Transfer time: Geneva Airport 100km/90mins; Turin Caselle Airport 150km/100mins.
Lift pass: €139.00 for 3 days
Courmayeur (1,224m) is a charming, traffic-free spa town of cobbled streets and pretty alpine buildings. The central Via Roma is lined with bars and upmarket clothing shops. Although it’s not high, the ski area benefits from good snow cover thanks to north or north west-facing slopes, which are best suited to competent skiers. Off-piste is good and there’s access to the famous Vallée Blanche.
STAY: Hotel Berthod
Proximity to the cable cars and great facilities make Hotel Berthod a popular choice with plenty of repeat guests. It features a very comfortable communal lounge area and modern bar, as well as a fitness room, sauna and Jacuzzi – perfect for relaxing after a long day on the slopes. A four-night stay is £615.
EAT: Petit Royal
Inside the Grand Hotel Royal & Golf is the Petit Royal, a tiny Michelin-starred dining room which seats just 24 people. To the lucky few, chef Paolo Griffa delivers gourmet Italian food with a twist. Expect plenty of local specialities, with all ingredients from local farms. It is, of course, essential to book in advance.
La Clusaz, France
Transfer time: Geneva Airport 50km/60mins
Lift pass: €113 for 3 days
With such a short transfer time, it’s a wonder this resort has not gained the same levels of popularity as its Alpine neighbours. Deep in the Reblochon zone, this pretty Savoie village has tons of French mountain culture. Tasteful wooden chalets line the streets, a lovely 19th-century church dominates the village square, and there are some excellent restaurants and a good handful of bars. Almost everyone seems to be local which is a sure sign of a good ski resort. Make sure not to miss the monthly ‘Full Moon’ evenings, when you can ski by moonlight on the Cret du Loup and Cret du Merle areas.
STAY: Hotel Le Christiania
This three-star hotel in the centre of La Clusaz offers great value for money and comfortable accommodation in a traditional, relaxed Savoyard style. Just 50m from the nearest lift, it also only a few moments’ walk from the centre of town. All rooms are en suite with a cosy, homely feel. Restaurant Le Bistro has an outside terrace area. Four nights from £420.
EAT: Chalet des Praz
La Clusaz has a fantastic selection of good quality and reasonably priced mountain restaurants. The majority serve Savoyard specialities, including Reblochon cheese. Chalet des Praz stands out for its tartiflette and raclette. Book the late lunch sitting and hang around for the apres-ski session, which kicks off around 3:30pm and inevitably leads into plenty of dancing on tables to live music. If you’ve overindulged, you can return safely to the village via cable car. A great option for those looking for mountainside fun.
Sainte Foy, France
Transfer time: Chambéry Airport 124km/150 mins
Lift pass: €90.40 for 3 days
Sainte Foy offers an unprecedented mountain experience. This playground is in the Tarentaise valley but is lesser known because of its limited on-piste skiing. Once the home to the Free Ride World Tour Qualifiers, it is an epic location in which to develop your skiing or snowboarding skills on marked un-groomed black runs before heading into the endless unmarked back-country. It has three ‘free zones’ which are easy to access, so you can begin each day early in fresh powder.
STAY: L’Etoile des Cimes Apartments
These four-star, fully equipped apartments in the heart of Sainte-Foy come with a fantastic pool and wellness facilities. With amazing views, they make a well located, modern and spacious option for self-caterers. Two nights from £226.
EAT: Chez Merie
Ski off-piste to Chez Merie in Le Miroir for exactly the sort of laidback, restorative lunch you’ll need after a morning of powder pummelling. Expect great service, superb local cuisine and hearty dishes such as cote de boeuf cooked in the chimney. The two sisters who run the restaurant have a great reputation in the area, so bookings are essential.