Four fab new trips for the winter of 2011-2012...The Indian Summer enjoyed by many in the UK of late is well and truly over, and we can now look forward to months of news bulletins featuring cars skidding around on icy roads and the BAA making up excuses for their usual shoddy under-investment in our airports. Having said that, after last Christmas's shambolic scenes at Heathrow, can they really be so unprepared again? Time will tell, but we digress - the point is that snow does not have to be bad. In fact there are a lot of places where snow = fun, and we have four fab new winter ski holidays. Assuming you can get to the airport and on to the plane, that is.
Seeing the Northern Lights is never guaranteed, but boffins picked Alta in Norway as home to the world's first Northern Lights Observatory in 1899, so it must be a fairly good spot to see them. You can also try your hand at snowmobile or dog-sledding safaris, meet indigenous Sami people and see first hand their fascinating way of life, and spend the night in a freshly made snowtel - the Sorriniva Igloo Hotel. Seriously cool. Literally.
Ski safari in Dolomites
The Italians do things in style, which is why we love this fantastic ski safari in the beautiful Dolomites. Guests do a circuit of the immense Dolomiti Superski region with the route tailored to the ability of the group - from staying on pistes the entire way or exploring the excellent off piste for experts. Best of all? The nights on route are spent in charming mountain refugas that can only be reached on skis, and which are far cry from the sock-smelling dormitories of the Haut Route. The Italian versions have private rooms and, needless to say, excellent grub and wines.
Meet Father Christmas in Finland
Finland has rather cornered the Father Christmas market, and while there are some fairly tacky experiences to be had, we at OT have found a superb place where children and parents alike will have a magical festive stay. The youngsters meet the man himself and can enjoy reindeer sleigh rides and staying in a glass-topped igloo. Guaranteed to delay the inevitable Santa suspicions for a year or two.
The Three Valleys
The Three Valleys are one of the very best places to ski in Europe, with something for everyone thanks to excellent ski schools for younger skiers, and superslick restaurants and hotels for grown-ups wanting a glamorous week away, and everything in between. Courchevel has become something of a haunt for oligarchs of late, but don't let that put you off. Meribel, meanwhile, retains much of the traditional ski resort feel that has made it so popular with the Brits over the years.
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