My pick of the pistes: ski resorts in Europe

The scene before us as we skied on the Smuggler's Run between Ischgl and Samnaun

Ski Sunday is on, there’s a new champion at Kitzbühel and the Winter Olympics are around the corner. The ski season is well under way and if you want some serious snow, now’s the time to plan your winter holiday.

Not sure where to go? Whether it’s a short break or a week long adventure you’re after, the best ski resort in Europe or you want to ski under the radar, read on for my piste picks.

And coming soon, look out for my review of Stockholm’s city slope Hammarbybacken, where I’ll be on Saturday.

Ischgl, Austria

Skiers heading out on the Smuggler's Run from Ischgl to Samnaun in Switzerland

A mountain in Ischgl

Catch this Austrian resort on a blue sky day and nothing beats it. Ischgl is pretty damn big, with 238km of pistes, 45 cable cars and, right now, up to 170cm of snow. It’s perfect for all levels with an excellent Ski School.

Smuggler’s Run down to Samnaun in Switzerland is loads of fun with glorious scenery all the way as you cross between the countries. It was called the Duty Free Run back when I skied it as you can bring a rucksack and stock up on cheaper alcohol and gifts in the Swiss shops six days a week.

Tempted? A week’s lift pass will cost you €278.50 and BA, easyJet and Thomas Cook fly from London to Innsbruck, from £90 return.

Hlíðarfjall Akureyri, Iceland

Dusky hues in the distance on a piste at Hlíðarfjall Akureyri ski resort

Dusk on the chair lift at Hlíðarfjall ski resort

Ski with 360° Icelandic snow views, marked only by Akureyri, the country’s second city. There are 24 ski trails, all easily toured on a day trip and the resort is at its best in the evening as snow and sky alike turn all shades of blue.

Easily the best snack wherever you are in Iceland, refuel with hot dogs to keep you going at this neat little resort.

Tempted? A day pass is 4,900 ISK (about £34) and the resort is easily reachable by car or bus from Akureyri city centre, and the drive from Reykjavik is long but stunning. Short of time? Return flights from Reykjavik start at £158.

Méribel, French Alps

On a chair lift at the Méribel ski resort in the Tarentaise Valley of the French Alps
© Annabelle Dawson

Prices are high but it’s worth it for those wooden chalets as far as the eye can see at this French Alps resort. 3 Vallées is the biggest ski resort in the world, with over 600km of pistes and 166 lifts. Méribel turns 80 this year, so expect events and activities throughout 2018.

In true Alpine style one of the activities you can try out is a ride in a TéléFondue©, a gondola fully equipped to serve fondue. Only in France!

Tempted? A Méribel-only lift pass is €282 for seven days, so you’d be mad not to go for the 3 Vallées six day €300 pass. You can reach Méribel via Lyon or Geneva, by plane or Eurostar. Flights from £40 return and Eurostar from £45 one way.

Piani di Bobbio, Italy

Piani di Bobbio at the end of the 2017 ski season

Piani di Bobbio piste at the end of the 2017 ski season

Who says you can’t combine a busy city break with some skiing on the side? Piani di Bobbio is an hour outside of Milan and looks out to the jagged belt of rock that is the Lake Como mountains.

Small but perfectly formed, the resort has 17 slopes covering 35km. The resort attracts a healthy number of snowboarders and you can also try your feet at Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.

Tempted? A day pass costs €27 (or €35 during holidays) and the best way to reach the resort is by car from Milan. Flights to Milan from London are frequent, from £40.

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