Whether you're planning to indulge in a luxury chalet, looking for the latest design hotel or are after something a little quirky, we show you some of the best places to stay on the slopes.
Chalets with class
Opting to stay in a catered chalet needn't mean compromising on style. rudechalets in Morzine, France takes the comfort level up a notch. In flagship Chalet Christophe, all rooms are en suite, with flatscreen TVs, CD/DVD players and PlayStation 2s, plus there's a stylish lounge boasting a 42-inch plasma screen, Wi-Fi and iPod dock. Breakfast, afternoon tea and the evening three-course meal are a cut above your average chalet fare - all staff are trained by a professional chef. Outside, there's a hot tub to relax in, and the ever-helpful staff will ferry you to and from the pub until the early hours. Custom weeks include a testosterone-free rudegirls week and a freestyle week (website: www.rudechalets.com).
Alternatively...reduce your carbon footprint at Green Rides, a new eco chalet in Bourg St Maurice, France (website: www.green-rides.com).
If the chalet experience isn't for you or you have fussy eaters in the family, a self-catering apartment can offer greater flexibility. Arc 1950 in Les Arcs, France is Canadian developer Intrawest's first European resort village. Think purpose-built French ski apartments and you may conjure up images of 1960s monstrosities. Fortunately, no expense has been spared here when it comes to offering luxurious contemporary comfort in attractive surroundings (website: www.arc1950.com). A second French Intrawest development, the Montsoleil village, is now underway at Flaine in the Grand Massif ski region, comprising 500 ski-in, ski-out apartments plus restaurants, bars and shops (website: www.flaine-montsoleil.com).
Alternatively...Ski Collection offers 4-star accommodation in mostly brand new ski residences in the major French resorts (website: www.skicollection.co.uk).
Twenty-first-century Lux Alpinae in St Anton, Austria offers a refreshing break from traditional Alpine hotels. This airy, minimalist structure, designed by Austrian architect Georg Driendl, features vast swathes of exposed concrete, massive floor-to-ceiling windows and sleek, modern furnishings. Even the bathroom has a transparent wall so you can gaze out at the snow while you soak in the tub. For après, there's a smart restaurant and stylish relaxation area with sauna, steamroom and solarium (website: www.luxalpinae.at).
Alternatively...treat yourself to a loft suite at the boutique Adara Hotel in Whistler, Canada (website: www.adarahotel.com).
Describing itself as ‘the world's first snowboarder hotel', The Block at Tahoe, California is the place to stay stateside if you're a super cool snowboarder dude or chick. Signature rooms are individually designed by the likes of Roxy, Spy and Zoo York. All come kitted out with DVDs, Wi-Fi, PlayStation 2s, boot and glove dryers and board racks, and there are free energy drinks and bars on hand to help boost your performance on the slopes. There's a second hotel in Big Bear, California and there are plans to open further offshoots in Colorado, British Columbia, Andorra, France, Switzerland and Japan (website: www.theblockhotels.com).
Alternatively...shack up with fellow riders at specialist snowboard chalet Dragon Lodge in Tignes, France (website: www.dragonlodge.com).
The Lodge, the latest addition to Richard Branson's Virgin Limited Edition collection, opens this month in Verbier, Switzerland. For a cool £35,250 (rising to £59,000 in peak season), you can rent out the entire 18-person chalet for a week, complete with mini ice rink, indoor pool, kids' bunk room, flowing champagne and ‘Virgin Touch' spa to relieve those aching muscles (website: www.virginlimitededition.com). Better start flexing those credit cards...
Alternatively...swoop into town by private jet and mingle with the stars at Aspen, Colorado's most prestigious address, The Little Nell (website: www.thelittlenell.com).
Think you can handle the cold? Try spending a night in one of Iglu Dorf's five Alpine igloo villages. Bunk up with five pals in a standard igloo or snuggle up with your amour in the romantic igloo suite, which has its own private loo and hot tub. So you don't completely freeze, sleeping areas are lined with sheepskin rugs, thermomats, mattresses and expedition-standard sleeping bags. There's also a sauna should you need to warm up. Take your pick from igloos in Davos/Klosters (new this season), Engelberg, Gstaad and Zermatt in Switzerland or Zugspitze in Germany (website: www.iglu-dorf.com).
Alternatively...camp out in the environmentally friendly Whitepods (dome-shaped tents) in the Dents du Midi, Switzerland, which come with private ski slope and massage therapists (website: www.whitepod.com).
Japan is arguably the hottest ski destination of the moment, thanks to the copious amounts of powder hitting its shores every winter. If you're planning a visit to Niseko, check out Hokkaido Tracks' selection of swanky self-catering apartments and townhouses. For the ultimate luxury, splash out on one of the four Youtei Tracks designer penthouses (website: www.hokkaidotracks.com).
Alternatively...Spend a few nights in a minshuku, a traditional Japanese inn. Contact the Japanese National Tourist Organization for information (website: www.jnto.go.jp).
If making a reservation at The Lodge (see above) means remortgaging the house, at the other end of the scale Verbier is home to The Bunker. The hostel accommodation is basic (three-level bunk beds in large dorms), but you can still impress your friends with the fact you'll be sleeping in a former nuclear bomb shelter. Rooms are all underground and windowless, so this is one to avoid if you're claustrophobic (website: www.thebunker.ch).
Alternatively... stay in a design hotel without breaking the bank by sharing a five-person dorm at the hip Riders Palace in Laax, Switzerland (website: www.riderspalace.ch).