Long-haul skiing from Heathrow Airport
Planning your next trip to the slopes? Why not bypass the well-bashed pistes of Europe and head beyond to mountains-a-new and feed the thrill-hungry powder-hound in your soul?
Here are our top five suggestions for long-haul skiing from Heathrow Airport.
We’re also looking at where to learn to ski in the UK before you fly, along with an easy-to-read infographic covering the best options for all types of insurance that you’ll need.
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Great for advanced skiers
Many skiers who’ve been will describe Revelstoke as an epic resort; it has the lot when it comes to mountain terrain, with steep and open faces, challenging tree-lined skiing and long, well-groomed pistes just waiting to be conquered. However, most will head here for off-piste antics and with more than 3,000 acres of skiable terrain, they’ll not be left wanting. The expert skiers with a taste for adventure will be kept busy with a further 500 acres of heli-skiing on offer. This really is a place for those devoted to the white stuff… rather than those who prefer their skiing tales to be fomented over boozy nights out. The resort itself is a great base for action on the white stuff, but offers limited après ski. However, a short taxi ride to the town itself will promise an intimate evening with lots of bars and a friendly atmosphere.
Skill rating: Intermediate to advanced, with little for novice skiers.
More information: www.revelstokemountainresort.com
Best for summer skiing:
Lake Wanaka, New Zealand
Booking ahead for the summer, but can’t face another mind-numbing two-week session of slowly roasting on the beach? Then cool down and swerve the sun lounger wars this summer by heading Down Under to New Zealand for some of the world’s most spectacular Alpine skiing between June and October. Leave Heathrow for Queenstown then make the one-hour drive to your base at Lake Wanaka and enjoy access to five of the country’s finest ski resorts; including Cardrona and Treble Cone, which is the largest ski area in the South Island and boasts spectacular views over Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring/Tititea. If you want something a little different, why not head to the nearby Snow Farm, where winter sports fans of all ages and abilities will be able to enjoy everything from 55km of groomed cross country trails, snow shoeing and sledding to dog-led tours. A trip of a lifetime and great winter sports too – the perfect summer holiday.
Skill level: Exiting for the intermediate and expert skier, but all levels are catered for.
More information: www.lakewanaka.co.nz
Best all-round skiing for the family
Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont, USA
Aerial view of Smuggler’s Notch
The long-established ski resort is close to the sleepy town of Cambridge Vermont and nestled in the stunning New England mountainside. The resort has myriad facilities making it perfect for just about everyone; from ski schools for all ages and day crèches for toddlers to facilities that open up the slopes to those with disabilities. The resort centres around skiing and snowboarding, with a variety of terrain including plenty to please novice, intermediate and advanced snow fans. Beginners can follow the trails of Morse Mountain, while the more advanced can tackle the main runs on Sterling and Madonna. Smugglers Notch is the only resort in Vermont with a triple black diamond, The Black Hole (the most difficult and dangerous of slopes). All three mountains are connected by lifts and trails for easy access. Slippery stuff aside, the resort offers great shopping, ice skating rinks, swimming pools and a generous helping of evening entertainment.
Skill rating: Intermediate to advanced, but plenty for novices, too
More information: www.smuggs.com
Best for those who fancy Japan
This is one of Japan’s most famous ski resorts and the best for beginners who don’t just happen to speak the local lingo. The snow is consistent, too, so you won’t be gambling your cash on a trip to Japan and finding you’re bogged-down in slush. Niseko is suited to skiers and boarders of all ability levels, with a huge variety of perfectly prepared runs that are ideal for families or beginners. There’s also plenty of off-piste on offer for the more experienced. Another attraction is the resort’s combination of both alpine and tree skiing. A word of warning, though, don’t expect to return from the mountains with the sun-kissed complexion that many resorts offer – the resort rarely sees the sunshine. However, it’s the colder weather that brings such great snow. Don’t worry too much about the icy weather, though, there are various gondolas and covered chairs to keep you comfortable as you head to the slopes. Niseko is made up of Annupuri, Higashiyama, Hirafu, Hanazono and Moiwa – but skiers will need an additional pass to access the latter. The ski terrain is broken down as follows: Beginner: 30%, Intermediate: 40%, Advanced 30%, so a good selection for all levels of ability. There’s a great range of accommodation, including traditional Japanese pensions, lodges, hotels and appartments. Another great aspect of Niseko is the night skiing, with the magical moonlit mountains accessible until 9pm on a daily basis.
Skill rating: Something for everyone
More information: www.niseko-village.com
Best for the adventurous
Valle Nevado, Chile
Valle Nevado, Chile
Head to the Andes and enjoy a mountainscape that will add a large dash of drama, excitement and romance to your ski trip before you even hit the slopes. Located 35 miles east of Santiago, this is considered to be one of the country’s most modern ski resorts. Just make sure you time your arrival with care; the final approach to the mountain is upwards-only from 8.00am to 2.00pm and for descending traffic from 2.00-8.00pm. All the local accommodation is ski-in and ski-out, so there’ll be no chomping at the bit as you head to the slopes. It’s another great beach-bashing destination for those who want to swerve the beach, with the best snow from June to October. The resort’s 3,000-metre elevation also guarantees some of the best quality snow in Chile. The resort is based on the French skiing culture, so expect plenty of modern hotels and lifts… the Andes Express lift is said to be one of the most advanced in the southern hemisphere. Valle Nevado offers the largest skiable area in South America, but the adventurous can also head to the local heliport and fly to awe-inspiring Andean landscapes and virgin snow. There’s a great mix of runs for all abilities too: Greens (Beginners) 10%, Blues (Intermediate) 36%, Reds (Advanced) 33%, Blacks (Expert) 21%
Skill rating: Great for all levels of ability
More information: www.vallenevado.com
Try before you buy… UK ski slopes
Thinking about heading to the mountains for your first experience on the slopes? Why not see if it’s really for you by trying out your snow-legs at one of the UK’s many indoor/dry ski centres? Find the closest one to you with our interactive map. Simply hover over each location to get more details.
Insure before you ski
Find out how much some of the big insurers will charge for your peace of mind as you hit the slopes this season…
Ski insurance information
See the full list here