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20.06.2015
This is no surprise, for the Alps have been entertaining winter tourists since 1864 when a group of Englishmen visited St Moritz ‘out of season’ as a bet.
More recently, tour operators have gone to enormous lengths to broaden the sport’s appeal and entice those who prefer flopping on sun loungers to frolicking in the cold. Here your every whim is catered for, every turn signposted and every movement recorded; great, if you live in a cave for the rest of the year. Two seasons ago, a cable car linked the resort to nearby Zinal and you can now lap the area, skiing the Piste du Chamois, which descends from Zinal’s highest point back to Grimentz, several times in a morning, skiing fresh lines every time. I relished the same sense of adventure last season in Madesimo, an Italian resort north of Lake Como. Andermatt now has a large new development on the old army barracks but with no increase to the lift system as yet. Twenty five minutes by car from Val d’Isere is the delightful resort of St-Foy, a complete contrast, a relatively new resort with chalet-style houses, small and friendly bars and restaurants and easy access to the most stunning off-piste skiing areas.
Secret Harbour is one of the best St Thomas resorts for couples and families who want to relax and have fun in a tranquil island setting with all beachfront accommodation, water sports and superb amenities.
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And it worked: by the 1960s a quarter of a million Brits were skiing every winter and purpose-built resorts were springing up everywhere.


But I don’t, and I’ve had it with expansive, highfalutin resorts where you pay €30 for a burger yet are treated like muck. Picturesque Valloire in France, for example, is overlooked by skiers who tear past the turn-off, eager for the Three Valleys, while Grossglockner in Austria’s East Tirol has a modern ski area that was deserted when I visited. Intimate setting features 48 beachfront condominiums that are privately owned in four 3-story buildings that are all ‘just steps from the sand. But there are also some wonderful EP properties that also offer all-inclusive options, meaning that you can have the best of both worlds. Joe Biden’s Caribbean Energy Summit: United States Vice President Joe Biden chaired a major summit in Washington DC this week covering Caribbean energy. Yes, the first flurries of winter which arrived recently provoke excitement, and the lure of the mountains is still strong. Over time, these expanded and connected up to other resorts, creating mega-ski areas spanning vast valleys. Experts can tackle the classic Canalone route, which begins at the top of a narrow, stomach-turning gully. I realise now that I’d become blinkered: obsessing over the kilometres of slopes, stars tacked on to the side of hotels and the number of apres-ski bars. Places like Engelberg and Andermatt are reasonably unspoilt too (although that’s likely to change). Probably won’t go back for a while as the partner bust a leg off-piste coming down the Gemsstock on day two.
What’s lacking, however, is the sense of discovery, anticipation, and of reaching dizzying new heights. A hallowed place with powder on its doorstep, where some of the world’s best freeride skiers hang out harmoniously alongside the locals.


I agree though that the attraction of skiing is getting away from the crowds and enjoying the mountains in a relatively unsullied way. This is Grimentz, a stone’s throw from Verbier, yet worlds away from the champagne-quaffing toffs.
Dinner at Dogana Vegia, a kitsch 340-year-old converted customs house at the edge of the village, is a must.
The mountains offer the perfect escape from reality to a white world where time stands still. Ski touring is the best way to achieve that of course, or you could just throw money at the problem and go heli-skiing.
The only sounds in its narrow alleyways are the mooing of cows (cloistered for the winter in the village) and the odd clunk of ski boots.
Local specialities, such as cappellacci pasta with asparagus, are accompanied by a vast array of regional wines, climaxing with a gluggable (but headache-inducing) 16 per cent red.
Other amenities include a freshwater pool, tennis courts, fitness center, gift shop, ATM, guest beach chairs and umbrellas, on-call masseuse, Free Wi-Fi, Free parking, full customer service team, concierge, new phone app for St Thomas attractions, plus a coordinator for St Thomas destination weddings and honeymoons. So eschew the likes of Verbier, with its honking hoorays, Courchevel with its fur-clad Russians, and Val d’Isere’s exorbitant Dom Perignon. No passport is required for US Citizens to visit Secret Harbour Beach Resort and the US Virgin Islands.



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