How to combine a ski holiday with a city break

There’s always part of me that dreads the start of a ski holiday. Not because of the skiing (I adore that), but because of the journey. As a child it meant 16 hours in the middle seat jammed between brother and sister as we argued over who felt most car-sick. Nowadays it means faffy transfers and days off eaten up by travel. This year, I decided to try something different: why not make the journey part of the holiday? Rather than undertaking a mammoth day’s travel, I would split it up with a break – a city break to be precise. Austria immediately sprang to mind. Excellent skiing – naturally –

Snow question: Europe’s most reliable ski resorts

It’s every skier’s holiday nightmare. You turn up to the slopes and, instead of fresh white powder, you’re greeted by a mass of sludge slowly liquefying into green-brown mud.  The Alps have had a torrid season, with higher-than-average temperatures and heavy rain forcing many resorts to close, sometimes within weeks of opening. For long stretches it was too warm even to operate snow cannons, which can magic up artificial snow but require low temperatures to work. While snowfall has picked up in time to save the season in some places, in Italy alone there are now 200 fewer ski resorts than in the 1980s.  But there are still some pockets

Fresh air and fascism in the Bavarian Alps

The village of Oberstdorf lies in the Bavarian Alps, geographically remote but, as this gripping book demonstrates, deeply etched by the politics and violence of the Third Reich. Julia Boyd and Angelika Patel have used diaries, letters, newspaper reports and the official papers of Oberstdorfers as a lens through which to look at the rise of Nazism in Germany. The result is a fascinating and often surprisingly discordant cacophony of experiences. Oberstdorf was a small village but it had a wide range. By the early 1920s it was a favoured tourist spot: its population of 4,000 was swelled to 9,000 by visitors who came for health cures and winter sports.

The perils of a sex party

Gstaad I cross-country ski the old-fashioned way, not skating but on machine-made narrow tracks. It is known to be the best exercise in the world. Both upper and lower body get the maximum workout as one churns along a beautiful course in Lauenen, a tiny nearby village that looks like Gstaad did 60 years ago. I used to bring my children to the lake here during the summer, warning them time and again about a horrible monster that lived underwater and specialised in grabbing little kids. They screamed and screamed in terror until they got a bit older, told me to stop talking nonsense and swam to their heart’s content.

How to combine skiing and wine tasting in the Dolomites

When planning a food and wine tour to Italy, the first ideas that spring to mind might be a road trip through the Tuscan hills or feasting at a sun-soaked villa in Puglia. Few would imagine themselves hurtling down a red slope amid rugged snow-capped scenery. And yet, unbeknownst to many, the Dolomites is arguably the gastronomic (and viticultural) capital of Italy. South Tyrol, the local region, has 19 Michelin-starred restaurants (24 stars in total) – making it the most decorated province in Italy. In the small resort of Alta Badia alone, there are four Michelin stars –all attached to one restaurant, the St. Hubertus. Up till recently it had

Why everyone should be shouting about Dave ‘Rocket’ Ryding

As we digest another Ashes thrashing for England’s cricketers in Australia, and wonder whether the 1966 World Cup victory will forever be the solitary success for one of Britain’s national football teams, the triumphs of individual Brits continue to astound. In the past year GB punched well above its weight in finishing fourth in the Olympic medals table with 22 golds, mostly in individual events. Teenager Emma Raducanu rocked the world with her out-of-nowhere win at the US Open tennis, though she is beginning to need a reset now. And then last weekend, even more extraordinarily still, came Dave ‘Rocket’ Ryding’s amazing made-in-Lancashire gold medal in the showpiece Kitzbühel World