Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How to Lose the Queues; Had Enough of Overcrowding and Inflated Prices in Big-Name Ski Resorts? Follow Part One of Our Invaluable Guide to Enjoying Great Affordable Skiing without the Hordes

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How to Lose the Queues; Had Enough of Overcrowding and Inflated Prices in Big-Name Ski Resorts? Follow Part One of Our Invaluable Guide to Enjoying Great Affordable Skiing without the Hordes

Article excerpt

Byline: FELICE HARDY

St Martin de Belleville, France

This traditional cheese-making village in the Trois Vallees is full of character, unlike its loftier neighbour, Les Menuires. St Martin has a new gondola link to a chairlift that takes you to the ridge overlooking the Les Allues Valley. From here you can ski towards Meribel or Val Thorens and Les Menuires. The Trois Vallees has 189 lifts and 600km of piste. The village has half-adozen fine restaurants, including La Montagnarde, in a former hayloft, which specialises in cheese dishes.

. From [pounds sterling]465 half board in five-bed Chalet Danielle, including flights, transfers and packed lunches. Thomson Ski: 0870 606 1470, www.thomson-ski.co.uk

San Cassiano, Italy

This roadside village is part of the Superski Dolomiti, with its 460 lifts and 1,220km of piste. The immediate area offers good skiing and snowboarding for beginners and intermediates.

English is not widely spoken in the village. The highlight is the family-owned Hotel Rosa Alpina, which has three restaurants, including the excellent St Hubertus.

The hotel's decoration is traditional South Tyrolean with a twist. The entrance hall has a pale marble floor, a vaulted ceiling, and human-sized distressed wood angels.

. From [pounds sterling]788 B&B at four-star Rosa Alpina, includes flights and car hire.

Also Momentum Ski.

Champex Lac, Switzerland

Sleepy Champex Lac was once a junior partner in the giant Four Valleys lift pass dominated by Verbier. But after a decade of playing Cinderella because of its isolated position up a mountain road, it successfully opted to pursue its own winter path as a marginal resort with limited but challenging skiing.

When the weather is bad, locals ignore the poor visibility of Verbier's exposed high-mountain slopes and pound the powder on Champex's delightful treesheltered runs.

Hotel Belvedere, the village inn, has established a cult following. Its owners collect cowbells, antique musical

instruments and puppets, all of which are on display. Together with home-cooked food, faded but cosy furnishings, and handpainted furniture, the hotel charmingly evokes the past. …

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