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Escape the crowds: four ski resorts in the Alps to try

Four industry experts offer up their insider tips on ski resorts that deliver a big mountain experience minus the hordes.

Published 25 Jan 2022, 06:00 GMT, Updated 25 Jan 2022, 10:49 GMT
Le Grand-Bornand, France.

Le Grand-Bornand, France.

Photograph by Clement Hudry

1. Le Grand-Bornand, France

Le Grand-Bornand is a super-quiet, super-friendly, hassle-free resort with some 50 miles of skiing — but neighbouring (and more well-known) La Clusaz is just a free bus hop away, so you have access to the full Aravis region of 135 miles of piste. On midweek days in January, we often feel like we have the resort to ourselves, which is a real treat. Once, we dropped into our suggested mountain restaurant and found that about 40 of the 45 people in there were all our guests. It’s easy to get to, just an hour from Geneva, and provides great value when compared to the big French resorts — lunch on the mountain really is affordable. Three nights from £339, half-board, at Hôtel La Pointe Percée including transfers and lift passes but not flights. 
Paul Turnbull, short break specialist at Ski Weekender

2. Kronplatz, Italy

Among our big programme of Italian resorts, Kronplatz is a real hidden gem. The ski area has 70 miles of runs, some with good scenic skiing for all levels, including steep, long blacks on the north-facing Riscone area. But it’s actually on the vast Dolomiti Superski area lift pass: there’s a regular bus connection to Alta Badia on the Sella Ronda. This is the place for a relaxed holiday with quiet slopes and gourmet food — Kronplatz is near San Vigilio, which is home to shops, restaurants and one apres-ski bar. Riscone, a bus ride away, has livelier nightlife. Seven nights at the Hotel Majarei, half-board, from £611 including flights and transfers.
Chris Logan, managing director of Crystal Ski Holidays

Lenzerheide, Switzerland, is a quiet resort linked to Arosa.

Photograph by Sundroina Pictures

3. Lenzerheide, Switzerland

Lenzerheide is one of those towns that’s fallen under the radar. It used to be really popular and now no one seems to have heard of it. However, it’s a great area linked with Arosa in the next valley, one of the big resorts, more like St Moritz. It’s a breath of fresh air, really old school and doesn’t come across as touristy. The old town is wonderful — there’s one restaurant, in the Hotel Kurhaus, that looks like a scene from Game of Thrones, all chandeliers, red curtains and burlesque cabaret. And there’s a great variety of reasonably priced hotels. The skiing is fantastic, as is the scenery, and there are lots of really gorgeous mountain restaurants, ranging from traditional to super-slick modern places. Three nights at Revier Mountain Lodge, B&B, from £595 including flights. 
Amin Momen, founder of tailor-made specialist, Momentum Ski

4. Maria Alm, Austria

Maria Alm in the Hochkönig region is five traditional villages spanning six valleys, with 110 miles of varied slopes and loads of backcountry. It’s just a 50-minute drive from Salzburg, yet is often overlooked by the big ski companies. It really is a place to escape to — you won’t find lift queues or overcrowded runs, even in high season in February. Recent investment means fast chair lifts and modern gondolas now service the entire region while Maria Alm itself is a lovely village with great hotels and quiet bars. Two-nights at Hotel Johanneshof from £259, B&B, including transfers and a day’s guiding.
Thom Henderson, founder of bespoke ski holiday specialist, SkiFix

Published in Winter Sports, sold with the December 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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