Head to the snow with four last-minute ski recommendations
With the Easter weekend fast approaching and the snow season the best it's been in years in most parts of the world, what do you do with a long weekend ahead? Why not get out of town and jet off to the slopes on a last-minute skiing holiday?
From Asia's snowy alpine resorts to Europe's chocolate-box villages, our travel specialists here at Quintessentially have compiled a handy list of last-minute options that could have you taking in that alpine air in no time.
It may still come as a surprise to some, but Japan offers excellent skiing options with its wealth of resorts. The snow quality is often superior to European resorts, with piles of fluffy powder snow throughout most of the season. Running from late November to the beginning of May, the season is also longer, so a perfect place to visit over Easter at the end of Japan's 'shoulder' season.
Widely considered to be the finest location is Niseko on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, it's made up of four resorts (Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Village, Niseko Hanazono and Niseko Grand Hirafu) with stunning views of Mount Fuji. Exceptional food options can be found throughout the resorts, as well as hot springs (onsens) and spa options to sooth tired muscles. There's also Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort that's packed with character, culture and more than 30 traditional onsens. Let our travel team guide you through Japan's various options with a tailored itinerary.
With Europe enjoying an incredible season and the most optimal snow conditions for many years, it's time to take advantage of this bonus and head to the Swiss Alps. Including top-notch resorts such as St Moritz, Verbier, Zermatt and Klosters, there are lots of places to choose from for exhilarating ski action as well as all those traditional Swiss customs (cheese fondue anyone?) and a good dose of après-ski. While the above named resorts may be exactly where you want to head, you could also consider some hidden gems such as Laax and the interconnected resorts of Flims and Falera. These resorts also boast some top-class off-piste skiing (as well as four huge snow parks, if you're into tricks), and exceptional resorts and dining options. Talk to our Travel team to find out more about Laax's Rocksresort as well as Easter offers at the Waldhaus Flims Alpine Grand Hotel & Spa.
With the PyeongChang Winter Olympics shining a spotlight on the country in 2018, why not mix it up, visit Korea's ski resorts and head to where this year's Olympic athletes competed for gold? YongPyong has established itself as one of the top ski destinations on the continent, and is a serious ski resort with terrain and facilities to satisfy even the most well-travelled skiers and riders. It's now easier than ever to get to, via a new high-speed train from Seoul-Incheon International Airport, and features 15 lifts servicing the area's 31 runs. These runs range from gentle beginner slopes, and go right through to challenging moguls and steeps. Flood-lit slopes also mean after-dark skiing hours so you can enjoy longer skiing times before heading off to a late dinner. Expect après-ski to be a little bit more laid-back than in Europe, with karaoke nights a firm favourite among the locals.
If it's picturesque alpine villages you crave, then look no further than beautiful Austria with its quaint chalets, boutique hotels and surprisingly serious après-ski culture. While it may not have the giant linked ski areas of France and Switzerland, its traditional villages are backed up by some impressive lift systems with options to ski in and out, while avoiding trains and buses. The Arlberg region with resorts including St Anton, Lech and Zürs offer stunning skiing, as do Saalbach and neighbouring Hinterglemm. Contact your Lifestyle Manager or Quintessentially's Travel team for more information on how to get the most out of your Easter ski break.