of outdoor activities are set to spoil all that visit. Taking a more refined approach is the Cortina d’Apezzo, where Michelin star restaurants and bars combine with stylish resorts to provide a luxury ski destination.

Callum Davies is Marketing Manager at eXpectations Holidays. eXpectations Holidays is a Private Members Club specifically designed for families and couples who like to take one or more quality holidays each year.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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The top 5 European ski resorts for couples

Heading away on a ski trip together with your loved one is guaranteed to be romantic. Discover snow-covered, enchanted kingdoms and let the open fires and candlelit dinners work their magic. Here are our top five European destinations to fall in love with.

Escapism in Geilo

Skiing in Norway is more relaxed than much of Europe. Geilo has 35km of generally wide, easy slopes, making it a good choice if you’re learning together. For a gentler pace, it’s also a great place to try cross-country skiing, with 550km of scenic tracks. What could be more romantic than gliding peacefully through pine trees, hidden valleys and mountain plateaus?

Geilo, Norway

Cosy up together on a horse-drawn sleigh. Or try a husky sledding experience including a hearty lunch of reindeer stew and waffles with speciality brown cheese. Snowmobiling in Dagali is one for adventurous couples: race one another or take a more sedate safari and spot elk, deer and eagles.

Dr Holm’s Hotel offers luxury, a central location and a spa. Choose one of the original rooms for their romantic, traditional décor. Head for the heated terrace to watch the sunset over the Scandinavian peaks. In the town centre, Hallingstuene wine cellar features a wood-clad interior and atmospheric lighting. Toast your loved one with a choice of over 900 wines. The restaurant above specialises in local game dishes such as grouse, moose and venison.

Refined luxury in Megève

Megève has been one of France’s most stylish resorts since its glamorous inception in the 1920s. It’s just under an hour from Geneva and comprises 300km of pistes. The charming, part medieval old town is car-free, perfect for a romantic stroll. Take a sleigh ride or go skating hand-in-hand on the open-air ice rink.

Megeve, France

Les Fermes de Marie is an exquisite, five-star hotel made up of cosy chalet-style buildings with open fires, wooden interiors and hunting lodge decor. The world-renowned spa has indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis and saunas and traditional Japanese Ofuro. Treat your partner to dinner at the hotel’s La Salle à Manger, serving Seine Bay Scallops with a fine truffle purée and Brittany turbot studded with truffles, artichokes and anchovies.

Glamorous modernity in Zermatt

Zermatt has all the modern efficiency, combined with traditional charm, that’s at the heart of the Swiss experience. The skiing is sublime, with the highest lift-served terrain in Europe at the top of the Klein Matterhorn glacier. It’s also home to some of the best mountain restaurants in the Alps. Take the funicular to Sunnegga for incredible views of the Matterhorn (a great setting if you’re thinking about proposing). Here, you can also sample local cuisine such as sausages, rösti and strudel, while basking in the sunshine.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Mont Cervin Palace has exquisite suites, outdoor and indoor pools and a luxurious spa. Hotel Cervo is also a modern delight and can cater for weddings. The hotel glows cosily between the trees in the evenings and each chalet has its own private hot tub.

Cosy tradition in Alpbach

Experience all the gemütlichkeit Austria has to offer in the charming Tyrolean resort of Alpbach. Just 45 minutes from Innsbruck, its relaxed ambience makes it ideal for couples. There’s plenty to do off the slopes. Share the unforgettable experience of paragliding, or hold on tight for an adrenaline-fuelled toboggan run. Have an afternoon to yourselves by following one of the scenic walking tracks, passing forests and waterfalls.

Alpbach, Austria

At Hotel Romantik Boglerhof you’ll be treated like royalty, with welcome cocktails, a romantic five-course gala dinner, complimentary wine tasting, a torch-lit walk and fondue evening. For a traditional Austrian gastronomic experience, visit Gipfö Hit, serving rustic classics like Knödel (spinach dumplings) and Käsespätzle (cheesey noodles).

Glamour and style in Cortina

Italy is synonymous with romance and is home to some fabulous skiing. Cortina is the queen of its stylish resorts, with nearly 1000km of downhill skiing. The fashionable main street, Corso Italia, is packed with designer boutiques and glamorous shoppers.

To really appreciate the scenery, try the Capanna Tondi mountain restaurant which sits near the top station of the Vitelli chairlift. It serves hearty Italian food in cosy dining rooms with splendid views. Take in the splendid Dolomites and get up close to nature by trying snowshoeing or tobogganing.

Cortina, Italy

Spend cosy nights at Hotel Miramonti Majestic, with its elegant dining room and beautiful canopy-covered beds. The piano bar is the perfect spot for afternoon tea or pre-dinner cocktails. After you’ve sampled the spa, hot tub and swimming pool, treat yourselves to a four-course dinner for two including antipasti, dessert and a cheese buffet.

Craig Burton is Managing Director of Ski Solutions.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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6 luxurious trains that’ll spoil you

Trains are one of the oldest means of long-distance travel. They do a good job of providing an uncluttered, simple and straightforward travel experience where the problems are few and the advantages many. However, for those of us who’d like a touch of sophistication added to this seemingly simple mode of transport, what are the choices? Plenty, but here are the best among them. Many of these are well on par with the most luxurious of hotels, despite being quite old.

The Venice-Simplon Orient Express

The name instantly reminds you of the very famous novel ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ by renowned novelist Agatha Christie. Interestingly, the Venice-Simplon Orient Express by Belmond has quite a few similarities to the fictitious creation by Christie. The most distinctive being the opulence and magnetism as it is described in the book. This is achieved by the old-school charm of the restored early 20th century vintage cabins.

The train begins at London and runs through Paris, Innsbruck and Verona ending in Venice. The Belmond British Pullman is used for the UK leg of the journey and the ‘actual’ Orient Express begins only from Calais since the train is not licensed to travel through the Channel Tunnel. Intricate attention is given to the smallest of details. This is immediately apparent as soon as you step foot on the platform at the Calais Station. You’re greeted by a full regalia of 1930’s uniformed staff, your own carriage attendant and welcome drinks. The train has a mixed variation of single cabins, twin cabins and cabin suites. The train regularly runs full.

The Indian Pacific Trans-Continental

This 774 metre long embodiment of luxury is one of the very rare truly transcontinental trains, transcending across a staggering 4352 kilometres at a leisurely pace of 85 km/hr. The leisurely pace is perhaps the most luxurious thing the train has to offer as it subtly yet extremely effectively allows you to enjoy the breath-taking scenery of the Great Australian Outback cutting through everything from the mountains to the forests to the desert. Nonetheless, you’ll find yourself in ‘the middle of nowhere’ more times than you can count.

The platinum cabin which features a twin bed, long windows and an en-suite bathroom is the most opulent of the offerings. You also get access to an exclusive lounge and there’s also a fully stocked, partially self-service bar to indefinitely indulge in. The service is top-notch with a hint of friendly hospitality to it, consequently exuding a very warm atmosphere.

Royal Scotsman

Yet another exemplary offering by Belmond, this is one train which stands out on any list. More so since the addition of the Bamford Haybarn spa car (a dedicated spa carriage for the train). The setting is finely intimate, with a maximum of just 40 passengers on board which allows it to boast a remarkable passenger to staff ratio of 3:1. The vintage ambience is completely authentic owing to the 1960s equipment carefully preserved and used to this day.

The five sleeping carriages contain a variety of cabin configurations which include twin-bedded, double bedded and single bedded cabins. All the cabins contain compact en-suite bathrooms along with a dressing-table, full-length wardrobe and any other basic bedroom paraphernalia you can think of. Also, you’re guaranteed to sleep like a koala since the train stops on quiet sidings during the night-time.

The train’s trump card though is the observation car. It can accommodate all of the 40 people at once and provides an enthralling lookout to the amazing Scottish landscape scurrying past the Royal Scotsman.

Maharaja Express

This burgundy coloured kilometre long five-star hotel on rails is insanely luxurious; and that’s putting it mildly. It’s the most expensive luxury train in Asia. The services and amenities are said to remind oneself of a by-gone era, making you wonder how well the higher officials were served during colonialism. This train compromises on nothing. It’s almost the perfect train. The train travels from Mumbai in West-Central India to Delhi in the North passing through Rajasthan (Eastern Frontier).

There are various configurations of suites available with twin and double beds, all of which contain a full-size en-suite bathroom and a private butler who apparently doesn’t even need to be summoned. Service is impeccable. The signature offering however is the Presidential suite which essentially comprises of a whole carriage complete with its own sitting room, two bedrooms, two showers and a bath.

Dining on the Maharaja Express is unlike any other, the standard is such that even the best of hotels would be outrun single-handedly by the extremely talented chefs of the two restaurants on-board who have absolutely no qualms in going to any extent to meet the expectations of their esteemed guests.

Eastern & Oriental Express

Belmond knows their stuff pretty well. The Eastern & Oriental Express is the third one in this list which is an advent of Belmond. This train is spectacular in its own right not just for the luxury, but also owing to the fact that the train passes across three glorious nations in just two days; from Singapore to Thailand through Malaysia. You’d be challenged to find a more fabulous way to travel across three phenomenal different countries within two days.

The cosy cabin includes an elegant en-suite bathroom stacked up with every creature comfort you might ever need. Food is exquisite, to say the least and the chefs have no hesitancy in fulfilling any ‘special’ dietary requirements. But the most enticing is how the formal dress code in the dining area give way to create a royal air all over the carriage. The Eastern & Oriental is stark, beautiful and immensely satisfying at the same time for some stately reason which you can’t pinpoint as to why.

Seven Stars of Kyushu

This dark burgundy modern contemporary creation encompassed by handcrafted woodwork and delicate artwork is Japan’s triumphing answer to Belmond’s best. The interiors showcase the very finest of Japanese craftsmanship. Walls of rosewood and maple, walnut floors, shoji paper screens for window coverings and sliding glass doors etched with all sorts of contemporary patterns and artwork. It’s all very, Japanese; enkindling a soothingly exotic vibe.

The train contains just 12 en-suite rooms and 2 luxury suites. The occupancy of the suites is decided by a lottery and things tend to get pretty tense. Talk about exclusivity! The dining experience on this one might just be the best of all the avenues listed here. It deserves a separate article all by itself. The texture and appearance are as important as the taste. The dishes served are consistently photography worthy with immensely rare and extremely high quality ingredients being used. Every meal is a celebration.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these can very much be considered the best of the best even though there are a lot of luxury trains out there offering wildly varying experiences. Every train in this list serves alcohol on-board. All the products mentioned here do of course have their shortcomings but they are highly subjective. Nevertheless, every journey listed here is guaranteed to gift you a once in a lifetime experience and a lot of things to reminisce on. Chug along now!

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10 Viennese Modernism gems for art fans

At the turn of the 19th century Vienna’s art scene was packed with aesthets, geniuses, revolutionaries and psychos. Together they created the Viennese Modernism that still enthuses art fans around the world. Exactly 100 years after its key protagonists Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Egon Schiele, and Otto Wagner died, what are the must sees of Vienna Modernism? Here are 10 key highlights.

Wiener Secession

Although it hardly looks like a revolutionary headquarter, it was here that Vienna Modernism developed and spread across the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Local architect Josef Maria Olbrich designed the white cubic building with its characteristic gold leafed dome. The motto of the Vienna Secession and its eponymous group of visual artists is a cry for freedom: ‘To Every Time Its Art, To Art Its Freedom.”

Viennese Modernism Highlights: Wiener Secession

Inside the building, Gustav Klimt designed a monumental frieze covering three entire walls. Known as the Beethoven Frieze, Klimt not only paid tribute to Beethoven with this work, but his beasts, knights and ethereal females dramatically visualise our human search for happiness in the midst of terror and suffering.

Location: Friedrich Strasse 12, close to Karlsplatz and Naschmarkt; 1010 Vienna

Otto Wagner Houses

Whoever looks up from the fruit and vegetable stalls at historic Naschmarkt is rewarded by two Modernist gems: Art Nouveau and Modernist architect Otto Wagner showed the Viennese a new form of aestheticism. Instead of the usual baroque squiggles and Greek columns he constructed bleak façades, which he then richly decorated with vibrant flowers and gold ornaments.

Viennese Modernism Highlights: Otto Wagner Houses

The most famous of the buildings is certainly the red poppy tiled ‘Majolikahaus’.

Location: Linke Wienzeile 38 and 40 (Majolikahaus), 1060 Vienna

Otto Wagner Postsparkasse

Like a futuristic money box the Austrian Postal Savings Bank discretely hides between sumptuous town palaces at the back of a square along historic Ringstrasse boulevard. Probably Vienna’s most famous Modernist building, the Postsparkasse embodies the Modernist claim of creating a holistic piece of art. Otto Wagner not only designed its structure and façade but meticulously created every radiator, door handle, chair and table.

Viennese Modernism Highlights: Otto Wagner's Postsparkasse

While the Austrian Savings Bank is highly recommended for a visit, Modernist fans need to hurry. Due to a change of ownership, the Great Cash Hall will only be open to the public until June 2018.

Location: Georg-Coch Platz 2, 1010 Vienna

Loos House

When stern modernist architect Adolf Loos opened the building right opposite the Imperial Palace in 1910, Emperor Francis Joseph was so outraged that he ordered for his curtains to remain shut to avoid seeing that ‘monstrosity’. Unlike Otto Wagner Adolf Loos detested ornaments and rich decoration. However, he made ample use of luxury materials outside and inside: from Greek marble to polished dark wood and delicate glass roofs.

Viennese Modernism Highlights: Loos House entrance

Today the Loos Haus is owned by a local bank. The ground floor hosts a permanent Loos exhibition and is open to the public.

Address: Michaelerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna

Otto Wagner Church

On a sunny day Europe’s finest Art Nouveau church sends golden beams across the Vienna Woods in the city’s western part. Housed on the compounds of the Otto Wagner Hospital the church is a shining contrast to the usually somber gothic and baroque churches. Originally built for patients, hospital staff and their families the church overlooks the dozen pavilions also designed by Wagner. The interior brims with light and exudes the simple elegance and functionality that Wagner’s Modernist designs are so famous for.

Viennese Modernism Highlights: church at Steinhof

The church is only open on Sundays. A guided visit through the hospital and church are highly recommended.

Location: Baumgartner Höhe 1, 1140 Vienna

Gustav Klimt’s Fulfilment

Since Gustav Klimt painted countless masterpieces, his ‘Fulfilment’ serves as an example for his revolutionary art. Like in his signature painting The Kiss the embracing couple shows a tenderness rarely seen in paintings before. If Klimt’s swirls seem familiar it is no coincidence: The painting belongs to a three part mosaic, including the well known Tree of Life and a black haired lady in a geometrical dress.

Viennese Modernism Highlights: Gustav Klimt's Fulfilment

Location: Vienna 1900 exhibition at Museum fuer Angewandte Kunst (MAK), Stubenring 5, 1010 Vienna

Egon Schiele: Self Portrait

From psycho to crowd pleaser in 100 years: As dramatic as Egon Schiele’s paintings and drawings are, as meteoric has been his rise to fame, following his rediscovery by the international art world. As one of the first Modernist Austrian painters, Schiele visualised the inner torments of his characters, showed vulnerable nudes and wistful landscapes.

Viennese Modernism: Egon Schiele, self portrait

Like Adolf Loos, Egon Schiele eventually became involved in a paedophilia scandal. He was imprisoned for three weeks for seducing a young girl below the age of consent, and for owning pornographic material.

Location: Leopold Museum at Museumsquartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna

Wiener Werkstätte: Josef Hofmann’s ‘Seating Machine’

While the Wiener Secession united visual artists, the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop) became the association of arts and crafts people creating in the spirit of Viennese Modernism. Founded by architect Josef Hoffmann and artist Koloman Moser, the Werkstätte helped to realise the Modernist claims to creating a work of total art.

Viennese Modernism Highlights: Josef Hoffmann armchair no. 670

Josef Hoffmann’s armchair became one of the association’s signature pieces. The geometrical ‘seating machine’ (Sitzmaschine) was revolutionary in its simplicity, and allowed for an adjustable back support. The armchairs was produced in several series.

Location: Hofmobiliendepot (Imperial Furniture Collection); Andreasgasse 7, 1070 Vienna

Wiener Werkstätte: Kolo Moser Furniture

Apart from co-founding the Vienna Workshop, Austrian artist Koloman Moser was a ground breaking graphic designer, ceramicist, silver, jewellery, fashion and not least furniture designer. This bench and chairs, mirror and display cabinet in lacquered acorn wood were created for the parlour furnishings of the Hellmann family. As with most other works of Wiener Werkstätte, elegance comes from simplicity and functionality.

Viennese Modernism Highlights: Kolo Moser furniture

Location: Leopold Museum at Museumsquartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna

Gustav Mahler Concert

Though harder to grasp for the average culture fan, Viennese Modernism left a distinctive mark on music. The most accessible modernist music is perhaps Gustav Mahler’s. Like Klimt, the Austro-Hungarian composer started out representing the outside world in his works. Gradually, his music developed to express personal feelings: often complex and quite disharmonic. One of his most famous works is the 8th Symphony for grand orchestra, two soloists, two mixed choirs, boys choir and organ (1906).

Viennese Modernism Highlights: Wiener Konzerthaus

Best place in Vienna to hear a Mahler concert: Wiener Konzerthaus, Lothringerstrasse 20, 1030 Vienna.

Barbara Grll-Cao is the Founder of Vienna Unwrapped. Vienna Unwrapped is a destination site for Austria’s capital that lets travellers either plan their own trips to Austria or connects them with Barbara’s bespoke trip planning service.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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Austrian mountains’ Summer paradise: cut price luxury and adrenaline adventures

Ultimate luxury at bargain prices. Temperatures breaking 30 Centigrade. Dare-devil thrills for adrenaline junkies. Hundreds of miles of biking and hiking trails. So, why do the herds head for the Med in summer?

No queues at the ski-lifts, no jostling crowds at the bar, no battling for restaurant tables with a view. Civilised airports, lower airfares and open roads. So, why, once the snow begins to melt, do the crowds flock to the Costas – ignoring the pull of Austria’s stunning lakes and mountains landscape?

This could be your Sound of Music moment – just you and the mountains. Far from the Madding Crowd. What’s not to like?


Take a look at the prices for the 5* Austrian mountain hotels in January and February: those luxurious regal establishments, with lake frontage, indulgent spas, relaxing saunas, gourmet food and sumptuous suites with incomparable mountain views.

Compare those peak-season prices with what you would pay in June, July and August for a sophisticated slice of Alpine hedonism. If you really need to pay silly money you can fry on a costa beach with all the other oiled-sardines.

Adrenaline junkies

“But there’s no skiing!” chorus the cynics.

In Summer the mountains offer just as many breath-taking adventures. Some say thrilling paragliding is even more exciting than skiing and snow-boarding.

The 2,500 metre zip line at Stoderzinken where you descend 700 metres reaching speeds of up to 70mph, dropping from far above the tree line, provides spectacular views of the valley below.

Biking and e-biking

There are hundreds of miles of beautiful trails running through Austria’s spectacular scenery. In the 228 square mile Solktaler Natural Park there are just 1,500 inhabitants. No gas, no electricity, no phone reception – the ultimate de-tox for high-tech, high pressure contemporary life.

Hard-core lycra-clad cyclists who masochistically endure long 1-in-4 ascents can still hire traditional bikes – for steep ascents too barbaric for even the Tour de France. But increasingly e-bikes, taking the sweat out of cycling, are becoming very popular. Electronic motors provide the momentum for riders to ascend to some of the more spectacular high-altitude routes and see more of the mountains in a day’s cycling.


The Austrians have made the most of their mountains. Take the streams and roaring waterfalls of Wildewasser where trails are rated by their degree of difficulty and there are plentiful maps. Morale-boosting treats are frequent: there are strategically placed viewing platforms for a water-fall or breath-taking gorge.

Walk with a guide who’ll spot wild blueberries, mushrooms, raspberries and strawberries at a 100 paces. A guide who will re-tell the story of farmers clinging to their farmhouse roofs, awaiting helicopter rescue, during a devastating cloudburst and subsequent flood.


Austria specialises in world-class coffee-breaks. No skinny almond milk lattes for the Austrians. When you’ve used up a thousand calories since breakfast climbing, cycling or yomping into the cloud level, some carbo-loading and a sugar burst is well-deserved.

Mountain huts, often by a lake, tables with graffiti from generations of visitors, are often located in surprisingly remote locations.

Ice cave

Take the cable car up to Schlaming-Dachstein’s glacier and walk onto the Stairway to Nothing. A frightening step onto a gallery with a commanding view through the peaks to the valley below.

There’s a touch of Game of Thrones to the next scene. You walk into the heart of a glacier and The Ice Cave: a succession of caves and surreal ice sculptures are lit by ever-changing lights. There’s even an Ice Throne. Can it get any more Westeros?

Rural life

Long before the snows arrive, the farmers and their bell-clanking cattle leave the valleys for more sheltered winter bases.

Now, in summer, you can boost your LinkedIn curriculum vitae with an Agricultural Diploma. It’s a light-hearted introduction to baking in a farmhouse kitchen, identifying the local flora, milking a virtual cow, sawing logs and enjoying a hearty farmers’ lunch.

Blas Musik

For the last two decades the Schladming Blas Musik Festival has grown and grown. Last year over 2,200 musicians, from all over the world, partied for a week in July demonstrating what brass instruments are capable off. Unfortunately, the Irish contingent, outside my hotel window, partied longer and harder than most.

In 2017 there were five stages showcasing blues, classical, jazz, pop, swing and a wide spectrum of music. On the mid-summer night of music, the bands were playing past midnight and the audiences were still dancing. But in true Austrian fashion, by 7 o’clock the next morning, the streets were immaculately clean.

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Top classical and retro dance places in Vienna

With carnival in full swing Vienna is all singing all dancing. While Austria’s capital is famous for its elegant winter balls, classical and retro dance events take place throughout the year. Here are the top five opportunities for ballroom and modern dancers in Wien:

Classical balls

Since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 elegant ballroom dancing has lifted spirits, hoop skirts and coat tails of many middle to upper class locals. Each year, different private groups and associations stage more than 350 ball events allowing public access. The Vienna Opera Ball is the most famous though other balls may score even higher on charms and local flair. The dance venues are as illustrious as the Viennese Imperial Palace (Hofburg) and Musikverein, and down to earth as a suburban firebrigade hall.

vienna dance opportunities: Hofburg ball

Apart from folkloric Jaegerball – the Hunters’ Ball – the evening attire is elegant at various levels. In addition to classical ballroom dancing prepare for a relaxed post midnight shake at the separate disco stage that most balls offer. In addition to the predominant winter balls, summer travellers should bookmark the Spanish Riding School’s splendid Fete Imperiale and Concordia Ball, not to speak of uber flamboyant Life Ball.

Waltz lessons

A few of Wien’s most prestigious dance schools, such as Elmayer (photo), offer one hour private waltz lessons in English and other languages at their venues. Provided the booking is done a few weeks in advance the lessons can blend into any sightseeing program.

Vienna dance opportunities: Elmayer waltz lesson

There is also no need to dress up, though appropriate shoes for dancing are advisable. Unlike the mostly crowded balls these lessons provide ample space to perfectionate and enjoy individual waltz skills. Within one lesson even beginners will get a good grip of the basic waltz steps – more than enough to survive on most crowded ballroom floors.

Ballroom dancing

Dance enthusiasts visiting Vienna out-of-season or looking for no-frills dancing can join local dance fans at regular ballroom dancing events. Probably the most charming is Eddy Franzen’s Tanztee, a small weekly drop-in event next to Belvedere Palace where Waltz, Foxtrot and Cha cha cha meet Blues, West Coast Swing and Disco Fox. Coffee, tea and cakes are included in the really moderate price. A larger and busier stage is offered in the city center almost daily (except Tuesdays) by local dance school 4feet.

Vintage dance bars

Modern Cinderellas prefer some of Vienna’s retro dance bars such as Tanzcafe Jenseits. Often cited among the best dance bars in the world, the red velvet wall papers and gold mirrors in Vienna’s hip sixth district exude original 40s and 50s style chic. On selected days local DJs create the perfect retro vibes for jazz, soul, swing and more. As in most local dance bars, expect some smoke – Jenseits, for example, offers a cigar menu.

vienna dance opportunities: Rote Bar, Volkstheater

Another vintage bar is Cirque Rouge, Vienna’s top address for burlesque and cabaret. Housed at historic Volkstheater’s Rote Bar, Cirque Rouge regularly stages events with dance opportunities, from a masqued ball to themed burlesque and oriental nights, including dinner and show.

Barbara Grll-Cao is the Founder of Vienna Unwrapped. Vienna Unwrapped is a destination site for Austria’s capital that lets travellers either plan their own trips to Austria or connects them with Barbara’s bespoke trip planning service.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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Top 5 authentic Alpine ski resorts

You’ve waited all year, the snow has started to fall, the resorts are opening, one by one, it won’t be long before you arrive at your chosen destination. If you’re an old hand and you’ve been going to the Alps for several seasons you’ll already have your preferred choices, however if you’re new to the delights of skiing it pays to choose your resort carefully. You don’t want to turn up at a purpose built resort lacking in charm and ambience. Ugly concrete buildings and higgeldy piggeldy infrastructure do nothing for the feel good factor. When you’re not on the slopes, a resort with civic pride, that is geared up for more than just skiing can make or break the overall feel of your well earned break. With all that in mind I suggest the five resorts below. They all have the quintessential alpine charm in abundance, they are good for the non-skiers in your party and they posses the good looks that make you want to return season after season.

Meribel, France

Meribel was founded by a Scotsman, Colonel Peter Lindsay. Concerned about the growing strength of the Nazi regime, he was looking for a new site for winter sports away from the ski resorts of Austria and Germany. In 1936, he visited the town of Les Allues for the first time and imagined how the town could become a ski resort. Firstly, he decided to create a property company in order to develop finances strong enough to build the resort. He wasted little time, in 1938, the first lift was placed above Les Allues. A year later, he began the construction of the first chalets and hotels in the hamlet of Méribel. Three years later, WWII put a stop to the development of the resort, but when it was over, it was full steam ahead. Lindsay used specialized architects to create his vision of a tasteful and sensitive development. He called on Paul Grillo, Grand Prix de Rome (1937), and his partner Christian Durupt. He proscribed wood and stone for the walls, with slanted slate roofs so that all the buildings would be in harmony with the Savoyard style. In 1950, the Burgin-Saulire gondola was built to link the resort to Courchevel. The seal was set for the resort to become a success, his initial vision of a resort in sympathy with its surroundings paid off and his legacy today is a thriving and beautiful ski resort.

Mribel In a Winter wonderland

Lindsay’s family continue to hold a financial stake in the resort and his grandchildren still ski in the resort to this day. Meribel is part of the Trois Vallees ski area. The Three Valleys area comprises 180 lifts, 335 marked runs (over 600 kilometres) and over 130 km of cross-country tracks. The Three Valleys expanded a decade ago to incorporate a fourth valley, though the area kept the name Trois Vallées. The area comprises the resorts of Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Les Menuires-Saint Martin, Val Thorens and Orelle. The good news is, you can buy a lift pass in Meribel that allows you to ski the whole domain. That should keep the most ardent skier busy and is a compelling reason to return to explore the whole region, year after year.

Zermatt, Switzerland

My favourite resort in the whole of the Alps. Most visitors to this chocolate box village arrive by train from Visp, way down in the valley. The rack and pinion railway is a fabulous introduction to the resort and great way to arrive. The journey is a thrilling ascent and an civil engineering wonder. Alighting at the station, you spill straight out into the village itself and are immediately struck by the peaceful ambience. Cars are banned, the electric taxis that replaced them go busily about their business and will whisk you to your accommodation with the minimum of fuss. The heart of the village is compact and very pretty. There are examples of original structures, preserved from centuries ago, before skiing became a pastime, mixed in with more modern developments.

The heart of Zermatt

On the mountain flanks you’ll find some of the most luxurious ski chalets in the world, the clusters of beautiful buildings in sympathy with their surrounds are very pleasing to the eye. It’s easy to fall in love with Zermatt and many do, to return year after year. Zermatt’s allure has attracted a large ex-pat community. You can ski in Zermatt the year round which is a further attraction and a boon to the success and wealth of this beautiful resort. Edward Whymper will have had no idea what he kicked off when he came here to conquer the Matterhorn in his ill fated expedition in 1865. Since then Zermatt has gone from strength to strength to become arguably the premier resort in the Alps if not the world. The geography of Zermatt ensures it can never become more than a village which will preserve its delightful charm for generations to come.

Megeve, France

Megeve is very pretty, I mean VERY pretty. The civic pride here is evident in every well trimmed hedge and verge, the signage and road furniture is further evidence of the pride that is taken in presenting Megeve’s best face to the world. Conceived in the 1920s as a French alternative to St Moritz by the Rothchilds it was the first purpose-built resort in the Alps. It remains one of the most famous and fanciest ski resorts in the world. The town started its development as a ski resort in the 1910s, when the French aristocracy started to spend their winter vacations there after becoming disenchanted with the Swiss resort, St Moritz, which was becoming far to popular for their liking.

The heart of Megeve

In 1921, Baroness Noemie de Rothchild opened the Domaine du Mont d’Arbois, a luxury hotel which boosted the resort’s development. By the 1950s Megève was one of the most popular ski resorts in Europe and attracted many wealthy individuals and celebrities. Nowadays it is still visited largely by affluent people  as is evidenced by the real estate prices. There are many high end label flagship stores in the town which lends a certain air of exclusivity. Even the McDonalds restaurant on the main drag is worth a visit if only to check out the luxurious shop fittings and fixtures.

Lech, Austria

Lech, in common with Zermatt, has a river running through it and is set in a natural bowl surrounded by mountains, giving a cosy feel and ambience to this delightful Austrian resort. In recent years Lech has grown to become one of the world’s premier ski destinations and the home of a number of world and Olympic ski champions. It’s a pretty little village redolent of a bye gone era, with it’s traditional Heidi Chalets and winning charm. There are many premier hotels in Lech, as well as numerous top class restaurants. Lady Di used to holiday here and the likes of Tom Cruise and a host of A list celebs have been seen in and around the village.

The evening draws in in Lech/Austria

Lech is best known for its skiing, both on-piste and off-piste. It is well connected via mechanical lifts and groomed pistes with the neighbouring villages of Zurs, St Christof, St Anton, Stuben, Warth and Schröcken, not least as a result of new lifts introduced for a couple of years ago, creating the largest connected ski area in Austria and one of the largest in Europe.

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier is a quite a large village with an identity crisis, is it a town? or is it just a village? It vies with Zermatt for the title of Switzerland’s premier resort. Verbier is recognised as one of the premiere “off-piste” resorts in the world. Some areas are covered with snow all year. Many top skiers have settled in the Verbier area in order to take advantage of the steep slopes, varied conditions and resort culture. There is a vibrant community of photographers and artists in Verbier, most born out of winter sports action photography. Verbier is also a popular holiday destination for celebrities and royalty, including a smattering of British royals. James Blunt, Diana Ross holiday here and Richard Branson owns a luxury ski chalet. The Swedish and Belgian Royal Families also come here.

A view over Verbier

It caters for British customers, but also receives many visitors from Germany, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, France, Austria, the United States of America and South Africa. It’s cosmopolitan nature is testament to its attractive aspect. The heart of the village is a shoppers paradise and you could easily max out your credit card in any of the many flag ship stores that populate the centre. There are some fine art galleries where the prices will give you a nose bleed. Having said all that, its a beautiful resort and a place that people are very loyal too once bitten by the Verbier bug.

Rebecca Taylor is Director at SkiBoutique.

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The best Winter sport places in and around Vienna

Vienna may not be the obvious winter sports destination. For a break from sightseeing, however, a few excellent places in and around Austria’s capital invite for ice skating, ice curling, tobogganing, cross country skiing and even Alpine skiing.

Ice skating

Since Vienna hosts several excellent ice skating places this is the easiest winter sport to integrate into a city break. Most prominently, you can ice skate directly in front of Vienna’s City Hall during the festive Christmas market. After that, the ice rink will be extended to cover the full square, with several paths meandering across the park. Secondly, Vienna’s Ice Skating Association (Wiener Eislaufverein) runs a more than 6,000 square meter large rink between Wiener Konzerthaus and Stadtpark next to the city center. At both locations you can rent ice skates.

Vienna winter sports: Wiener Eistraum iceskating

During a period of icy cold days well below 0 degrees Celsius, lovers of natural ice skating should venture out to skate across vast Lake Neusiedl South East of Vienna (see video). There are several access points, for example at the villages of Breitenbrunn, Neusiedl, Podersdorf and Weiden. Make sure you know the rules and safety regulations for ice skating on natural lakes. As with all natural ice skating in Austria individuals skate at their own risk.


At a few hundred meters from key sightseeing spot Hundertwasserhaus, Prater park’s Jesuitenwiese (‘Jesuit Lawn’) hosts a tobogganing slope in the winter. Even if there is not much natural white, snow cannons provide for adequate coverage of the 30 to 60 meter long tobogganing.

Vienna winter sports: tobogganing

Another recommendable tobogganing spot is in the middle of Kurpark Oberlaa, not far from Vienna’s most popular thermae and spa ‘Therme Wien’. Probably the most romantic tobogganing stretch in Vienna is in the park of Potzleinsdorf Palace, north east of the city center. Given enough snow, the lawn just next to the park entrance above the playground can be used for tobogganing. For a couple of Euros a day you can rent a toboggan at the Fahrrad & Ski shop in Linke Wienzeile 124/128, close to Naschmarkt.

Ice curling

The ice stock sport is getting in fashion in Vienna again. Especially when you are in a group curling is a fun game that works a bit like bowling. The best places to do it are during Vienna’s ‘Wiener Eistraum’ event in front of Vienna City Hall (see photo), at the Christmas Market of Altes AKH (in the Old General Hospital) and at Badeschiff, a party and leisure boat mooring on the Danube Canal close to the city center. In general, time slots for a curling alley have to be booked in advance.

Vienna winter sports: curling at Wiener Eistraum, Vienna City Hall

Alpine skiing and snowboarding

While Vienna’s Hohe Wand Wiese lawn provides one decent ski slope safer snow conditions and skiing facilities can be found at above 1,000 meters from sea level in the city’s surroundings. The closest ski resort from Vienna is Unterberg, at just an hour’s drive west of the city. Unterberg’s 10 slopes cover all levels of difficulty, hosts two mountain restaurants and a mountain hut providing warm snacks and provides ski rental.

Vienna Winter Sports: skiing close to Vienna

Semmering/Zauberberg and nearby Stuhleck at approximately 100 kilometers south of Vienna. With 20 slopes and 15 lifts Semmering and Stuhleck are among the most popular local ski resorts, including a fun park for skiers and snowboarders, ski rental and a few mountain restaurants and huts.

Cross country skiing

A mere 20 centimeters of snow is all that is needed for Vienna’s Snow Sports Academy to start tracing cross country ski trails at various locations in the city. Out of a total of eight trails the most popular is in Prater park’s four kilometer long avenue Prater Hauptallee, close to the Giant Ferris  Wheel. For skiing along the Danube the best spot is on Danube Island.

Vienna winter sports: cross country ski trail in Vienna Prater

Cross country skiers who prefer perfect vistas, and a glass of wine, should head for Cobenzl hill in Vienna’s winery area of Grinzing. The trails are done in a way to also allow beginners to have safe fun. Cross country skis are available for rental at the Fahrrad & Ski shop in Linke Wienzeile 124/128.

Barbara Grll-Cao is the Founder of Vienna Unwrapped.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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Top 5 resorts for glacier skiing

Over the last few ski seasons, in the Alps, the snow down at lower altitudes has started showing up later than expected. Is this a natural cycle, or is climate change the culprit? That’s a debate for another day. Thankfully the snow always shows up but it’s squeeky bum time for anyone who booked the lower resorts in the early December weeks and sometimes even into January. Of course the easy answer is, don’t book a lower resort in early season. If you really want to guarantee that you ski, at any time of year, not just early season, go for a resort that’s known for glacier skiing. If you must book early I suggest you go for one of these options, snow sure, the year round, Tignes (France), Zermatt & Saas Fee (Switzerland) and Hintertux & Stubai (Austria).

Tignes, France

The current Tignes didn’t get off to a very auspicious start. The original Tignes was flooded back in 1952 to make way for a dam, being built to supply hydro electricity to the French national grid. Those that didn’t willingly accept the move higher up the valley were more or less coerced into complying which caused huge resentments, this and the original brutalist 60‘s concrete structures must have made Tignes a fun place to be back in the day. Tignes is trying very hard to rid itself of the worst offenders, in terms of architecture, that are an unfortunate legacy from those turbulent times.

Every cloud as they say, the cost of the infrastructure to meet demand didn’t have as far to go to service the current village, saving the lift companies sizeable amounts of start up capital, and scaring less of the landscape into the bargain. If I’d been turfed out of my home back then I don’t think I’d have been much impressed with the compensation.

The Tignes Tourist Board came up with this in one of their brainstorming sessions, “Come and ski on the 20 km of pistes of the glacier, try new tricks on the snowpark, go cross-country skiing and improve your suntan on the terrace of the Panoramic restaurant in unique surroundings!” A good days work I would say, succinct, with a refreshing lack of adspeak and BS. Albeit a little dour, I wonder if they work in one of those concrete horrors?

Zermatt, Switzerland

Hands down the winner for me. Perfect skiing the year round, maybe best on the glacier earlier in the day at the height of summer, apart from that you’re guaranteed to be able to ski, weather permitting of course.

The high altitude skiing on 360 km of pistes in Switzerland and next door to its Italian neighbours is guaranteed, 365. The ski lifts go to the highest heights. Up to the Klein Matterhorn at 3,883 m, where you can look the four thousand-meter alps and the Matterhorn right in the eye. The relatively extreme high altitude has been known to catch people out. At times, up here, my heart swells with pride at the beauty of it all, I can feel the warmth of tears well up and I’m reminded, once again, that this sublime landscape, this wonderous . . . . ooo ‘eck, give me oxygen!

Hintertux, Austria

When I first heard of the Hintertux glacier, back in the day, I thought it was a spoof, the name just didn’t ring true, it sounded more like a Yorkshireman getting ready for a dinner dance.  “I’m just gonna slip int’ ter tux, duck”. Turned out it was one of the most popular glaciers in Austria. The Hintertux glacier is open all year round with skiing in the winter, and hiking activities in the summer. Its altitude means that there are usually good snow conditions, enabling almost all pistes and lifts to be kept open. The glacier skiing region has its own ski school for both beginners and advanced skiers.

The Hintertux Glacier offers an all-round view of the Alps from just under 3,250 m. The region is also suitable for mountaineering – there are plenty of Alpine huts, some managed all-year round. One of these huts is the Spannagelhaus next to the natural monument of the Spanagel Cave, which is over 10 km long and the largest cave system in the  Austrian Central Alps. The cave entrance is immediately next to the Spannagelhaus.

If climbing down into large cracks in the ground is your thing, a crevasse – the Natural Ice Palace – can also be viewed. Its entrance is just above the top station on the Gletscherbus 3 lift. Visitors can climb about 25 metres down into the ice using a combination of steps and ladders.

Saas Fee, Switzerland

Its location close to the glaciers of the Dom and the Allalinhorn provides winter sport opportunities throughout the year. The neighbouring peaks of the Weissmies, the Nadelhorn and the Lenzspitze  are popular climbs in the summer season.

Piste guides on the glacier at Saas Fee

Saas-Fee offers 22 lifts, 1 funicular railway, 5 gondolas, 2 chairlifts, the remainder being drag lifts. The ski run has a vertical drop of 1,800m and covers 100km .
Saas-Fee can be reached by car or bus. No cars are allowed to enter the city, they have to be parked in special car parks outside, only small electric vehicles operate on the streets. The decision to exclude most motor vehicles, with some foresight, was made by the village at the time of the construction of the road from Saas Grund in 1951.

The resort offers many cultural, sporting and off-slope activities, including classical music, a sports and leisure complex, restaurants, and nightclubs. The resort features the highest underground funicular railway in the world which ascends to the skiing area and the highest revolving restaurant in the world at 3,500m. Design guidelines for the village require houses to be 40 percent wooden, to maintain its architectural character and as a result Saas Fee is quite a characterful and pretty village.

‘Not a lot of people know that’ facts coming up… Saas-Fee was the location for the filming of the 1984 video for Wham’s hit single, Last Christmas. The cable car that they get into to go up the mountain is labelled with the name “Saas-Fee” in the typical Saas-Fee font. This appears to be an artistic device as the cable car, now replaced by a more modern version, runs between the edge of Saas-Fee and Felskinn which is considerably above the normal height for residential buildings. Saas-Fee is also the setting for various ski chase sequences in the On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the hit James Bond movie from 1969, was it really that long ago?

Stubai, Austria

Latest bulletin from the Stubai glacier… the new ski season is in full swing. Skiing is possible on 4 glaciers. More slopes and lifts are open now! How’s that for early season skiing, guaranteed and if you hurry you might catch the FIS Freeski World Cup Stubai. From 24 to 26 November 2017 a Slopestyle FIS Freeski World Cup takes place in the DC Stubai Zoo snow park for the first time. 120 freestyle skiers want to make their dream come true and qualify for the Olympic Games in South Korea in the next to last World Cup event in Europe. An absolute highlight for skiers here is the 10k downhill from the Wildspitz mountain station at 3,210m to the valley station at 1,750m.

Top of the world on the Stubai glacier

Stubai boasts the largest glacier ski area in Austria. The lifts do take a summer break from the end of June; but come late October they are back to work. This season’s opening, last month, was particularly auspicious because it saw the debut of Stubai’s new €68 million gondola. Skiers came to celebrate from Germany and the Czech Republic, North America and Scandinavia.

An Alpine glacier is a river of ice that slides imperceptibly down a mountainside. It acts like a refrigerator, preserving snow that falls upon it. A minor irritant for skiers and ski-area managers alike is that since the glacier moves, so must anything fixed to it, as a result, nothing more permanent than a drag-lift can be erected upon it. The result is congestion. Characteristically, glaciers are relatively smooth and featureless, except for the odd deep crevasse and some folds in the ice. But Stubai is different; its glacier flows across irregular terrain and has been diverted by rocky outcrops. If you didn’t know the slopes are on a glacier, you would never guess.

Getting up there? A breeze. The new 5km-long gondola climbs for 12 minutes from the lower valley to the centre of the ski area; beyond is a drag-lift running up to the 3,210m peak. The gondola was designed by Pininfarina, famous for styling Ferraris. And its performance is impressive, too, it carries twice as many passengers as the lift it replaced, and at twice the speed. The new 3S Eisgratbahn with a length of 4.7k  is the longest lift of its kind in the Alps. Two suspension cables and one pulling cable guarantee a maximum of operating steadiness and wind stability.

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Top 5 hidden gem ski resorts in the world

What could be more luxurious than having your own slice of ski heaven? Quiet slopes are just as important as perfect powder and first-class services, which is why we’ve put together our top five secret ski destinations in the world.

Pila, Italy

Pila has the sought-after combination of being both lively and intimate: its small size means that it attracts relatively low numbers of visitors, but it also has several excellent restaurants and bars. The setting is impressive, and skiers will be treated to views of the imposing Mont Blanc and Matterhorn mountains.

Pila Italy

The resort is blessed with exceptional snowfall, and state-of-the-art snowmaking equipment ensures that the powder is always fresh. There is rarely a queue at the lifts so you can get to the tree-lined runs and high-altitude slopes without delay.

Rusutsu, Japan

With just a handful of hotels, Rusutsu is more peaceful than its well-known neighbour Niseko. Frequently, there are no lift queues, and early risers will be treated to the luxury of being the first to tear up the resort’s 42km of scenic trails. The powder in this region is renowned worldwide, and for good reason – on average,12–14 metres of snowfall per season. For a secluded adventure, experienced skiers can try out Japan’s only heli-ski tour.

Rusutu Japan

Accommodation here is suitably elegant – the lavish five-star Westin Rusutsu Resort was voted the world’s best new ski hotel in 2016 and has spacious duplex suites, thermal hot springs and striking mountain views.

Marmot Basin, Canada

Located in the Rocky Mountains, Marmot Basin delivers quintessentially Canadian laid-back luxury. Quieter than the more famous Banff, this resort is the locals’ best-kept secret. 1,675 acres of varied terrain provide meticulously maintained tree-lined trails, as well as powder bowls that are perfect for adventurous skiers and snowboarders. A state-of-the-art grooming fleet keeps the pistes in top condition at all times.

Marmot Basin Alberta

For après-ski, head to the superb Tekarra restaurant in the nearby town of Jasper, where you can experience locally sourced ingredients with an upscale twist – try elk loin in maple bourbon mustard or Arctic char with coconut quinoa and ginger cream sauce.

Warth-Schröcken, Austria

Warth-Schröcken is a small, sleepy village that belies its reputation as the snowiest destination in the Alps. Wake up early and, as you glide down silent, tree-lined slopes, savour being the first person to disturb last’s night’s powder. Now connected to the largest ski area in Austria, Ski Arlberg, Warth-Schröcken’s enviable snow record is now complemented by a near endless supply of slopes across five charming Tyrolean resorts.

Warth Austria

Average snowfall here hits 11 metres each season – more than world-renowned Val d’Isère. For a unique experience, head to the Warth Ski School, which has an imaginative range of off-piste guided excursions. Relax at Hotel Walserburg’s delightful spa which provides a variety of treatments that are perfect for rejuvenating sore limbs. If you want to brave the cold, (then warm up again) head out to the outdoor sauna, situated in its very own log cabin.

Arapahoe Basin, USA

Located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Arapahoe Basin is known for its extended ski run that goes until mid-July. This resort is a haven for skiers looking for a challenge, with 45% of its 132 trails falling into the ‘very difficult’ camp. This means that its 1,428-acre terrain tends to be quiet, with beginners going elsewhere.

Aprahoe Basin Colorado

Arapahoe Basin is also known for its exclusive Moonlight Dinner series, which takes place annually at the Black Mountain Lodge. Guests are treated to international cuisine and live music, before taking the Black Mountain Express back to their hotel, guided by the full moon.

Craig Burton is Managing Director of Ski Solutions.

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