Friday, 5 August 2011 9:50 AM
When planning ski holidays it is unusual for everyone in the group to have the same level of ability on the slopes. So it is important to find a resort which has everything from beginner to expert runs, as well as facilities for children and plenty to do in the evenings.
There are lots of all-round ski resorts in Europe that fit the bill, so the only thing you will need to worry about is choosing the right one for you and tracking down the best deal.
If you are thinking about France, Val d'Isere is a great option. One of the world's most popular winter sports destinations, it has runs to suit everyone from novices to professionals and also has plenty to offer snowboarders. You will find there is a wide range of affordable accommodation in the resort, as well as some pretty lively nightlife.
A good alternative in France is Meribel, which has two snow parks and lots of off-piste action for boarders, as well as ski slopes suitable for beginners, a wide choice of intermediate runs and a number of black runs in the Three Valleys area. There is also an excellent selection of luxury ski chalets and hotels available.
The Swiss Alps are another fantastic location for skiing holidays, particularly if you choose Zermatt. Located in the shadow of the imposing Matterhorn, this family-friendly resort has more than 300 km of piste and two snowboard parks. You will be able to try your hand at snowshoeing, skidoo racing and paragliding before sampling the nightlife.
Saas Fee also has all the facilities you could possibly need for a ski holiday in Switzerland, although it is nowhere near as busy as Zermatt. The slopes include a number suitable for experienced skiers, together with a selection of long cruising runs perfect for people looking to improve their skills. There are plenty of bars and restaurants, but Saas Fee has more of a family feel than some better-known resorts.
If you are looking across the border in Austria for a suitable winter holiday destination, it is well worth considering Lech. This upmarket village has more than 130 runs, including 30 advanced level ones, lots of opportunities for off-piste skiing and two parks for snowboarders. Lech is renowned for the quality of its chalets and hotels, so you are sure to have somewhere comfortable to sleep after an evening enjoying its lively bars.
The Dolomites are also worth looking at for a ski holiday. Selva makes a perfect base, as it is located in the heart of Italy's Superski area, giving you access to hundreds of runs. The resort is also packed with bars and clubs, together with a number of high-quality restaurants dishing up traditional local cuisine.
Spain is the rising star of skiing tourism and you could choose to stay ahead of the trends by booking a holiday in the Pyrenees. The ultra-modern resort of Formigal has all the facilities you could need for a successful getaway, including a host of four-star hotels and plenty of après-ski action. The slopes that surround the town have something to suit all ability levels, although experienced skiers are particularly well catered for, with 39 black runs available.
Another country slightly off the beaten track for ski holidays is Norway, but you may well wonder why if you book a break in Oppdal. Snow is guaranteed for the whole season and everyone from beginners to professionals can enjoy the slopes all the way through until May.