YORKSHIRE-based low-cost airline Jet2.com has added a new weekly flight from Leeds-Bradford airport to meet strong demand from skiers and snowboarders prompted by heavy snowfall across Europe.
After a dismal Christmas period which saw the slopes at many top ski resorts closed, deep snow is now widespread across the Alps and Pyrenees and holiday providers have been experiencing a late clamour for bookings.
The new Jet2.com flight departs Leeds-Bradford for Geneva at 3pm every Saturday and gives skiers access to some of the world’s top Alpine resorts, including Chamonix which is widely regarded as having the best combination of skiing and apres-ski in Europe.
Chamonix, which currently has two and a half metres of snow on its upper slopes, is less than a 90-minute drive from Geneva airport, as are other top French resorts such as Les Gets, Morzine, Flaine and Megeve.
Chamonix is the only French resort to make it into the Top 10 of the 100 best European ski resorts as ranked by the travel search engine GoEuro, which assessed resorts in 19 countries across a range of 30 criteria, including ease of access, quality of skiing and nightlife, family-friendliness and affordability.
Six of the top 10 resorts are in Austria, headed by St Anton am Arlberg, whose 340km of pistes, 200km of off-piste routes and 97 lifts have been a major drawcard for British skiers for decades.
St Anton packs more thrills per centimetre of snow than most other destinations, as well as sporting a turbo-charged nightlife, but if that’s not for you here is our guide to the best ski resorts and locations in Europe:
Best for families: Avoriaz, France
Perched high on a rocky outcrop, Avoriaz forms part of the sprawling Portes du Soleil and its traffic-free centre, plus variety of skiing and choice of affordable (by Alpine standards) restaurants makes it very popular with families.
Best for nightlife: Val d’Isere, France
No resort is better equipped to give hedge-fund managers, bankers and the Chelsea set what they want from a ski holiday but it’s still possible to have a great night out in this most English of towns without being bothered by the vulgar excesses of the City.
Also consider: Ischgl (Austria), Sauze D’Oulx (Italy).
Best for snowboarding: Verbier, Switzerland
Verbier has some of the best powder in the world, much of which is best reached with the help of a guide as the snow nearest the perfectly-manicured pistes usually gets tracked out early. Part of the 4 Vallee area which also has Nendaz, Veysonnaz, La Tzoumaz and Val de Bagnas on the same lift pass.
Also consider: Chamonix (France), Cervinia (Italy), Val Thorens (France)
Best for beginners: Tignes, France
The sister resort to Val d’Isere has more of a French feel to it and a better selection of blue and gentle red slopes for beginners to build up their confidence. It’s snow sure, too, with the Grande Motte glacier guaranteeing a long season.
Also consider: Sestriere (Italy), Las Rosiere (France), Puy St Vincent (France).
Best for ease of access: Snozone, Castleford
It’s only 400m from Junction 32 of the M62 at Xscape. How easy is that?
Also consider: Chill Factore (Manchester), Halifax ski centre.