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No matter your budget or skill level, say goodbye to wind and rain and hello to fluffy white powder (we’re talking about snow FYI)

Whether you’re a nervous novice, a confident intermediate or an all-out expert, we’ve searched out the top snowy spots for you to get sporty at this winter. Skint, modestly moneyed or flush? Doesn’t matter – we’ve found the best for every budget. So no excuses, winter hermits. Use our guide to pounding the powder, and there’ll be no getting fat on the sofa in front of DVD boxsets. We’ll see you on the slopes!

SKILL LEVEL: BEGINNERS

Budget

La Clusaz (laclusaz.com) in France is good for long-term skiiers, as the more days you ski, the cheaper it gets. At about £140 for a six-day pass, it boasts 23 green runs and 30 blue, ranking it among the best resorts in Europe for beginners.The quintessentially French mountain village is a delight, attracting a lot of return visits from skiers and boarders who fall head over heels for its traditional charm. It also gets super-busy at weekends, which is great for a party (although makes for some crowded slopes).

Midrange

Eastern Europe is great for snow bunnies on a mid-range budget. Borovets (bulgariaski.com) in Bulgaria has pistesof varying length and difficulty, so if it turns out you’re a natural, you can get off the beginners’ runs (of which there are three) and take on more of a challenge. Borovets also boasts a thriving apres-ski scene promoting the message ‘More beer = less fear’ to beginners. Sensible? No. Fun? Yes. Ski passes start at £175 for six days. Once a budget resort to compete with the best of Eastern Europe, Grandvalira (grandvalira.com) in Andorra hasbecome more mainstream in recent years, pushing theprices up a notch. Still, it’s much cheaper than the major resorts of France and Austria. There are 18 green runs – the‘nursery’ slopes – and a whopping 38 blue runs, also with gentle gradients for beginners. There are lots of British-run ski schools, too. The village of Pas de la Casa has the liveliest après-ski scene, with some going so far as to call it ‘raucous’. Soldeu is a little more chilled – go to British-run Fat Albert’s for live music and big burgers. A pass for six days will set you back around £200.

Luxury

Crans-Montana (tourism-crans-montana.co.uk) in Switzerland is the perfect spot for novices looking for a touch of class to balance out any indignities on the slopes. Stretching across two towns with soul-enriching views across the Rhône Valley (well-known for its wine), there’s also a dearth of British tourists, which makes for a genuine escape from London life. (Though be warned – the Russian clientele is growing.) While there is an upmarket feel to much of it – with designer shops, five-star hotels and even a Michelin-starred restaurant at your disposal – there’s also a good number of bars that keep revellers occupied into the early hours. Train your snow legs on 17 different blue runs, with a six-day ski pass setting you back about £275 from December 21-April 11.


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