Ask ten people why they love snowsports and you're likely to get ten different answers: the spectacular beauty of the mountains, the exhilaration of hurtling down the slopes, the food, the après-ski, the off piste, the rustic mountain huts or simply being in picture-perfect villages surrounded by glistening snow. Once regarded the domain of the wealthy, snowsports have now become accessible to people of all budgets and all abilities. Holidays in the mountains should be as much about relaxing on a sun terrace admiring some of the planet's most spectacular scenery, taking long lunches in cosy restaurants and whooping loudly as you bag fresh tracks on a powder day as it is about perfecting your technique! It’s the fact that skiing and snowboarding are much more than simply sports that makes them so special. Almost the entire world now caters for snow holidays, so much so that modern traveller's options are in, reality, almost limitless. So how do you choose where to go?

Going skiing this year? Check out Matt Barr's fantastic guide to skiing in Europe. Covering over 100 resorts, this is the definitive guide to the European ski scene.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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