Coolest new hotels
1. Le Totem Flaine, France
This is a big winter for French ski-hotel openings and Le Totem, in high-altitude Flaine, is the pick of them. Until now the renowned Sibuet family’s hotels — of which Les Fermes de Marie in Megève is the best known — have been four or five-star with prices to match, but hip Le Totem is three-star and aimed at a younger crowd. Expect avant-garde art mixed with vintage furniture, “woollen fabrics influenced by Native American culture” and a buzzy après-ski cocktail bar. The Sibuets intend to open a series of similar hotels in the Alps, with the next planned for Avoriaz.
Details: B&B doubles are from €150 (£110). The hotel opens on December 18 (terminal-neige.com)
2. Hotel Pashmina Val Thorens, France
Europe’s highest resort has attracted huge investment from hoteliers. Pashmina will become the fourth five-star hotel in Val Thorens, which was once known for its cheap student breaks in simple apartments (try the Koh-I Nor or Altapura). Pashmina has a slick contemporary style, and a spa with a pool, hot tubs and treatments using L’Occitane products.
Details: Half-board junior suites are from €510. The hotel opens on December 12 (hotelpashmina.com)
3. White 1921 Courchevel 1850, France
The French designer Jean-Michel Wilmotte is the man behind the chic interior of this new 28-room hotel, which has a sister property in Saint-Tropez (opened in 2012). It’s run by LVMH, the group that heads up Louis Vuitton and Moët & Chandon. Expect minimalism mixed with splashes of colour, as well as two salons that are likely to go down well with Courchevel 1850’s socialite ski set. White 1921 will have a spa with a sauna, hammam and hot tub. It’s in the centre of the resort, close to lifts.
Details: B&B doubles are from €290. The hotel opens on December 19 (white1921.com/courchevel)
4. Le Taos Tignes, France
There seems to be an American Wild West trend in the French Alps this winter. This four-star hotel in Tignes will have a “New Mexico-inspired ambiance” — Taos is a village in the Rocky Mountains, New Mexico, that caught the eye of the owners. The interior will feature ranch-style wooden panels, sheepskin rugs, Mexican blankets on beds and a steakhouse. The spa will have a hammam and an indoor heated pool.
Details: B&B doubles are from €183. The hotel opens on December 4 (hotel-le-taos.com)
5. Le Yule Val d’Isère, France
Le Yule is a 41-room boutique property with a vintage Scandinavian style. Expect blond wood floors, wood-panelled walls, furs and fireplaces. It’s where the Hotel Grand Paradis used to be, right on the slopes, so it’s ski-in and ski-out. The inside has been transformed. There’s a pool and spa with treatment rooms, saunas and a steam room. The restaurant will serve local dishes.
Details: Doubles with half-board are from €350. The hotel opens on December 9 (leyule.fr)
6. Peaks Place Laax, Switzerland
This is a cool new apart-hotel of 74 self-catering apartments with one to three rooms, perfect for friends looking for a reasonably priced break in a lively resort. There’s a spa with a pool, sauna, hot tub and treatments, as well as a bar and a restaurant.
Details: Ski Safari has a seven-night stay from £550pp (four sharing a two-bed apartment) or £785pp (two sharing a one-bed apartment). The hotel opens on December 5 (01273 224060, skisafari.com, peaks-place.com)
7. adeo Alpin Hotel St Johann, Austria
The former Olympic skiing gold medallist Hermann “the Herminator” Maier, with his former team-mate Rainer Schoenfelder, are opening a three-star, budget hotel in the small resort of St Johann. Rooms will be simple but comfortable. Maier plans to start a chain of properties to bring skiing within the means of the less wealthy. There’s to be a spa and a restaurant.
Details: Three nights’ room-only in a double room is from €174. The hotel opens on January 15 (adeo-alpin.com)
8. Hôtel A Lârze Le Châble, Switzerland
Le Châble, a village at 820m (2,690ft), is connected to the gondola that travels up to Les Ruinettes in Verbier, so there’s excellent access to all the slopes of one of the most popular Swiss resorts. Hôtel A Lârze is a ten-room hotel built out of larch, from which the hotel gets its name. This is for those after a down-to-earth hideaway, but with comfortable rooms, wi-fi and a sauna for relaxing in after hitting the slopes.
Details: B&B doubles are from £107 during the ski season. The hotel opens on December 10 (alarze.ch)
Best new hotspots
9. Grand Bornand by rail, France
A new direct Eurostar service to Lyons, which launched this summer, opens up a swathe of resorts previously inaccessible by fast train. To reach the charming village of Grand Bornand take a train from Lyons to Annecy (£42 return), before hopping on a bus up the hill (€8.20).
Details: A week’s self-catering is from £409pp, based on two sharing an apartment at the Village De Lessy (0844 5760170, peakretreats.co.uk). Eurostar (eurostar.com) returns to Lyons are from £89. For more, see snowcarbon.co.uk
10. New ski area, Austria
A €20 million gondola will link the traditional village of Fieberbrunn to the resorts of Saalbach-Hinterglemm for the first time this winter. The new area has 220km of terrain, making it Austria’s second-largest. Fieberbrunn will be offered by Inghams.
Details: A week’s half-board at the four-star Sporthotel Fontana costs from £799pp, including flights and transfers (01483 791114, inghams.co.uk)
11. Mega resort in Utah America
The US has a new ski resort this year thanks to a link between Park City and Canyons. The two will be connected by gondola to become one large resort called Park City, covering 7,300 acres. The new lift forms part of a $50 million (£33 million) project, which will result in the creation of new slopes, upgraded chairlifts and renovated restaurants.
Details: Ten nights’ B&B at the four-star Silverado Lodge costs from £1,425pp, based on four sharing a two-bedroom lodge, including flights and transfers (01273 224060, skisafari.com)
12. Pre-Olympics visit South Korea
If you’re looking for a seriously quirky ski experience, South Korea is hard to rival. Yongpyong is the country’s biggest resort and it will be home to the alpine events at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Games preparations have barely started, so you can still experience this resort at its most authentic.
Details: An eight-night tour of Yongpyong and Seoul costs from £1,280pp, including flights and transfers (01273 224060, skisafari.com). For more information see gokorea.co.uk
Best on a budget
13. Half-price rooms in Whistler Canada
With the most extensive ski area in North America and lively après-ski, Whistler has long been a favourite with British skiers. This season one of its iconic hotels, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, has some tempting offers.
Details: Frontier Travel is offering ten nights room-only in early December at Fairmont Chateau Whistler from £1,185pp with flights, ski carriage and transfers; a 50 per cent discount with an upgrade thrown in (020 8776 8709, frontier-travel.co.uk). Also see Carrier (0161 492 1359, carrier.co.uk) for Fairmont Chateau Whistler deals
14. Early-booking deal Austria
The laid-back village of Hinterglemm is connected to Saalbach by extensive slopes. The mountains suit intermediates, with plenty of long red runs. The area is less busy than the likes of Verbier and St Anton, so rates are usually reasonable.
Details: Inghams has a week’s chalet-catering at the four-star Chalet Hotel Pinzgauerhof from £699pp departing on December 19, with flights and transfers included for bookings made by October 17 (01483 791114, inghams.co.uk)
15. A week from £635pp France
There’s an outdoor hot tub at the Neilson Hotel Escapade in Alpe d’Huez There are also some good rates at the hotel, which is new to Neilson’s stable this winter. Alpe d’Huez’s slopes suit all levels and are famous for the 10km (6.2 miles) Sarenne run, which has some challenging sections for experts.
Details: A week’s chalet-board is from £635pp with flights, transfers, ski guiding and a £25 bar credit, departing on December 19 (0330 0143351, neilson.co.uk)
16. Two-country holiday Italy and France
The resort of La Rosière is linked to La Thuile in Italy, so you can ski in two countries; the village of La Rosière is high, at 1,850m. Good value compared with nearby Les Arcs and Val d’Isère (but with just 150km of piste), it is a great choice for a quiet escape. Most of the apartments and hotels are ski-in, ski-out.
Details: Ski Collection has a seven-night stay in Les Balcons de la Rosière self-catering apartment from £1,835 for a family of five, departing on December 19 or during January, with a Eurotunnel crossing included (02392 890960, skicollection.co.uk)
17. Short break in Gressoney Italy
Fancy a short break for less than £600, staying half-board at a four-star hotel, with flights, transfers and lift passes included? That’s what Ski Solutions is offering in the charming resort of Gressoney in Italy’s Aosta Valley. The resort is part of the Monterosa ski area with 180km of well-connected pistes.
Details: Ski Solutions has four nights’ half-board at Hotel Lo Scoiattolo from £555pp with flights to Turin, transfers (which take 90 minutes) and lift passes, departing on December 10 (020 7471 7700, skisolutions.com)
18. Verbier on the cheap Switzerland
The chic and popular resort of Verbier can be incredibly pricey, but Inghams has put together an enticing week-long break in the comfortable, laid-back Xtra Chalet de Verbier (book by October 15). The chalet-hotel has a bar and is a five-minute walk to the Medran gondolas.
Details: Inghams has seven nights’ chalet-board from £664pp in January with flights and transfers included; week-long lift passes are from £180pp, which is £75 less than usual (01483 791114, inghams.co.uk)
19. Short break in Trysil, Norway
The best exchange rates in a decade will make the 75km of pistes in Norway’s biggest ski area a hit this season. Trysil’s ski area is split into four linked resorts. Turistsenter, with its intermediate terrain, is considered to be the main base. Fageråsen is great for beginners.
Details: Four nights’ B&B at the four-star Hotel Radisson Blu is from £445pp, including flights and transfers (020 8939 0864, flexiski.com)
Best for beginners
20. Europe’s longest green run, France
Newbies to Val Cenis often wonder why they haven’t heard of it before. The 125km ski area overlooks a lake, and is packed with beginner and intermediate terrain. Novices can tackle Europe’s longest green run, the 10km Escargot (or snail).
Details: A week’s self-catering is from £340pp, based on two sharing an apartment at Les Alpages de Val Cenis (0844 5760170, peakretreats.co.uk). Eurostar (eurostar.com) returns to Lyons are from £89. Onward returns to Modane are £25. A bus connects with the resort
21. Winter sports in Geilo, Norway
Headwater’s new activity holiday offers the perfect introduction to four winter pastimes. You’ll start on Nordic cross-country skis before switching to husky sledding and snowshoeing. Only then will you don your skis and head for Geilo’s alpine beginner slopes.
Details: Seven nights’ half-board at the four-star Dr Holms Hotel is from £1,499pp, including equipment rental, all activities, flights and transfers (01606 828261, headwater.com)