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From the Sky to the Slopes

A Spotlight on Europe's up and coming Ski Destinations

Iceland

This up-and-coming ski destination has around a dozen small ski areas, the largest of which is Bláfjöll, located 30km from Reykjavik and has 15 ski-lifts. The country is also an increasingly popular choice for people who have already heli-skied in Canada and Alaska and now want somewhere even more offbeat.

Ski: Iceland has some of the most extensive ski-touring you’ll find anywhere in the world, due to its reliable snow cover and fabulous ice-fields. The Troll Peninsula in the northwest is home to Deplar Farm, which is set in a remote valley surrounded by 900m peaks. From here you can make heli-ski drops high on the mountains, then ski all the way down to the ocean.

Stay: Deplar Farmwas transformed from a working sheep farm into a fabulous retreat. It has 12 rooms and a spa, and is a two-hour drive from Akureyri.Fly:Akureyri.

Norway

From snowshoeing and skiing, to watching the Northern Lights, you will witness nature at its very best in northern Norway’s Lyngen Lodge.

Ski: Early each morning, board a boat wearing ski boots and carrying skis. The journey across the fjord takes between 15 and 45 minutes, with drop-offs on the snowy beaches at the base of the area’s 60 peaks. From here it’s up to the summit on touring skis, then descend almost 2km on untouched snow to where the boat awaits to bring you to the next powder field. Alternatively, you can go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, and you can also fish off the boat.

Stay: Lyngen Lodgeis located inside Norway's Arctic Circle, 2.5 hours east of the city of Tromsø. It sleeps 18 people in eight en suite bedrooms –either booked exclusively or by the room.

Fly: Tromsø.

Verbier

The traditional-style resort is surrounded by gorgeous scenery, which can be seen from every chalet window, on and off piste, and –if you’re lucky enough –from your own hot tub.

Ski: This is not the best resort for beginners, but a place for experienced skiers and snowboarders who want a high-Alpine challenge.Verbier comprises one of localities that together form the giant Four Valleys ski area –and it is, the one expanse that really matters. Few ski resorts in the world can equal the off-piste down narrow rock-walled corridors, often with huge drops, descending into hidden valleys.

Stay: Chalet Bibi is a secluded ski-in ski-out retreat with lovely views. It sleeps 11 in sophisticated modern style, with a hot tub on the terrace, and has a spa complete with sauna and steam room.

Fly: Sion.

CORTINA D'AMPEZZO

This is Italy’s chic winter destination, presided over by the magnificent Dolomite mountains that turn a delicate rose pink at sunset. In the town itself there’s a striking green-and-white church, a collection of imposing 19th-century mansions and some excellent restaurants.

Ski: Two of my favourite runs in the Dolomites are here. The beautiful Hidden Valley twists and turns past a bright turquoise frozen waterfall before ending at a small mountain hut for lunch. The contrastingly steep Staunies run opensout into the fast Padeon piste lower down the mountain –the stage is set dramatically between two towering cathedrals of rock.

Stay: The refurbished Hotel Ambrahas 18 themed rooms, many with hot tubs and four-poster beds. Alternatively, Chalet LV01 Dolce Vita is one of three attractively decorated chalets that make up a new hamlet within the resort. It sleeps eight, with a private cinema, an impressive wine cellar and a modern spa with 20-metre swimming-pool. A private chef and sommelier can be arrangedat extra cost.

Fly: Bolzano

GSTAAD

In the 1970s Gstaad was the winter home-from-home for some of Hollywood’s brightest stars: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Julie Andrews, David Niven and Princess Grace of Monaco were all regulars here. But today it’s a lot quieter and less glitzy, with the mainly Swiss visitors staying in large private chalets or in one of the smart hotels.

Ski: This is not a resort for expert skiers –almost half the 250km of terrain is classed as “easy”. But that’sthe way Gstaad’s visitors like it: they have chosen the resort partly because of its flattering pistes. If you want snow-sure skiing, simply head along the road to the nearby Diablerets Glacier.

Stay: Huus Gstaadis located on a gentle hillside between Gstaad and the village of Saanen. The seven-storey quintessentential Swiss chalet has a choice of restaurants, a library of 500 books, a large spa and a family area. There are all-inclusive activities on offer, as well as free equipment hire.

Fly: Sion, or Bern.

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