Before long winter holidaymakers will be looking at the latest ski holiday brochures to see what is available for 2010, and with the world in economic decline there's some good bargains to be had, in a great selection of ski holiday resorts.
Some skiers just want confirmation that the resort they loved last year is still the best place to go of course, while others like to change location every year, experiencing new ski challenges and collecting new stories to relate to their friends back home.
Either way, the choices are abundant and depend mostly on what the skier is comfortable with, whether it is a familiar resort or new ground.
If the annual skiing holiday includes beginners, Andorra, nestled in the Pyrenees, is a great choice. The interconnected resorts of Arinsal, Pal and Arcalis offer something for everyone. All three cater to beginner skiers and provide kindergarten facilities for the youngest family members not quite ready to don skis and take the plunge down the bunny slopes.
Arinsal and Pal in Andorra are actually now a single resort linked by cable car. One ski pass allows skiers to venture onto either set of slopes. In effect, wherever you are staying at the resort, you can ski from your backyard right onto the slopes. Snowboarders in Andorra will also feel quite comfortable whether they are beginners or experienced. Arcalis is about 20 kilometers by car from Pal and Arinsal but close enough to be considered part of the three-resort area. A fourth resort, Pas de la Casa, is also close by but tends to be much more crowded. However, it does offer very good value for ski holidays to Andorra if that is the major criteria in selecting a resort. With its numerous cafes, restaurants, happy hours and discos, Pas de la Casa tends to attract the livelier younger adult crowd.
For strictly family ski holidays the Kaprun resort in Austria is a good bet. With its beginner to expert slopes, myriad accommodation to fit every budget, restaurants and cafes, checking into Kaprun is the start of a great family holiday. Hotels and restaurants are noted for their child friendliness. Besides the skiing holidaymakers can snowboard, snowshoe, swim, play tennis and squash, ice skate, bowl and take a sleigh ride. Of the 59 runs, 31 are for beginners, and nine are expert runs.
Shops abound for those who want to take a break from other activities. You can even arrange to tour the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. One of the most welcome features is the short hop from the airport to the resort. Nothing is more tedious for skiers than to get off a plane and have to face a several hour ride to the resort. Not so in Kaprun.
With global warming and the environment a world wide concern, many skiers are beginning to make going green a criteria for their choice of ski holidays. If that is a concern, Les Arcs in France should be on your list of ski destinations. Take the Eurostar from London for example to Bourg-St-Maurice. From there it is a short hop to Les Arcs. The management is actively committed to maintaining preservation of the environment. At the same time the facilities are first rate, including accommodation for the youngest family members. Les Arcs has been awarded the Famille plus Montagne certification. Four star living quarters are the norm, and the restaurants and shops are among the best in the French Alps.
If the apres ski experience is what makes your holiday, then you may want to check out the Italian resort of Livigno or Austria's Bad Gastien. Livigno is just across the border from St. Moritz in the Italian Alps and through some quirk in geography enjoys tax free status. It offers excellent skiing because of its altitude. With 81 bars, restaurants and nightclubs, the apres ski possibilities are almost endless. Restaurants feature French, Italian, U.S. and traditional cuisine as well as the ubiquitous fast food. In other words, something for everyone's taste.
Bad Gastien is actually one of the grand spa resorts that just happens to be located in the midst of one of Austria's largest ski areas. The skiing is excellent, and the apres ski scene is more sophisticated than many deluxe resorts with its famous thermal spa and lively nightlife.
If you are looking for the perfect ski weekend, don't overlook Lillehammer in Norway. The site of a Winter Olympic, Lillehammer is a short hop from the airport. The hotels are first class and off slope activities include sleigh rides, tobogganing and ice skating.
Regardless of where you choose to spend your ski holidays, the choices are as varied as the splendid terrain. Take your family, take your spouse, go with friends. Whatever you do you will have a memorable experience to look back on for years to come - ski holidays can be great fun!