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25 September 2017Last updated
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Five of the best ski escapes

Whether you’re a beginner, on a strict budget, or all about the après-ski, Belle Yates has found the ski holiday that’s right for you

By Belle Yates
1 Dec 2015 | 07:00 pm
  • Zermatt, Switzerland.

    Source:Shutterstock

1 For couples

Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt is definitely the place to go for a romantic getaway with a sprinkling of snowy adventure. For the thrill-seeking couple there are countless pistes, ranging from green (easy) to red (hard), and numerous ski lifts to keep you going all day. With 54 restaurants on offer in Zermatt, there’s also plenty of choice for a romantic meal in the mountains, where you can eat haute cuisine while feeling on top of the world – the views from Blue Lounge Skihütte look like something out of a fantasy film. Take a day away from the skis and boards to visit Gornergrat, an observation platform at 3,089m – great for a photo op! There is also the Glacier Palace, where 15m below the surface lies a frozen fairy-tale palace filled with ice sculptures and ice benches covered in cosy furs to relax in. For something different, the Igloo-Village offers a traditional twist – you can build your own igloo and stay in it overnight!

Need to know

Getting there Flights from Dubai to Zurich on Qatar Airways start from Dh2,235 return. Glacier Express Train from Zurich to Zermatt return starts from Dh525.

Accommodation Hotel Julen Chalet’s double rooms start at Dh890 per night; www.julen.ch.

Ski passes Dh350 per person for one day, including the shuttle bus.

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2 For the après-ski 


St Anton, Austria

This cosy little village could fool anyone into thinking that it’s all about sleepy relaxation – but come nightfall and St Anton reveals its true colours as the ultimate party destination for après-ski fans, with many of its visitors more up for the post-ski parties than for going down the slopes. Nevertheless, the area also offers great ski terrain, making it a hit with more serious skiers too. A word to the wise: the green slopes are said to often fill up and make it difficult to get a good run for the intermediate skiers. But if the slopes are too crowded then there are plenty of slope-side bars, restaurants and discos – but do consider putting a label on your skis or snowboards; with piles of them gathering outside the doors of venues, it can be a challenge to find the right ones at the end of the night.

Need to know

Flights Dubai to Zurich with Qatar Airways starts from Dh1,965 return. Journey from Zurich on the Alberg Express ski bus from Dh360 for a roundtrip.

Accommodation Bacherhof guest house’s double rooms start from Dh400 per night; www.bacherhof.co.at/en.

Ski passes Dh200 upwards for a one-and-a-quarter day pass.

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3 For adrenaline junkies


Gressoney, Italy

The Italian ski resort is part of the Monterosa ski area, which has a total of 64 pistes, eight of which are black, and 50 red pistes – perfect for the adrenaline junkies! For the more difficult skiing, as well as spectacular off-piste skiing, it is recommended to head towards Col d’Olen. As Gressoney is a serene and peaceful town, there is very little to do for après-ski, meaning it is definitely more suited to those who prefer to wake up early and spend as much time on the snow as possible. There are, however, many authentic Italian restaurants, pizzerias and bars to enjoy the time while the slopes are closed. If a day away from the slopes is needed, there is the Castel Savoia nearby, the chosen summer residency of Queen Margherita of Savoy in the late 1800s. The town is also offering a winter deal – stay four nights in a hotel and you ski for free.

Need to know

Getting there Dubai to Milan with Qatar Airways starts from Dh2,465 return. Cars, taxis and mini-vans can be booked online, and the journey from Milan to Gressoney is around two hours and 45 minutes.

Accommodation At Hotel Ellex a superior double room with balcony starts from Dh310 per night; www.ellexhotel.it/en.

Ski passes Dh105 upwards for a one-day pass, or free if you stay in a resort hotel for four nights.

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4 For families


Levi, Finland

This ski resort in Northern Finland is the perfect family getaway to see Santa in a winter wonderland. If it’s skiing you are looking for, there are slopes suited to all abilities, including the little ones’. If the younger guests grow weary of being on skis, there is plenty of other entertainment to keep them smiling; a family night of bowling, trips to see the Northern Lights and even an excursion to Santa Claus Village makes a great start to a festive season. We also recommended you stay for a night in the luxury glass igloos (Golden Crown Levin Inglut). To get the most out of your holiday, try a Monarch holiday deal, which includes excursions and all the ski gear to keep you warm and cosy.

Need to know

Getting there Dubai to London Gatwick with Qatar Airways starts from Dh2,505 return. Then fly to Kittilä.

Accommodation The Monarch Holiday package, including return flights from LGW to Kittilä Airport, a hotel for four nights and all excursions, starts from Dh3,000; www.monarch.co.uk.

Ski passes Dh178 for adults (per day) and children under 12 from Dh120.

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5 For beginners 


Grandvalira, Andorra

Andorra is world famous for its beautiful views that make the perfect backdrop for your first time skiing, with great native English-speaking instructors to teach you how to master the activity. Andorra features plenty of nursery slopes where beginners can learn and advance from. If you discover that skiing isn’t for you, that doesn’t mean you have wasted money – there are plenty of winter activities such as dog sledding, snow biking, tubing and igloo constructing to keep you busy.

Need to know

Getting there Flights from Dubai to Toulouse with Turkish Airlines start from Dh2,741 return (with one stop in Istanbul). Then travel to Toulouse by coach or taxi and from there to Andorra.

Accommodation Hotel Nordic starts from Dh2,512 (four nights); www.grupnordic.com.

Ski passes Dh140 per day, with ski classes starting from Dh285.

Budget ski trip

The Cedars, Lebanon

Not as easy to get to as Ski Dubai, not as far as the European destinations that may break the bank, neighbouring Lebanon is host to multiple ski resorts and has been for over 80 years. The Cedars resort has the advantage of having a higher altitude, meaning a longer ski season for revellers of all levels to enjoy. For a day away from the slopes, the surrounding towns contain buckets of old-world charm, with a history of monasteries and churches that never fail to amaze. The resort itself includes a vast range of restaurants, bars and nightclubs in which to relax after a day on the slopes, as well as stunning views of the mountains themselves.

Need to know

Getting there Dubai to Beirut with Emirates starts from Dh1,300 return. Driving to The Cedars takes two hours.

Accommodation Le Notre Ski Resort’s double room starts from Dh484 per night; www.lenotreresort.com.

Ski passes Dh110 per day.

By Belle Yates

By Belle Yates