Daniel Elkan is a freelance ski journalist and founder of Snowcarbon, a website about how to travel to ski resorts by train. He’s passionate about helping people choose the best resorts for their ski holidays – and discovering and researching the best places to ski.
We asked him to pick the resorts that he would recommend for holiday this March. With so many great destinations in the Alps, Daniel chose a mixture of popular destinations and lesser-known resorts.
"March is a lot of skiers' favourite month, and it’s easy to understand why; longer days and slightly warmer weather mean you spend more time on the slopes, enjoy long lunches basking on sunny mountain-restaurant terraces and still take advantage of terrific snow conditions."
Val Cenis, France
"Val Cenis is part of the beautiful, unspoiled Maurienne Valley, and this part of the French Alps sits under the radar of British skiers, who don’t realise what they are missing.
"The resort is brilliant for families because there are excellent nursery slopes. In fact, the slopes are home to the longest green run in the Alps, aptly named L’Escargot. In total, there are 125km of pistes – ample for a week for intermediate skiers – and all the upper lifts have off-piste routes coming off them, too.
"Accommodation-wise, there are plenty of high quality, good value apartments in the villages that make up the resort, many of which sit directly at the foot of the slopes – so that you can put your skis on and go. The atmosphere here is very relaxed and friendly, with prices that are refreshingly down to earth."
"Located at the heart of the huge 600km Three Valleys ski area, Meribel has been a firm favourite with the Brits since it was founded in the 1930s. The abundance of options make the piste map tantalising – and if you are an intermediate skier who wants to clock up the miles, you’ll be in your element here.
"From Meribel you can access Courchevel and Les Menuires, along with historic village St Martin de Belleville. For scenic, glacial views, you can head to Vallon.
"One of the big draws of the resort are the cute hotels and rustic chalets. There’s plenty of après ski too, at places such as Rond Pont and La Folie Douce, located at the mid station of the Saulire gondola, where dancing on tables is becoming a tradition. If you get the chance, catch an ice hockey match at the Olympic ice rink, and check out the excellent public swimming pool with a separate public spa."
"This unpretentious resort is something of a new discovery – and a good value one at that. The resort shares the Galibier-Thabor ski area with neighbouring Valloire, and the 150km of slopes combine family-friendly terrain with some superb high-altitude skiing.
"Unusually for a ski area, there’s a choice of beginner green routes that you can take from all the way back at the main villages, giving beginners an exhilarating top-of-the-mountain experience. With the Maurienne Valley laid out below you, you are assured of some spectacular scenery.
"At 1,800 metres above sea level, the village is largely traffic free and ski-in/ski-out – and the pastel coloured buildings create a welcoming, upbeat vibe. You can also enjoy husky sled rides, ice-skating and ‘snakegliss’ – a linked series of toboggans."
Alpe d’Huez, France
"In recent years I’ve arranged several group holidays for friends to Alpe d’Huez, because the variety of slopes mean that every level is catered for. The ski area - Alpe d’Huez Grand Domain de Ski - has an expansive 250km of slopes, encompassing five villages: Vaujany, Villard-Reculas, Oz-en-Oisans, Auris-en-Oisans and Alpe d’Huez itself.
"The terrain here is intermediate friendly and the views breathtaking. What I really love about it is the way that the slopes at either extremity - Vaujany and Auris - remain beautifully quiet, to the point to which you feel like you’ve got the mountain to yourself.
"There’s also plenty of cracking mountain restaurants, such as Chalet de Lac Besson and La Bergerie - perfect for a coffee or lunch if you’ve been enjoying the rollercoaster red runs that swoop into Villard Reculas."
Val Thorens, France
"One of the highest villages in the Alps, Val Thorens offers an interesting mix of benefits to a variety of types of skiers. Families will love it here, because of the range of high-standard ski-in/ski-out accommodation, and the suitability of the terrain for beginners, with nursery slopes at the foot of the resort and easy blues just above the village.
"In recent years, the resort has undergone something of an upmarket renaissance, with a flurry of new gourmet restaurants and chic hotels. The altitude of the slopes, part of the 600km Three Valleys ski area, mean that you can bet on great snow, and on cloudy days you can of course drop down for tree-lined skiing into the neighbouring resorts of Les Menuires and St Martin de Belleville. For groups of friends, the vibrant après ski means fun-filled evenings to match the excitement of the day."
Snowcarbon is an independent website that Daniel Elkan has founded to help skiers and snowboarders find out how to travel to ski resorts by train. It includes a free advice service, 'Ask Daniel', which provides info on where to ski and how to get there.
Image credits: L Salino, Lance Levillard, SEMVAL.