Imagine this: you're sitting on a sofa 30 feet above the ground with two planks tied to your feet as you casually get hoiked up the side of a snowy mountain. What is this madness? Well, when put like that, skiing does sound a bit… odd. But who can deny the glory of fresh mountain air rushing through your hair (or, more accurately, over your helmet) as you glide down the mountain, glistening snow flying in your wake? And with the Alps seeing the largest November snowfall for 20 years, now is the perfect moment to book a European ski holiday…
The Dolomites, Italy
Combine the best food in the world (discuss) with some staggeringly beautiful scenery and plenty of sunshine (perfect for fair weather skiers) in the Dolomites. This region is jam-packed with secret gems, like the charming village of San Cassiano, where you'll find Hotel Rosa Alpina. Anyone looking for a winter honeymoon take note - combine skiing in the Dolomites with a few days in Venice and you have the ultimate romantic break.
Austria is, in our humble opinion, the best destination for family skiing. Lech is the best for beginners, Kitzbuhel is perfect for intermediate skiers while the more advanced should head to St Anton - all of which have, hands down, the best ski schools in Europe. We work with several fabulous chalets here but the hotel picks of the bunch include Kristiania in Lech and Tennerhof in Kitzbuhel. What's more, the Arlberg sides of St Anton and Lech have recently been linked by new lifts, creating Austria's biggest interconnected ski area. Fabelhaft.
If there's one word to describe the ski resorts in Switzerland, it's glamorous. Think sophisticated apres ski, fine dining and some of the most picturesque settings you could hope to find. St Moritz enjoys perhaps the most beautiful location, overlooking a huge frozen lake on which World Cup snow polo is played (obvs). Elsewhere, Verbier caters to those who want to ski hard, party harder and stay in the lap of luxury, Andermatt offers challenging skiing and epic views for true powder hounds and, new to Original Travel this year, is Saas-Fee, possibly the most underrated ski resort in the Alps.
We couldn't leave out the largest ski area on the planet - The Three Valleys in the French Alps. Not only can you enjoy the slopes of Courchevel, Val Thorens and Meribel, but The Three Valleys have great accessibility for resorts like Chamonix and Megeve. There are several very good hotels here but the ski in/ski out Portetta in Courchevel and Les Fermes de Marie in Megeve are our picks of the bunch.
And the award for most original ski experience goes to... the team at Deplar Farm in Iceland. The property is a former working sheep farm perched on a mountainside in north west Iceland. Guests are dropped by helicopter at various surrounding mountain tops, the views from which are nothing short of breathtaking - crisp ski slopes carve through the mountains and continue right down to the ocean shore. And it's not all about the skiing either, guests can also enjoy world-class Atlantic salmon fishing. You might even see the Northern Lights. Where do we sign up?